For the Spring/Summer '23 Collection we teamed up with talented kiwi artist Blake Gordon to create the artwork that features on many of the pieces in the range.
Blake grew up in the Bay of Islands where life exists on the beach or not far from it. So it's no fluke that Blake was a natural fit in bringing to life the critters that frequent these waters such as yellowfin tuna, striped marlin, and red crab.
We fired him a few questions to learn a bit more about the guy behind the epic prints, his inspiration, and go-to for escaping the daily hustle.
HOW'D YOU FIND YOUR WAY INTO THE WORK YOU DO NOW AS AN ARTIST?
Through high school, I leaned into creative classes vs academic, which led to studying Graphic Design at university. I went to uni hoping to get into photography but ended up enjoying illustration the most, I graduated in 2012 majoring in Illustration. My first job was for a NZ clothing label where I worked for close to 4-5 years, doing everything creative you can imagine is needed from Graphics for shirts, photography, catalogues etc. I then flip-flopped between freelance, part-time work doing both design-related and not until I took the leap to commit to full-time self-employment.
WERE YOU EVER CLOSE TO TAKING UP A DIFFERENT CAREER PATH?
Honestly, I can't think of there ever being a moment where I considered anything outside of the creative world. I've always thought being a chef would have been fun, but this is based on being a fan of the likes of Matty Matheson and Brad Leone. I really have no idea what it takes to be a chef haha. I truly believe that any job has some element of being creative though and don't think that people realise this.
OUR UPCOMING COLLECTION 'UNTOUCHED WATERS' IS PARTLY INSPIRED BY THE ESCAPISM THAT COMES WHEN EXPLORING THE OCEAN. BE IT EVEN JUST NEW PARTS OF A LOCAL AREA, AND PUSHING OUT YOUR OWN HORIZONS. WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE WAY TO GET AWAY FROM IT ALL?
If I was to picture my dream escape from the day to day it would be heading away camping and surfing with friends. Nothing better than sharing some waves and a meal on some shitty camp chairs with your pals.
THE RANGE FEATURES IMAGERY OF TUNA, CRAB, TROUT, MARLIN, AND SHARK... HAVE YOU HAD A RUN-IN WITH ANY OF THESE?
Never been freshwater fishing so cant say I've ever caught Trout. But growing up in the Bay of Islands and being out on my parents Young 88 yacht most weekends meant we most definitely saw our fair share of sea critters.
When I was younger we would always pinch the dingey and head to the shore. Often end up rock hopping around the islands. We learnt to catch (and release) crab using random sticks. Just poke it down a crack in the rocks and wait until they grab on and yank em' out.
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AS HAVING A PARTICULAR ARTISTIC STYLE?
Finding and understanding my style has always been a struggle for me. I guess this comes from a place of self criticism which I think all creatives could relate too. I’m stoked that my work is spread across a few areas from branding, illustration, physical artwork, engraving and most recently a bit of photography. This mixes up my day-to-day and I think it's quite important to have a diverse offering rather than bottlenecking your work.
I think my work could be described as simplified and bold. I enjoy using one colour and the challenges this brings to trying to show shading, details and shadows. In Regards to shirts, I always try to imagine what a design would look like on a shirt 20 years from now. Think of a faded vintage surf shop shirt you got handed down from your uncle who bought it from a trip to Hawaii in the 90s.
WHAT INFLUENCES MIX TO MAKE YOUR STYLE WHAT IT IS?
Growing up I used to love surf brands and loved to collect stickers even more. Logos like Volcom, LOST and Mayhem surfboards were some stand outs. One colour, bold and hand drawn. Later on music and tattoo culture become big influences, I think all of this now is shown in my work.
WHAT HAVE YOU GOT PLANNED FOR THE SUMMER?
I have zero plans for a New Zealand summer this year as my partner and I are going to Mexico for an unknown amount of time. My money would place us near the south west coast in search of the best margarita and a point break. The plan is to keep working as normal while travelling around.
WHERE CAN PEOPLE GO TO SEE/PURCHASE YOUR WORK?
I generally don't have much up for purchase but the easiest way to check my work out is via my Instagram @blake.gordon and my website blakegordonart.com Instagram is generally the most up to date.
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