New York Illustrator Richard Haines Brings His Style Blog To Gallery Walls
Since 2008, Richard Haines has seduced fashion followers with his natty style sketches and impromptu portraits, scrawled on found materials ranging from a Starbucks napkin to the pages of a book on French paintings by Jean-Antoine Watteau (pictured above) and catalogued on his cult blog, What I Saw Today. A new show by the same name at the Fuller + Roberts Co. gallery in Los Angeles presents work inspired by the streets of New York and the front row. A former designer for brands including J. Crew and Calvin Klein, Haines launched WIST to raise his industry profile, but has since parlayed the online platform into a career as an in-demand fashion illustrator, contributing to The New York Times among others. “My background is in design, so when I do a sketch of a guy on the street I can pinpoint a detail because I understand it,” he says. NOWNESS talked specifics with him.
Is there a New York “look” you’re attracted to?
Sometimes it feels like they’re letting out bus loads of attractive guys in New York and sending them into the city, like, “Here’s your skinny jeans and your jacket and your hat.” These guys become this beautiful line. Their attitude is an extension; there's a certain kind of swagger or sexiness or casualness to it. It’s not studied. When I was a kid, I remember seeing pictures of pop stars like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and it’s a version of that look: a little dangerous and a little classic.
Do you have a muse?
There’s a guy called Christopher, who is on the invitation for the show, who is very tall, very handsome, incredibly sweet. He’s perfect to sketch. He and a friend are starting a business making organic donuts in the Lower East Side; it’s just a perfect narrative. He came over the other night and I was like, how can you come here and not bring organic donuts? I’ve been thinking about these things all week.
You’ve sketched in numerous cities––do you notice any differences in style?
I was in Milan and Paris last year and the lighting is so different, it causes people to wear very different colors than what they wear in New York. New York to me is black and charcoal. Milan is a little warmer: navy and tan. With London I think of white and pink, green, pale blue—all those wonderful Saville row shirt and tie colors. One summer in Paris, every person wore purple and a kind of jade green—and it actually looked good. I can't imagine that working in any other city.
What kind of women’s style gets you excited?
A certain kind of chic dishevelment. I don’t like things that are anywhere near perfect.
Who is on your list of people you’d love to sketch?
Someone told me they were going to hook me up to sketch [Brooklyn band] Grizzly Bear, and I’m all over him to make that happen. I think their faces are unbelievable.