Known for its contemporary graphic, psychedelic-pop style, the artwork of Los Angeles-based artist and designer Steven Harrington has become instantly recognizable. Described as playful yet contemplative, Harrington’s style provokes conversations all while exuding the undeniable allure and diverse makeup of California. In honor of Master & Dynamic’s collaboration with Steven Harrington, The 10,000 spoke with the artist about his work, inspiration and plans for the future.
Tell us how you became interested in art. What was the first thing you remember creating, and did anything in particular inspire it?
I first became interested in art during my childhood. I’d say that most children are handed a crayon, a pencil or a brush at an early age. I guess I was just one of those kids that never set that tool down. I can remember first creating drawings with my brother and sister. We would create large images of ships and oceans and really detailed drawings.
Your graphic work is instantly recognizable. How do you continue to develop and build on your signature style while staying true to yourself?
A lot of people consider my work to be instantly recognizable. But at this point, to be honest, that’s just something I’m not very conscious of when I work. I just focus on the work and I let it speak for itself.
MW07 PLUS True Wireless Earphones
Master & Dynamic x Steven Harrington
MH40 Wireless Headphones
Custom MW07 PLUS Charging Case
How do you approach graphic design, and what in your opinion makes a design memorable?
I often approach graphic design by understanding the context in which the design will live. For example, for my collaboration with Master & Dynamic, the context was the wireless headphones and the earphones. With that said, I really wanted the art to help accentuate the beauty of the product design. Overall, memorable design is made up of great visual art and great product design.
What do you want people to get out of your art? Is there a particular feeling you want your work to invoke?
My main goal in creating art is to excite and to inspire. I think we’re living in a time where some of the greatest gifts are art, and those gifts create joy and inspire.
What do you, as an artist, hope to accomplish in the future? Have you set any specific goals for yourself?
When I think about the future of my artwork, I hope to be able to speak to a wider community. I’ve always believed that good artwork should be accessible and for the general public, regardless of race, gender, or religion. I think that great art should be free for all to enjoy, to inspire and to create joy.
What part does music play in your creative process? Do you have any favorite artists or songs that inspire you?
Music plays a massive role in my creative process. My practice is about trying to get to a state of subconscious drawing. Music is the perfect tool to help get me to this space. Right now I’m listening to Bill Withers on repeat. He was a huge inspiration to me and my life, especially growing up.
Your work has been used in countless ways and for numerous collaborations, including with us. What makes for a successful collaboration?
I’ve collaborated with many brands throughout the years, including Master & Dynamic. In doing so, I’ve always thought that a successful brand collaboration is made up of two mandatory parts: great quality product that’s designed with care and love, and great artwork that’s designed with care and love. Without one or the other, a collaboration typically doesn’t yield good results.
You continually depict vibrant colors—specifically purple and green—as well as animated palm trees. What first drew you toward these specific colors and illustrations?
A lot of my vibrant colors and imagery is inspired by the California sunshine. I work in Los Angeles, California, and every day is sunny and 80 degrees regardless of the season. When the sun is always out, you become less afraid to celebrate color. Almost every single day is a beach day.
What is it about the Master & Dynamic brand that resonates with you and your work?
Master & Dynamic resonates with me because of our common interest in music and sound. I draw every day and I listen to music every day. Headphones and earphones are an essential part of my working experience, and an essential tool for me at this point.
How did you incorporate your graphics into the existing shapes of the Master & Dynamic products you collaborated on?
When we first started working on the collaboration for Master & Dynamic, I requested several models of the products. From there, I drew and I mocked-up directly on to the headphones. For me, sizing and flow is everything. I constantly practice flow within my composition, so I wanted the lines to flow together with the product itself.
To Shop Collection:
The Master & Dynamic x Steven Harrington collection features MH40 Wireless Headphones in Lilac and MW07 PLUS True Wireless Earphones in three colorways, Lilac, Gold and Black, available at masterdynamic.com. For headphones, click here, and for earphones click here.