T-Files 015: Eric Crandell

Having written about a million product descriptions for musically-inspired T-shirt graphics, as well as running my own little reggae brand on the side, you could say I’m a little bit obsessed with how you can coherently translate ideas about music into images. One person who can do this better than just about anyone I know is Eric Crandell. I first came into contact with Eric’s design through all the great work he did for Ubiquity Records. Later, DG picked up Eric’s own musically-inspired label 101 Apparel too, so I got another dose of excellent graphics from him. Today Eric was kind enough to answer some questions about his work…

Where are you based? Southern Cali

How did 101 Apparel come about? Well, I had already been doing designs for Ubiquity for a while and since I knew I could do it on my own, I just decided to step up and start my own brand. Also, I wanted to be able to design what I wanted, when I wanted, use more of an aesthetic approach with my own private interests at the forefront with little to no concerns for corporate interests and I figured going independent would be the best way to do that.

What have you been working on lately? Well, I’ve got the summer 09 line that’s ready for sale at my site and have been busy with the distribution aspects of that along with getting ready for winter 09/10. Also, I am excited to be doing more artists/design collaborations. We just finished up the Kon and Amir & Wax Poetics collaboration which is a really great mix of disco and latin stuff, and we did a shirt for them to complement that mix. That came out really well. I also have Quantic (Tru-Thoughts) as the next artist that I am working with to do the same thing, you know he’s been living in Colombia for the last few years and he has a new album coming out so I am expecting a mix of some really special stuff from him.

Can you describe your favorite recent design? My personal favorite is the “re-edit” design, its an all over abstract print pattern of circular record shapes, broken in half, rearranged and then mutated into new forms.  The same process a producer or dj uses for re-edits.

How do you capture the essence of a musical genre and translate that into a t-shirt graphic? I’ve always been able to express myself visually using music as inspiration, it comes naturally to me.  This started back in the early 90’s, designing rave/underground flyers, then early 2000 – designing a countless amount of album covers for Ubiquity Records etc.., now I put my energy into 101 Apparel.

Seen anything good from another brand/designer lately? I really like the Yo 45’s t-shirt by Stones Throw, its basically Peanut Butter Wolfs rare & classic hip hop 45’s.  There is something about old 45 label art that attracts me.

What, if anything, has been distracting you from work? I find myself starting to spend more time running the business and less time designing which is sometimes frustrating.

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