Getting to know Richard Braham. Aka, Whale Submarine.
Words. Images. Richard Braham
Where did you grow-up?
I grew up in the Midlands, originally in the west and then my folks up and moved over to the east with my fathers industrial steelworks job.
I enjoyed growing up in the heart of England. There is so much heritage and culture back home from all the historical buildings, canals and waterways of the industrial revolution
to the choice in so much worldly food and restaurants. The people are great and I have a lot of friends and family back there. That said Cornwall has
been my home for years now and I am grateful of the views and lifestyle I have here and the new friends I have made.
If I grew up by the sea I am not sure if I would appreciate it as much as I do, surfing from an early age would have been pretty rad though.
I was mainly falling off bikes and skateboards instead of waves at that age and it hurt.
Have you always loved to draw? Been creative?
Since I was a kid I always liked to make things, mess with colour, create things out of random stuff and use anything I could get my hands on.
Nothing has changed, I just feel I am where I need to be with it, by the sea.and that influence fits in perfectly for me and gives me direction.
Do you have any early influence’s, ie: family, friends, astronauts, that inspired you creatively, growing up?
As well as my folks, my uncle Chris inspired me a great deal. He was a very talented musician and helped me get my first guitar and taught me a few things when I was young.
He was skateboarding in early the 80’s and 90’s too and he was the coolest person I have ever known. I still have his 80’s Powell Peralta skatboard he got from New York with neon rails and all.
Sadly he past away suddenly when he was 26 and I was only 17 but in such as short time he inspired me so much.
Are you self-taught or did you study at University?
I studied graphic design at college, had a break for a few years and then did a BA Hons degree in Graphic communication.
I wasnt a particular great student, I still wasnt sure what I wanted to do and as soon as I finished my course I booked a round the world ticket and went exploring.
Do you work on your artwork full-time. Ie: Is this your main income/support?
I work in a surf store to pay the bills at the moment, I will see what the future holds. I have a lot of ideas in the pipeline.
How did you get into surfing?
Holidaying in Cornwall when I was younger and never looked back, found it quite hard to start off with but I stuck at it.
Having a hoot, time in the water, perserverance and a respect for the ocean are the main ingredients.
Do your surroundings help to inspire your work?
Definitely, I feel that living by the sea is meant to be for me and I will never be away from it. My design work would not be where it is at without it.
Is there a real creative community in Newquay?
For sure, there are so many creative folk in Newquay, beneath the tourist aspect of the town, scratch the surface and have wonder around the back streets and you will find some great
creative individual and workshops.
You own a screen-printing workshop in the town, how did this venture come about?
I have moved from my original studio, to a smaller unit which is next to respected local shaper Chris Jones place. Printwise I was doodling little illustrations and simply thought I would have a go at screen printing,
so saved a bit, bought the equipment, made a lot of mistakes, swore a lot and eventually got the hang of it. From pencil to seeing someone wearing your apparel is a pretty cool process when its all by your own hand.
Your work reflects childlike humour, with surfers on merry-go-rounds and owls riding surfboards. Was there a book or film, growing up that influenced your illustrative style?
Many books and films influence my style. An example of the top of my head would be would be the Moby Dick Novel by Herman Melville meets The Life Aquatic Movie by Wes Anderson.
There is a strong graphic element to your work – do you enjoy being able to use these tools, like illustrator and photoshop, to transform an image?
I find the more you do with pencil & pen the better, even the mistakes you make add their own element to the piece. I like to use parts of the creative suite later on, mainly to experiment with colour more than anything.
Your a big fan of the brew/cuppa. Does it help to get the creative brain ticking?
A cup of tea is my is my fuel of function & it provides a nice break between working on projects and keeps me warmed up, I love tea, especially with a spoon of honey.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
A christmas surf comp / expression session at Porthtowan that is happening very soon!
What does the new year hold for Whale Submarine?
Fresh design work, colabs, festivals and maybe even an additional mobile submarine shop.
Catch Rich at Whale Submarine HQ.
The Old Bakery, 33 Crantock Street, Newquay. Cornwall.