It’s been over 2 years since we have sat down for a decent chat with Illustration guru G.Straight, so thought we better let ya’ll know what this busy AKL creative has been up to!
Walking downstairs to the home studio. Greg loves his Bones Brigade tee, “such an old school classic even if it does scare the kids at school pick up time.”
A selection of Greg Straights new art prints. You can view all of Greg Straights Surf & Skate inspired Art Prints here.
Tell us a little bit about these new prints? They appear a lot more hand drawn and monotone than your usual artworks?
I’ve always wanted to do a surf and beach inspired range thats a little more organic and freer than the hard edged vector illustrations people may know me for.
It started a few months back when I was commissioned to create a small artist range for a surf/bike/wake clothing company called ION based in Germany. All the graphics were hand drawn and focused on surf culture and these got the ball rolling.
I decided to make these new prints black and white because most of my other artworks have used a lot of colour and I wanted to do something different, wanted to surprise people. I did have a little concern that people may get confused as they are quite different, but if you know me and my interests and sense of humour I think you’ll get them. They are less mainstream and not Kiwiana which is quite refreshing.
Also I’ve been a surfer since I was 11 and theres a lot of humour in surfing and the way surfers talk, so I used this as inspiration for a lot of the art, like Fang Five, Death Set and Street Roller and reference movies like Point Break with my 50 Year Storm and Death On A Stick prints. Surfing is something I feel very connected with. When I started I became so obsessed with it I was totally hooked. I’ve made the best friends and had the best experiences with these friends all because of surfing.
Creative chaos, looks like things are happening. Sorting out artwork for a show at Curation a new surf shop in Papamoa opening July 1st.
Kettle drawings blown up to A4, ready for the light box to be cleaned up and made into prints. I call them kettle drawings as a lot of them started life as quick sketches created in the time the kettle boils to make a cup of coffee.
Do you see yourself living out your creative days in AKL? Or running away with family to that secret spot to surf & draw everyday!
I love Auckland its a great city. Yes the house prices are ridiculous and the traffic and public transport are shocking but I love being so close to the water and having both the East coast and West coast easily accessible. We have a lot of great friends and family (on my side) here but I definitely have a draw to The Mount.
My Aunt Hazel and Uncle Jim had a house at Papamoa, a stones throw away from the beach. My family used to spend all our summer holidays down there and I have so many fond memories from that time in my life. So that would be a place I’d love to be based at some stage and surf and make art all day, if I could in that order!
You are exhibiting some of these recent works at a surf shop in Papamoa, how did the show at Curation come about?
Gav the owner of Curation just moved his family from Maori Bay in Auckland to Papamoa, just around the corner to where my mum has moved too. We share a lot of the same interests and got talking on Instagram. He was really supportive of my art and I have always wanted to show some works at a surf shop but not a bogan type store somewhere cool. Curation is awesome, it has a cafe at the front serving All Press Coffee and stocks loads of solid brands. It has a really nice modern yet welcoming feel and is a place that wants to support the local community not just surfers and surfing but families as well.
The place I’d rather be! The Mount, if we weren’t in Auckland I’d want to be here, surfing and making art. Maybe one day!
Your IG feed is constantly flooded with new images, what cool projects for you been working on in the past 6 months?
2016 has been a big year for me. The projects and clients seem to be getting bigger each year which is great but it has at times been pretty stressful balancing work (clashing deadlines), family and general life. I started the year working with Grizzly a digital agency creating a couple of info graphics for Microsoft in the states, then I worked on a large campaign with Stategy Wellington for NZ Transport and ACC helping teenagers get their licence and teaching them to drive. Its called DRIVE (www.drive.govt.nz) and its going to be rolled out nationwide soon.
I also created a load of illustrations for a new development in Tamaki to regenerate the area. There has been quite a lot of other things going on too we redesigned my GS website (www.gregstraight.com) I say ‘we’ as my wife Hannah did most of it! My website hadn’t been updated for 3 years so it was a major job and I reshot most of the projects.
