Monday, January 21, 2008

INTERVIEW : Chris Haughton

Chris Haughton is an absolutely delightful being, but let's get to that part later. As far as credentials go , he is a graphic designer & freelance illustrator whose brilliant & original work earned him a spot on the top 100 designers list compiled by TIME magazine.

Chris Haughton has been involved with fair Trade organisation People Tree , who produce their design oriented goods (t-shirts,stationery, housewares) in developing countries such as India, Bangladesh, Indonesia etc. I was hoping to quiz Chris on his Indian connection & it's relevance to the work he does. He was kind enough to indulge me:

MC: Your designs get screen printed onto T-shirts in India, have you ever been here or met the people who make them?

CH:I have actually been to India three times now, I love India! Unfortunately I never made it to meet the actual artisans yet, the first two times I was there I was just backpacking around and I hadn’t started working with People Tree, and the last time it was a bit of a rush.

I have met many of the people who have set up the workshops when they come to London and they have a lot of stories about their projects, they are doing really great work there. It makes all the difference to think you are doing work for projects and companies you really agree with.

MC: Do you take any design influences from Indian culture? what are they?

CH: I really love Indian folk art, Madhubani and Warli paintings and also a lot of the textiles. When I was in 3rd year in college I went backpacking around India for the summer and when I came back I went through a phase of being really crazy about Indian folk art. I bought a lot of books on Indian painting and textiles, it was very fresh and inspiring for me to see that then. I go to the British Museum and the V&A in London when i feel burnt out, they have some really nice work

MC: Who are your favourite artists/illustrators/designers ?

CH: I like a lot of folk art mainly and get a lot of inspiration from visiting museums in London. David Shrigley's work is always outstanding, also I really like Sara Ogilvie, Neal Layton and Tom Gauld. Michel Gondry and Traktor have done some great short films and videos. I worked for a year at a very good London animation studio a few years ago (Studioaka) and was very lucky to meet some really inspiring animators and designers in there. Grant Orchard, Ben Bocquelet and Steve Small are all doing really amazing work.

MC: Do you really , honestly love vegetable fried rice?

CH:Not really actually... I've gone right off it! I was living in Hong Kong when i set up the site( .I was living in a youth hostel and i had no money at all and I'm vegetarian so it was a running joke that the only thing i cooked or was seen to eat was vegetable fried rice.


  1. Superbly interesting & its great that you've started interviews- it spices things up :) I love the People tree LOGO! And the photographs. Chris sounds super talented and super cute! :)

  2. Hey Vineeta,

    Chris is a brilliant designer/illustrator, do check out his site . The fact that he's so down to earth makes him so much more awesome :)

  3. i remember going to the people tree store once in delhi ages ago, but what fun it was! i see the pigs!

  4. umm
    i think indi you meant a different people tree -
    the cult store is

    which i think should be covered in masala chai asap

    also their sister concern

  5. I think The People Tree is actually the name used by two different organisations, one in Indian and one in the UK...I used to think they were a bit poncey (my new favourite word) but the stuff can actually be pretty good.

  6. Hey aa,
    I actually came across couple of months ago, but couldn't really find anything to post. As for people tree India, I've checked out some of it, looks a little dated, maybe I should check again.

  7. how about happily unmarried?