Diskko's Art Deco collection featured two collaborative pieces with architect and artist Charles Raimondo. Charles is 27 years old from Edison, New Jersey, practicing architecture at Morris Adjmi Architects in New York City and currently undergoing his final year of graduate school at the Michael Graves school of Public Architecture at Kean University
Russ: What started your interest/career in architecture and art?
Charles: I know it is cliche but my interest in architecture started when I was young and my brother Jonathan and I would play with lego blocks and we would create cities on a whim without any instruction. The act of creating architecture was in my roots at an early age but I was naive about its profound implications on society. Only when I started to grow older I began to draw everything and anything which helped formulate my ideas about my place in space and my outlook on life morphed my ideas about architectures. It's hard for me to stick to a single reason on why I am interested in architecture just because the field is abundantly rich in many different facets but the ability to convey ideas and forms through drawing hits a vibrant chord for me. It's hard to name all those who inspire me but the early drawings of Rem Koolhas, Zaha Hadid, Aldo Rossi, Bernard Tschumi helped solidify my interest in architecture and the power of storytelling through drawing. There are so many things going on in the field it's nearly impossible to be bored with the architecture occupation. But if I were to choose one main reason that could apply to all today it would be the fact that as an architect you have the ability to change the world no matter what scale you are scoping into, you have the license (must pass the ARE first) to create provocative spaces that would act as a stage for life to unfurl about.
Russ: You worked together with our creative director, Hunter, to design the 'Paris 2020 Exposition' Hoodie, releasing October 28th. What inspired that?
Charles: My inspiration for the Exposition Paris 2020 poster hoodie was distilled from Romaine de Tirtoff who was a French-Russian artist. He was widely known for producing the most elegant fashion drawings of his time. Art deco was a period in time where people looked towards the future in excitement and their eclectic ideas were celebrated through many forms such as fashion, architecture, graphic design, modes of transportation, dance, and interior design. For me the totality of Art deco could be distilled into the beauty of form. The woman form is arguably the most beautiful form known and I wanted to represent her in a state of euphoria through the movement of dance. To capture the exciting art deco atmosphere I set off to animate the female form in a bombastic way by throwing her hands upwards while twirling her dress that deceptively morphs into “DISKKO.” Most forms of dance capture the excitement of the life of the emancipated soul.
Russ: What makes your art yours?
Charles: That's a good question which I have never reflected upon. I suppose what makes my art “mine” is that I don't follow trends and I try to keep it simple. I aim to cast meaningful ideas into each of my works of art. My art isn't static in nature but it's dynamically in flux with my daily whereabouts. For example, I was surfing on the 1 train early in the morning, and it was quiet. As the subway rolled up to South Ferry St. stop, I tend to wait for everyone to get off. As I was sitting there, I peered over and saw a man knocked out. For some reason my imagination kicked in and a field of flowers blanketed over the musty NY subway station.
Russ: If you could remake any piece of artwork, what would it be and what would you do to it?
Charles: I never had the desire to remake any of art. I have a portfolio that I stuff all of my art into and it's my door into the past that I leave as is. My art collection is like a mirror where I look into, recognize who I am, and it's my very own Pandora's box in which it brings me back to a specific state of mind where a flurry of feelings arises. The beauty of participating in an act of art is that it's impossible to make a mistake. Partaking in a creative endeavor which fits under the umbrella of “art” is a learning experience. My compass always points north in the sense I am always thinking of new ideas to bring to fruition while maintaining a conservative link with my past.
Russ: What are your long term goals, whether in or out of the art industry or architecture?
Charles: The last 6 years I have been heavily invested in Architecture. Who knows what the future holds? I would love to go back to work in the city full time under a stable environment. But for now I will be rounding the final corner in order to scoop my masters. I have always had a dream of opening up my own architecture firm or partnering with someone and creating projects that would critique our place in space. I will continue to work hard and hopefully find myself retired on a beach somewhere surrounded with my family.
Russ: Any shoutouts or things you would like others to know/hear?
Charles: To all of the people who believe in themselves, always keep pushing forward and never stop believing in yourself. America is the land of opportunity and we are a nation of bright minds. We are all entrepreneurs in our own ways. Nobody is going to help you unlock the hidden unknowns ahead unless you take a big leap forward. If you are feeling down, take a step back and observe your place in the universe. We are all unique and we all have the ability to make the world a better place. Pick up a new hobby, read a book, tell your loved ones you love them and smile until your jaw becomes unhinged. Don't deviate into instances you have no control over, leave the past in the past and walk the line with a heart of gold. Learn from your failures and strive for success. Last but not least Diskko is the bomb diggity and thank you all for attending my TED talk.
The Diskko Art Deco collection, featuring collaboration work with Charles, will be available for purchase online beginning Wednesday, October 28th.
See more of Charles's work here and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org