Australian-born Craig Redman lives and works in New York City. But his decision to move to the US was a rather spontaneous one: after getting lucky in the green card lottery, the graphic artist decided to take a chance and try his luck in the East Coast metropolis. As it turns out, this leap of faith was well worth it: the move launched Redman’s Darcel career and character. What originally started out as an idea for a blog soon led to the birth of the one-eyed icon in 2007.

Taking a closer look at the designer’s work, the inherent humour and optimism becomes glaringly apparent. A colourful mix of illustration, typography and patterns, spearheaded by the Cyclops character Darcel, Redman’s creations might not necessarily convey deep and meaningful messages, but they invariably delight our senses. Beyond his charming cult cartoon creation, he also brightens up our world as part of the design duo Craig & Karl. Friends since their college days back in Oz, the two have been pursuing joint projects ever since graduation.

Craig Redman is a contemporary artist who aptly applies modern-day tools like iPhone, camera, laptop and Photoshop. Every once in a while, he also reaches for pen and paper – ready to branch out in any given direction his inspiration might take him. Cynicism meets hope, or so Craig Redman describes himself.

During a visit to his Lower East Side studio in New York, we got a look at the artist and his work set-up.

What is your favourite song from the current Mixed Tape #50?
I really love “Actress” by Steady Sun.

When and where do you usually listen to music?
Every day and all day long. Whenever I work, there is music running in the background. And my taste is pretty clear-cut: I tend to love dreamy, glum pop like Slowdive and The Cocteau Twins or more up-to-date examples like How To Dress Well or The Weeknd.

Does music inspire and inform your works?
Indirectly, probably. Like most of my inspirations, it is not a conscious decision. Almost without noticing, I take in everything around me – and this tends to conjure up a new idea or direction more or less by itself.

What kind of music might Darcel bop around to?
He would never dance. Instead, he might shuffle his feet to a My Bloody Valentine track.

If you could design anyone’s cover – whose would it be?
Crazy Frog. And I really mean that (laughs).

Have you noticed any obvious differences between the Australian and New York music scene?
Australia boasts many great bands. The difference probably lies in the opportunities that musicians have in either country. Even when you make it in Australia, it is very hard to turn this into a sizeable career. But when you start making music under the same conditions in the USA, you are much more likely to make it on an international level.

And what about the art scene – do similar differences apply?
Yes, and you are confronted with so many great galleries in New York, all exhibiting fantastic and established artists. Irrespective of the inspirations assaulting you here, the city supplies you with a huge amount of motivation – it feels as if nothing could ever be impossible here.

Do you have a favourite bar?
Any pleasant small bar with a jukebox is enough to make me pretty happy. Preferably with few people – an impossibility in New York. Let’s put it this way: The more depressing the location and the sadder the music, the happier I will be.

And what’s on the schedule for the future?
I will soon reveal new products I designed for Colette. And there is another project on the horizon together with Coca-Cola; an illustration for a group show plus a few new prints. Also, I will continue to blog for Opening Ceremony. And I have a few other projects in the pipeline, but that’s still too early to tell!

More information on the artist: