Chris Kasch.Illustration

Interview and article with bg design magazine / August 4th, 2009

I have just finished an interview with a lovely design magazine in Ecuador called bg magazine. The publication are in the process of doing a Rock edition and wanted to take the opportunity do an article on my work, featuring 10 of my illustrations and a portrait of the artist (and i’m always on rocky (get it?) ground where those are concerned!)..
I have absolutely no idea what they will write about me as its obviously in another language but they promised to send a copy over. Here is the transcript from the interview, I’ll add photos of the magazine layout when I get them.
Which are your major professional achievements?
I actually find this question quite difficult to answer in terms of achievement or what‘s best. It’s a little sad to say but probably continuing to be a “traditional” artists (as I’m now called) working in a field that is totally dominated by computer generated artwork (and the deadlines associated with that) and still maintaining a good profile is a fair achievement in it’s own right. I’m most proud of the consistency and quality that I can bring to a project. I don’t miss deadlines and you can be sure that the work I produce is always of a very high standard.
Which are your principal projects?
Off the top of my head I’d probably say the “Rock Of Ages” Radio Times covers I did the other year (4 individual covers that needed to work as a whole). It was a challenge to get all of those figures to work together, especially as the amount of cleared/authorised reference I had to work with was so limited. Factor in the relatively small amount of time I had to do the job and I don’t think I could have done much better to be honest.
I guess the most important illustrations I did though was in the early stages of my career with the set of “Music To Watch Girls By” CD covers which garnered me a lot of exposure and coincided with a pretty big exhibition I put together for myself, that’s really when everything started to move along quite nicely for me.
How started your career?
My career started very slowly indeed. I didn’t get an illustration job for three years despite trudging around London on a weekly basis getting my portfolio seen by everyone I could think of. I almost gave up after that and was working in a book shop full time, painting and working on my portfolio in my spare time. The year I took out there to work on my folio really focused my attention(as did the bookshops willingness to put me on a management training programme which horrified me as I knew if I took the offer, I would never become an illustrator) and when I got out there with the new work, people seemed a little more responsive. My first break was a monthly spot in Loaded Magazine (the original lads magazine) illustrating a short story, I shall forever be greatfull to John Link for giving me that spot.
Which are the things that influence your work in this type of illustrations?
I think what really informs my work is music and fashion, the juxtaposition of the old and the new. Popular culture from all facets of life. Of course, being an illustrator, you really have to take into consideration what the client is after and what the brief dictates. Whilst we all have our own individual style I think its inevitable that the artists own agenda gets diluted somewhat and compromise is necessary.
I don’t get a lot of time to create my own personal work ( Madonna – Hey You was my last) but I always look for ways to incorporate something into a commission that I have been wanting to do, be it a compositional idea or something as simple as a lampshade I have been wanting to use for a while.
Your future goals are?
I really want some big Ad campaigns, I reckon I’m overdue some of those. One thing I am tentatively mulling over is a big retrospective type exhibition. I actually don’t sell much of my original artwork and so I have a lot of work here stored away. Something grand would be great and if I don’t have to dip my hand in my pockets to fund it then that would be even better!
How you define your personal style?
I’ve never really worried about defining my own style. A fair number of people have called it realistic but it clearly isn’t, there are brush marks and textures all over it and the actual painting isn’t super realistic at all. I work quite instinctively and I try not to be too self conscious about what I am doing.
How “Rock and Roll” has influenced your life?
Well, music has influenced my life greatly. In fact so much so I’ve often asked myself one question. Did I start to really get into drawing as something to do whilst listening to music or did I put the music on as something to listen to whilst drawing? I suspect the two fed each other though.
I am also in a band called Petomane ( with my best mate and do a little bit of production for a few other bands which I enjoy greatly and find very rewarding as another creative outlet.
As for the Rock and Roll lifestyle, well I’m getting a little long in the tooth for that now but I gave it a go for a while.
Favourite “Rock and Roll” group?
Good God, I’m going to be wringing my hands over this for hours!
Maybe The Who, The Rolling Stones or even Led Zeppelin, certainly not a new band though, far too normal and average to inspire any of that “other worldiness” that a proper rock band can inspire.
Favourite song?
I absolutely cannot answer that. I listen to a pretty broad range of music. Anything from Luke Haines, Shack, The Beachboys, Roxy Music, David Bowie, Spain, Plush, Rufus Wainwright, Jim o’ Rourke, swearing At Motorists, Tom Waits, Bonnie Prince Billy, Jonathan Richman, Lou Reed, Can, The Who, Fred Neil, Tim Hardin, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Scott Walker, Neil Young, Tim Buckley, Big Star, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Fairport Convention, Terry Callier, Queens Of The Stone Age, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, The Staple Singers, Nada Surf, The Smiths, Ladytron, Laura Nyro and all those in between . The list is endless!
If you weren’t a illustrator, you would be?
Probably the most miserable human being alive, working in a book shop, although I suspect I would have snapped long ago. I love motor sport and race karts once a month so maybe I will say a racing driver, even though I would be the oldest pilot in Formula 1 right now!
According your opinion… which is the major Rock star of all the times?
Hmm, you couldn’t go too far wrong with David Bowie could you, I mean the mans fantastic but just to be a little obtuse I am going to say Luke Haines (he would no doubt agree with my assertion!) and those of you that don’t know about him will have to find out for yourselves.
Which is the major difference between the current “Rock music” and the “Rock and “Roll of the old age?
I don’t really believe there is any danger in the rock music of today, it’s all about careers and a bit sterile. Possibly one of the only real modern rock bands that I like are Queens of The Stone Age.
Rock music from past generations was more about the music and how it made you feel and the people in the band meant what they were doing. That really comes across too in the immediacy of the recordings. Listening too to music from the 40’s and 50’s can be a revelation also. The attitude and delivery of some of that stuff is startling!