MEET #3988 RICHARD HART
Designer • New York, New York
WNW Member #3988 Richard Hart has spent over 17 years as principal (and cofounder with his sister) of disturbance, a design firm in Durban, South Africa. He's an award-winning designer who has also published books, released CDs, opened a restaurant, a design store, and a gallery. In August 2013, he moved to New York City with his wife and two daughters.
WNW Member & South-African native Jordan Metcalf cited Richard as a fellow WNW member whose work he looks up to, "There are so many great people on WNW that it’s hard to narrow down a list, but I’d probably say New York based, South African export Richard Hart stands out for me as someone whose work and career I admire. He’s been in the industry for ages, helped start up and run one of South Africa’s top creative studios, built up this incredible portfolio of exciting and diverse commercial and collaborative work, and has successfully managed to merge his painting skills, production know-how and graphic designer's eye into an experimental, beautiful and unique fine art focus in the last few years. I’d be happy to retire with a bio like his, and the guy’s not even close to being done yet."
We couldn't have said it better.
1. How long have you been freelancing?
Only about a year, which is almost as long as I’ve been in New York. Before that I lived in South Africa where I ran a studio for nearly 17 years… so it’s a bit odd being the freelancer and not the one searching for freelancers.
2. Is there a time or place that you feel most creative/have the best ideas?
Usually it’s between 1am and 4am when I’m desperately trying to switch off and get some sleep but my mind is just going crazy. Sometimes I wake up the next morning and realise that the ideas were developed in a state of exhausted delirium and are totally shit, but just as often I come up with gold. I’ve learned that there’s value in these periods of insomnia and mostly I just relax and go with it and deal with the fact that the next day I’m a zombie.
3. What's your ideal Working:Not Working ratio?
I work as a visual artist when I’m not freelancing, so really I’m always working. And that’s the way I like it. In terms of the split between freelance and art-making, 50/50 seems to be comfortable. I’m learning to come to terms with the fact that I don’t really have a lot of control over what the ratio turns out to be week to week… at first it was a bit stressful.
4. Do your parents understand what you do?
Haha, ummmmm definitely not. In fact I can usually measure the success of a project by how much head-shaking and eye-rolling it inspires in my mom. That said, she has always been unconditionally supportive, which I think is pretty much the definition of a good parent, right?
5. What scene from a movie makes you laugh just thinking about it?
Probably Jack Black drop-kicking Ron Burgundy’s dog off a bridge in Anchorman. Actually just the sight of Jack Black pretty much cracks me up.
6. If you were stranded on a desert island, with your computer, what 3 websites would you take with you?
1. coconutresearchcenter.org (Your source for accurate information on the health and nutritional aspects of coconut, coconut oil, palm, palm oil, and related subjects.)
2. survivenature.com (Learn the methods to survive and stay alive on a deserted island.)
3. pornhub.com… I mean, who knows how long I’ll be out there! (NSFW)
7. What do you do when Not Working?
I’m either at my studio making art or at home making amends with my wife for spending too much time making art.
8. Do you have a hidden talent?
No, I’m pretty sure any talents I have are out in the open and exploited to the fullest of my talent exploiting ability. Maybe talent exploitation is my hidden talent?
9. Any tips or advice for fellow freelancers?
It’s pretty obvious but I always try to view myself as being there to make someone’s life easier (usually a creative director). Skill and talent are a given, but if you use initiative, anticipate needs and get shit done before you’ve even been asked, it makes you so much more valuable. I know this from having been the hirer of freelancers for many years… the ones that were low maintenance and high output always got the call.