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Olow X Steven Harrington

Each new season, we like to collaborate with new artists so as to offer complete capsule collections. So for this summer season, we chose to work with internationally renowned artist Steven Harrington. Known as the leader of the Californian psych-pop aesthetic, he stands out with his incredibly colourful illustrations populated by characters inspired by the Californian landscape that surrounds him on a daily basis. We have been following Harrington’s work for quite some time now, and we love his multi-coloured, cartoon-like world.

Our summer collection is called “Rêveries”, so we felt it matched perfectly with Steve Harrington’s world. The artist liked the brand’s feel, too, and gladly accepted to work beside us on textiles, even pushing the collaboration onto novel pieces like the reversible jacket. And that is how our capsule collection was born, with its reversible jacket, baseball cap, shirt, etc. Meeting with the artist !

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Hi Steven! First off, how did art come to be a part of your life? At what age did you start to draw?

That’s a good question. I’m still trying to figure that one out — I guess I never put down that first pencil or crayon I was handed. I think I just liked putting marks on paper and just kept doing it through elementary school, then on to middle school, high school, college, and now I still draw a lot and fill most my days with drawing/designing. I kind of trip out that I’m now doing it for a living.

Your style is very colourful, drawing its inspiration from the Californian landscapes. Can you tell us a bit more about this psychedelic aesthetic?

California (LA to be specific), is a warm and sunny place. We don’t have a ‘real’ winter with snow and severe cold. It’s primarily Spring and Summer year around and I think this influences my work a lot. I love celebrating color, warmth and ambiguity in my work.

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Do you think that your illustrations would be completely different if you lived in a remote region with a much colder climate, like Iceland, for example?

Yes. Definitely. I can see how this effects a lot of my friends/piers work. I know that when I travel to Paris, for example, I tend to want to use a completely different palette.

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Your world is populated by funny characters – do you have a favourite one with which you identify most?

I’ve recently been drawing this L.A. rat character a lot. He’s an extremely mischievous, self-aware character that likes to stay up late and party a lot. I like drawing him because I’m older now, I’m not the young whipper-snapper I used to be, and I now get to live vicariously through him. Stay up late, constantly drink one-to-many drinks, skateboard, party incessantly, ponder existential late-night thoughts (with joint in hand), etc. It’s fun getting to live through his life.

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As well as your work as an artist, you head the National Forest agency with Justin Krietemeyer. How do you organize your day-to-day life in order to manage both your personal projects and the agency’s projects?

I ask myself the same question! It’s a lot of work but we somehow manage to get it all done. Justin and Tom (Sullivan) are the best team in the world to work with. I think most important thing to keep remembering is— that at end of the day we’re making work and doing things that give us freedom and do things we like. We’re not making decisions at the UN, we’re a creative studio and to focus on being creative and having a good time.

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What contemporary artists inspire you?

Milton Glaser. You don’t hear his name much these days, but he’s still making amazing work!

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In this highly digital age, how do you manage your social networks? Do you believe that these new means of communication have enabled you to obtain the notoriety you have today?

I guess I don’t really think of myself as having ‘notoriety.’ I think 99% of the people reading this interview will never have heard my name before or seen my work. And I’m totally great with that. I’m more into the idea of sharing the work, putting a smile on a face and hopefully inspiring someone. After all, that’s why I enjoy artwork.

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You have travelled extensively for your exhibitions, what trip had the most profound impact on you?

My first exhibition in Paris(2008), had a massive impact on my life. Almost too much to describe.

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What’s your relationship with France, and Paris in particular?

During the above exhibition, I was introduced to a whole new culture and art scene that I never knew existed. Along with it came introductions to some of most humble and nice people I’ve ever met in my life. I now have an agent based in Paris.  And my brother (from LA) met his future wife on that trip — he now lives permanently in France. I visit Paris annually if not more frequently.

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You have worked with internationally renowned brands such as Nike or Coca-Cola, what made you want to work with an independent brand like OLOW?

Firstly, I really like what you make! To me, independent brands tend to be very pure. By nature, you don’t have nearly as much ‘red-tape’ as the big-boys. You’re small but nimble, you can move fast and remain extremely creative. I like that.

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Any projects in the pipeline?

Release this project with OLOW! I’m also focusing on finishing up a black&white art exhibition that’ll be happening later this year. I’ve got several large collaborations dropping later in the year that will be some of my biggest to date…. From there we’ll see where this mysterious world takes us.

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• More infos about Steven Harrington on his website and Instagram page


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Marion Bureau
Marion Bureau
Chargée de communication chez OLOW

Site web : www.instagram.com/onctuositey/