Interview with illustrator Rani Ban who has created our Limited Edition Capsule Collection
Samantha Safer: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Rani Ban: I am an illustrator & visual merchandiser living and working in NYC! I live in an old luggage factory in the Red Hook neighborhood in Brooklyn with my cat named Dingus and my Ryan. Dingus is a shitty studio assistant but we keep her around anyways. When I’m not at a Meg store moving things around I’m probably a) in my studio making a mess, b) watching the Sopranos with Ryan, or c) hanging out with my neighbor BFF Louie who has lived in the neighborhood for 60 something years ~ we like to watch the history channel together.
We moved to NYC after spending some time in San Francisco (cough I love Berkeley cough) and Mexico City.
SS: What are the themes you typically illustrate?
RB: I spent a lot of my childhood in Santa Fe, New Mexico and often times recognize my warm desert tones, simple graphics & folky/flat/pattern-play as a reflection of that city. But it’s all a process; it’s all practice.
SS: How did you get your start?
RB: I went to school to study business and immediately belly flopped into the art department. I couldn’t stay away. I studied illustration and drank up the classes like water. I met a few people there that made me want to think harder and bigger and showed me how to make my ideas click into place.
SS: What mediums do you use?
RB: I’ve spent the majority of my studio time playing with acrylics. I like how immediate and unforgiving it is. I find it to be awkward and confident and I like that. I’ve also been printing repeated images on fabric and falling more in love with this everyday. In an effort to avoid ruts I try new mediums constantly. Making something out of a medium I don’t know how to use keeps that kid-like feeling of awe/determination alive. I’ve been making a mess with clay in the studio lately.
SS: Who/what do you look to for inspiration?
RB: I am constantly captivated by Shantell Martin, Altelier Bingo, Jing Wei, Dallas Clayton, Frankie Magazine, Abbey Rich, Petra Collins, Yayoi Kusama, Adam J Kurtz, Courtney Knight, HRC, The New Yorker, my baby sister & women like Meg who doin this whole life thing on their own terms.
SS: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your hands print?
RB: To be honest they just make me happy.
SS: You are a visual merchandising gal for Meg and have previously worked for Free People amongst other brands. How has that practice/expertise impacted your illustration/art?
RB: One of my favorite words is bricolage: Something made or p
SS: Where was your capsule collection printed?