Q & A with Dave Litch

In November of 2015 Adrian and I were putting the final touches to Ramsgate & Hackett, we had clear vision of what we wanted and we worked on some designs for a logo that represented us. Once we had our concept complete I reached out to Dave Litch for the final product and he understood exactly what we wanted. Dave has recently launched a new website that showcases his art. I’ve been fascinated with his work since he started and for the last four or five years the highlights of my trips to Chicago have been seeing Dave’s latest pieces. I was able to catch up with him over the winter to ask him a few questions.

You knocked our logo out of the park. I remember I was waiting at the airport for a flight to London and you texted me “sum up in two to three words Ramsgate & Hackett” I texted “Creative Journal” and got on the plane. When I got to London and checked my email and saw your design and that’s when Ramsgate & Hackett went from a dream to a reality. When did you first start designing logos and how have logos impacted your current art?

As a kid, I always thought I would be famous basketball player and have my own shoe, and was always drawing my own logo’s and shoe designs since I was in 3rd grade. I guess the basketball thing didn’t work out, but I still have plans to get my own shoe. As far as how that impacts my art, I’d say simple is best, and is the only thing that people notice, so I try to implement that into all of my art.

I remember when we were in London in 2009 you took me to an exclusive Nike store in a back alley in Shorditch, getting exposed to the world of shoes was fascinating. How do shoes influence your art?

I originally went to school for shoe design, and it’s definitely one of my passions. Even today, I keep up with all of the limited and major shoe releases, how they’re designed and manufactured, and the different technologies involved in each. More and more companies are working with artists than ever before, so as my art progresses, I will be looking to do limited collaborations with the shoe company that best fits my brand. Since I have a knowledge and understanding of shoes that most people don’t, and have literally thousands of ideas that I’d be happy to hand over to the right company, I think a collaboration with me in the future would not only benefit the shoe company and myself, but I think I can change the way the shoe companies do collaborations.

Last time I was in Chicago you told me to start following KAWS on Instagram, I haven’t regretted it. Along with KAWS who are contemporary artists that you look up to and why?

Hebru Brantley, Buff Monster, JC Rivera, This Means Mar and Sentrock are some of my favorite artists because their work appeals most to me, but I also have to throw in Clipse, Gorillaz, The White Stripes and many other musicians as well. I constantly listen to music when I’m working on my art, and because of that, I then associate each of my pieces with certain albums or musicians based off what I was really into while I created that piece. I’d actually love to create an album cover, because I wouldn’t have any pre-conceived visuals for what the album looks like, and just get in a bubble where the sound of the album drives the design of it.

You moved to Denver and the Cubs won the World Series. What’s the transition been like from Chicago to Denver and how has it affected your art?

Unfortunately I missed that party, but there is a Chicago themed bar down the street from my new place, so I was able to feel the energy and celebrate with a lot of Chicago natives. I love Chicago and it will always be home, but I hit a wall and needed a change of scenery. I miss my amazing friends, but the move to Denver has allowed me to spend more time on my art, and many of those people don’t mind coming to visit. I finally launched my website featuring my art and some hats, so in a few short months, I’ve already gotten more done art wise, than I have in the last couple years.

You design hats as well, how has that come together?

I’ve always been picky about my hats, and from a young age I noticed I would find a really cool hat design, but it would be on a poorly made hat. I see this issue all the time at concerts, sporting events and resorts where people want a good product, but don’t buy anything because the options are low quality. I started a hat company two years ago, where I was going to launch a number of designs on multiple high-quality styles of hats, so you could choose a design in the fit you like. As soon as I set up the company, I decided I wanted to wrap this concept into my site and feature it along with my art. I’ve also been talking to some companies about addressing this issue with their products, so I’m hoping to help roll out this concept in other places and help get better quality options out into various markets in the near future.

When did you expand from designing logos to painting?

I started painting in high school, and was really just doing it to create pieces I wanted to hang on my own walls. After seeing those pieces, one of my buddies commissioned me to do a Chicago painting, and it took me forever. At the same time, I started getting requests for paintings from a lot of other friends, and I couldn’t keep up with the demand. After I finished the Chicago piece, I realized I would never be able to do all of the things I wanted to do with my art, if I continued to work in that way. For the next two years I stopped painting, closely watched about 30 artists, and tracked everything they did. At the same time, I worked on creating a new style that would allow me to work more efficiently and help me do more with my art than just a couple of paintings a year.

What’s with the ostrich?

My favorite artists that I mentioned above, all typically use characters, colors or a pattern that they repeat in new scenarios. They use the repetition to be efficient and to make these elements recognizable, and it lends itself to so many possibilities.  I was playing around with hundreds of characters, patterns and styles. As I was trying to establish a signature texture, I drew a design that resembled a rope, and it just felt right. When I started to think about if there were any characters that had elements to them that resembled the rope, I immediately thought of the neck of an ostrich. I immediately went on to fill about fifty pages of my sketchbook with ideas for paintings and sculptures. The stuff you see on my website and instagram, is just the beginning. The development of the character, the stories, and the additional themes and elements I plan on bringing into future pieces, is still being developed, even though I know what they will be. Everything about it is still in the very early stages, but stay tuned, because my love for shoes, music and pop culture will be among some of the themes that you will see in the near future.

You talked about your character, and your texture, but what’s with the blue that you seem to love and use throughout?

There are a handful of brands that are instantly recognizable just from a color, and coming from the branding world, I can’t tell you how amazing that is. Blue is my favorite color, and the one I chose, embodies everything that is cool to me. I fell in love with it the first time I saw the classic blue with white racing stripes paint job on a Dodge Viper, which happens to be my dream car. As I was looking around at other brands and artist colors, there wasn’t anybody using it, so it was a no brainer. I will continue to utilize this color in many ways, but the exploration of color in my art, is something I thoroughly enjoy, so you will see lots of additional colors in my work. That being said,  you will likely always see it in some form. I’m also planning on utilizing it in something I’m going to be calling “Blue Prints.” When I produce a run of prints, I’m going to have one that is the same piece, but made up entirely up of different shades of blues, and will be shipped out to an unsuspecting customer who orders a normal print. A little bit like the Willy Wonka golden ticket, but instead of a tour of a chocolate factory, you get a one of a kind piece, for the price of a print.

You can find Dave’s work at www.DaveLitch.comTwitter and Instagram

Matthieu Foreman

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