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Mr Hass Super Craft Work

Mr Hass’s illustrations will be more familiar than you might realise, having appeared in various exhibitions across the region.

Mr Hass’s illustrations will be more familiar than you might realise. Based at Islington Mill in his SuperCrafts studio, his finely tuned pen and ink drawings have found their way onto walls such as last year’s Artcrank exhibition at Twenty Twenty Two, while he’s been in increasing demand to design events posters, t-shirts and album sleeves. His green peacock adorned the Mind On Fire record label’s ninth birthday poster last year and he has also created diverse images for groups including Fat Out Fest, Dub Smugglers, Raikes Parade and Shabazz Palaces.

What initially drew you to illustration?

Probably seeing old-school skateboard graphics and comics. As a kid that had a big effect. There was just something intense about that stuff, so my response was to draw like that. Years later a graphic design course in Sheffield helped me rediscover that childhood pastime. Now with the work I do there’s usually an interplay between graphics and illustration.

What’s your working process when starting a new piece?

It’s funny you ask, not long ago I was in a school doing a talk about that very thing. In my case the work stems from hand drawn images, so once I’m happy with the pencil draft everything is inked with brushes and dip pens. When the original is done the computer lets me finalise everything. It’s nice to actually see the process in the final work, so I avoid tidying things up too much.

How do you spend your days?

Most days I can be found in SuperCrafts, the studio I set up in Manchester. Luckily there are a few friends who make sure I get outside.

Animals appear through much of your work. What makes you want to draw them and how do you select which animals to depict?

There’s definitely a lot of animal based work at the moment. It’s a subject I’m interested in right now, and people ask for that stuff quite a lot, so I’m happy to do it. Generally I like drawing things that don’t need explanation, so anyone can get it. That way it’s more inclusive, and the work stands on its own two feet. Or four feet as the case may be.

The intricacy of your pen lines looks like it requires a lot of concentration to maintain a steady hand. How do you stay in the zone to do that?

Good question. There are certain rituals and habits that keep my pen work moving the right way. Good music, being comfortable with the tools and having fun definitely keep me tuned in.

Do you think having a studio at Islington Mill has helped you to develop your work in terms of being around other artists and creativity?

There’s a good vibe to Islington Mill, and it’s cool being around like-minded people. Of course nothing will develop creative work more than dedicating time and effort to it, but it’s nice to do that amongst others who are also on a creative path.

Which other artists or art forms inspire you?

My own inspiration comes mainly from music. That’s a really big one for sure. There are loads of artists and illustrators whose work I admire, both past and present, but music really makes it happen. Maybe it’s the rhythm and the flow. It stirs up this movement which pushes me to draw.

How has your work changed over the years?

Hopefully it got better.

Is there anything you dislike in illustration?

Naturally there’s stuff out there that doesn’t suit my taste, but it’s not something that needs to be commented on. There’s loads of impressive work coming out at the moment, and it’s more positive to focus on that.

What are you working on at the moment?

In general the studio keeps me busy, doing either self-initiated or commissioned work. Right now there’s clothing graphics, pattern design, trademarks, some tattoo illustrations. There’s also some really exciting character design in the pipeline, plus some digital prints are being released around the time this issue comes out. Check out Excuse the plug.

Good advice you wish you’d been told earlier?

I suspect good advice finds you when the time is right.

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