Inspiration

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Focal Point: Celebrating Red, White & Blue with Crispin Finn

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Crispin Finn aka Anna Fidalgo and Roger Kelly, are a London based duo obsessed with creating beautiful bits of design, illustration and typography in red, white and blue. Check out thier iconic cocktail screenprints...we're obsessed.

So first off, tell us a bit about yourselves... 

For a couple of years we made stationery products, screen prints and exhibited in a variety of shows together whilst still working full-time on our other pursuits. Then we were approached by Siobhan Squire who suggested representing us for commercial projects and that was really the moment we realised we could go full time as Crispin Finn. We jumped at the chance! Since then have worked on a variety of advertising, design and illustrative projects as well as continuing our own work.

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Photo: Backyard Bill

Your trademark colours are red, white and blue. Has it always been this way, and is it limiting only working with the three?

That was arrived at right at the beginning. The combination of red, white and blue seemed to appear in much of the ephemera, stationery and things that inspired us. When we decided to use screen printing as a primary means of fabrication it was also a practical consideration - limiting ourselves to only three colours meant we could buy good quality print-ink in large quantities, making the print work economical enough to experiment with.

This restriction also created a set of design rules to work within, and they created an identity for our work. The necessities of commercial briefs means we do deviate from the colourway for clients; but we carry a sense of visual economy and a pared-down colour palette throughout all of our work.

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The Bar Is Open Print (Glow-In-The-Dark)

We love your iconic cocktail prints. How did the idea for these come about? What’s next for them?

The idea started in Roger's parent's kitchen, looking his mother's collection of old, beautiful and functional recipe cards. We wanted to make cards for classic cocktail recipes and we liked the idea that you could have a definitive set of recipes because there are so many variations. The idea progessed in a slightly Lynch-ian way when Charlie from Beach London told us about a dream in which he'd hosted a crazy cocktail party at the gallery. He thought we might want to help him make it a reality and use it as a way of displaying a new body of work. It was all very serendipitous. We created a set of cards with classic recipes for the attendees, made the series of screen prints and also created the Crispin Fizz cocktail (in red, white and blue of course!) There wasn’t a sober person standing at the end of the night, it was chaos but huge fun.

We’d love to turn our designs into book form, so that’s definitely next on the cocktail 'to-do' list.

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Tell us about your studio space. What’s in it to inspire you?

We work from two spaces; a studio in our garden which is computer, desk and drawing based, and then a larger studio in Margate where we screen print, paint, make textiles and package our shop products. Both are full of books, pictures, photographs, games, records and bits & pieces that we’ve collected over the years.

Inspiration is everywhere, and perhaps one of the most important lessons we’ve learnt is how to hang on to it and organise it so that you don’t forget or overlook special things. We have display shelves in both studios and it’s important for us to be surrounded by an ever expanding library of great things.

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Working as a pair, what’s the creative process like?

We’re very critical and we have very similar standards as well as references and ambitions. It translates very well into our collaborative work and borders on a sort of telepathy so that we both know when something is working or not. Having said that, Anna knows when something is complete, where as Roger can tweak until the cows come home.

Almost everything we make begins as lists, discussions and drawings before we turn it into digital, print or whichever process realises the final work. We enjoy working with physical techniques, which is why we screen print all our personal work. And it’s interesting how mixing inks, choosing paper stocks, pulling prints, creating packaging and figuring out problems on a practical level then goes on to inform our digital work. 

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Photos courtesy of Backyard Bill & Crispin Finn

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