Jul 25, 2017 | By Carlene Thomas Bailey
Mar 29, 2016
By Jian DeLeon
David Park is a graphic designer at Complex Media who moonlights as an illustrator. His Instagram, @lookrichasfuuu, is full of oft-hilarious commentary on men’s fashion, sneaker culture, and his self-professed shopping addiction. Influenced by Japanese anime, American comics, and artists like Takashi Murakami and KAWS, Park’s trademark cartoony style offers a light-hearted perspective on buzzy labels and highly-sought after products, be they Kanye West’s adidas Yeezy 350 sneakers or a WWII-era fighter plane-inspired hoodie from A Bathing Ape.
As a result of his Instagram, Park’s gotten the chance to work on cool projects like a Versace-inspired brooch with Pintrill and the campaign for New Jersey sneaker shop Packer Shoes’ exclusive Diadora N. 9000 collaboration. We spoke to Park about how he got his start as an illustrator, how he developed his unique, humorous perspective on fashion, and what he thinks about men’s style today.
When did you first start drawing?
I’ve been drawing since I was in elementary school. I was very much into cartoons and comic books like The Simpsons and Dragonball, and have always wanted to be able to draw like them. I spent years copying mangas and images I liked. It wasn’t until I was in college that I started to draw on my own and apply my skills to drawing things that interest me like fashion, sneakers, and pop culture.
Did you go to art school or are you self-taught?
I would say I’ve developed my style from years of copying other artists. I did go to design school because I wanted to become an illustrator, but soon decided to switch to a graphic design major.
Your illustrations cover everything from anime to hip-hop to artists like KAWS. How did these eclectic tastes influence your style?
I’ve always been a fan of pop culture, hip hop, fashion, and art. My taste is in creativity and playfulness. That’s what I’m attracted to and where I draw inspiration from. Because at what point does drawing Smurfs become serious art? Or giant balloon dogs? I think there are ways to paint every event in a humorous tone and that’s how I want my illustrations to be perceived—a visual LOL.
What are some of your favourite stores, brands, and designers right now?
My favourite artists are KAWS, Murakami, Os Gemeos, Kevin Lyon, and Naturel. Some of them I have been following for over a decade. As for fashion, I’m currently into YSL, DSM, and Valentino.
A lot of your illustrations poke fun at the fashion industry and streetwear culture, what’s your take on what men’s fashion and style is like right now?
It seems like today everything is a copy of something which is also a copy of something else. There are only a handful of brands with prominent styles and everything else seems like a reproduction of that style with slight twists. I’m not hating on it though, because many times they’re creative approaches to classic styles. I love those “why didn’t I think of that?” moments.
It’s also hilarious how you’ve made DIY versions of sneakers like Supreme collaborations and Yeezys, or drawn things like a Death Row chain. What sparks these ideas?
While other people like to retweet or repost news that interest them, I like to take an extra step and reinterpret them in my own way. Usually making illustrations in an exaggerated, comedic approach—you know, big head, small body, large eyes, boogers, spazzing. It’s my personal take on everyday news just to share a laugh. I can appreciate the latest releases and have fun with them without necessarily buying them all the time.
Your Instagram has led to several interesting collaborations, like a Pintrill pin and art for a Packer Shoes sneaker. What other opportunities have opened up to you via social media?
I love working with other creative people and Instagram has allowed me to share my work with many of them. So far I’ve worked on pins, stickers, prints, shirts, flyers, promo videos, ads, and so on. Some dude even got a tattoo of one of my sketches! Now that’s crazy.
What inspired the ABC series of illustrations? Will we see more around a certain theme?
I have been drawing things that I like for quite a while and I just wanted to give myself a challenge. Each drawing has to start with a letter from the alphabet and ideally relevant to the time. Certain letters take longer than others. When I’m done with this I want to try different themes, perhaps a full Air Jordan series.
You draw a lot of sneakers. What’s your current rotation? How big is your collection?
I used to want people to look at my sneakers and say: “Wow, cool sneakers!” Now I want them to say ” Oh sh*t! WTF!!” I’m into more crazy, flamboyant ones now. It’s also more about quality than quantity, so I got rid of a lot of my old sneakers. I think I’m down to 50? These days I’m usually in Rick Owens, Margiela, Louboutin, Stan Smiths, or YSL.
Any time art and men’s fashion cross paths, people tend to go nuts, like when someone draws The Simpsons as sneaker heads or anime characters as hype beasts. Why do you think that is? What’s your take on that phenomenon?
Most of us grew up around the same time and have common experiences. The Simpsons, Super Mario, and Dragonball are some of the few. Since labels like BAPE or Givenchy won’t show their latest season worn by Goku or Moe Sizlack, creatives are prompted to imagine these “What if?” situations and make different worlds come together.
Why is Bart always in the same outfit? What would he look like in a John Elliott hoodie? Does Springfield even have a sneaker store that sells Yeezys? What makes this work is the fact that we all grew up around these characters and can relate to them. It’s almost like imagining your friend who’s been broke for 10 years finally getting paid and copping some dope gear!
What’s your goal in five years? Looking to start your own creative agency, or get an exhibition?
I want to work with fashion brands making style boards and croquis using regular average people as models instead of skinny giants. Also, it’s my goal to take the illustrations from digital to actual prints because I’ve promised way too many people to do so. I might need a manager and some confidence in my own work for that.
Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.