I’ve just completed 2 new ranges of Duett Design art prints, an inky, watercolour series and a super minimal black and white range. Also I was very involved with a children’s clothing label called Triangle, we are stocking over 40 stores both here in NZ and Australia but with all my other work commitments I couldn’t give it the time it needed so now contract to them. The summer range dropping in a few months is HUGE! And has a Venice Beach surf skate feel to it. Its original and super fresh, I only wish we could have done adult sizes.
There are also these new black and white prints and before that I did a series of circle kiwiana A3 prints on paper and wood. These are part of my A-Round New Zealand series and there are more to come. Lastly I was involved with a really cool exhibition over in Sydney curated by Eddie Zammit (of the rad tee shirt magazine T-World). It was called ReDrawn and celebrated 45 years of the Mr Men in collaboration with Ambush Gallery and darling Harbour. 8 Australian and 8 international artists were chosen to do their take on one Mr Men and Little Miss character. I was given Mr Tickle. The show has just finished and has had 300,000 visitors.
Thinking of turning some of the new artworks into tees. Here are 3 designs but I’ve mocked up about 20 and thinking of dropping them pre Xmas. Thoughts?
A recent cover I illustrated for Australian street / art magazine No Cure for their NZ Edition.
What’s your favorit meal?
For sure has to be Fish Tacos washed down with an icy cold Pacifico from Mexico with the family. Years ago I went to Baja California and travelled down the peninsula from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas. Drinking cold cerveza, surfing and partying along the way. Man those really were the days! I got hooked on Mexican food, like good street food not the Taco Bell rubbish. Love the whole look and feel of the Mexico restaurants too, all the art and the fit out looks so authentic and the food is great. Otis’s Lucky Taco is amazing too, only eaten there once but it was totally off the cheese board.
What “Golden Rule” do you live by?
Be nice and work hard. My wife Hannah says my golden rule should be – “Don’t do now what you can do later”. Thanks love.
Are you a Nutella on toast or organic paleo smoothy for breakfast kind of guy?
Busting out the big questions ay! Ha ha. I do have Paleo muesli sometimes but when that runs out I’m on Weetbix with Soy Milk. Do like a bacon/eggs fat boys breakfast once and a while too. Burp.
These two! Chloe and Leo keeping things fresh outside our local Beach Haven Dairy. A bit of a ghetto backdrop but I kind of like it.
A message from my daughter Chloe on the studio wall. I love being a dad, it’s not always easy but its totally worth it. Love her and little Leo so much.
What songs are you playing way too often?
Ive been heavily listening to Spotify and really digging their radio of similar artist. I’ve discovered a lot of new music this way, a band called Beach Fossils are sort of like the Drums are pretty cool. Ive also been listening to a lot of old punk rock like TSOL, Firehose, Ramones and Descendents., but also Hot Chip, Blood Orange and Jamie XX and reggae/dance hall stuff like Prince Fatty and ska band The Skints and some British indie like Babyshambles, Good Shoes and The Rakes.
Whats next for Greg Straight?
I’m off in about an hour with my brother Alex to Papamoa for the Curation Show, but once I’m back Ive got a big illustration for Fletcher homes to do, illustrations for Contact Energy’s annual report plus some other illustration work. I will also be creating more art prints and developing a range of mens tees based on the recent surf inspired artworks. Ive been asked to develop some more reusable coffee cup designs, a tee shirt range with Mr Vintage and a series of NZ wrapping papers for gifting and an artwork for the guys at REFOLD as a limited artists edition. Things are busy busy and thats the way I like it, but I still want to make time for my wife Hannah and the kids and hopefully sneak a few surfs in!
This is me at one of the worst skate bowls in NZ if not the world, Waihi. It’s lumpy and bumpy and rough as guts, if you fall the ground is like a cheese grater.
You can buy all of Gregs Art Prints online or in-store at 62 Ponsonby Road.