We Interview Sneaker Illustrator-Cum-Designer Careaux
Fresh from her third PUMA collaboration.
Caroll Lynn a.k.a. careaux is one of our favorite faces of sneaker culture. Having started out illustrating sneakers during a dark period of her life, she rose up through Instagram and got noticed by some of the biggest names in the scene, including PUMA and Filling Pieces. With three PUMA collaborations under her belt and the position of the first women's footwear designer at Filling Pieces, incredibly Caroll still finds time for her illustrations.
We caught up with the Amsterdam-based talent to get to know the girl behind the Instagram, and learn what's next on the careaux journey.
Your final PUMA capsule dropped a couple of months ago. How did it all go?
Slightly different than the other two releases. This was a silent drop. Also very limited in quantities and limited to shops. Mostly it was online so no one really knew about it. Also no one actually knows what a cream drop is. In some way I’m kinda happy it’s so limited but then again, I feel this was my best capsule.
What's your favorite part of the collection?
It must be my tracking outfit. It comes with a jacket and track pants. It has flowers embroidered on the collar and on the back of the jacket
After over three years with such a high-profile brand, what are the main lessons you've learned?
This is a hard one. I learned a lot. Definitely how to stay humble in such a period of time. Also how to come to an agreement. It’s not always one way street.
It's amazing how you went from illustrating sneakers to designing them. What made you choose sneakers in the first place?
It’s a story from ages ago. I started illustrating sneakers as a way to get my mind off things happening around me. I didn’t really illustrate anything else. Lucky Cat came along the way as well.
Could you tell us the story behind your signature Dedication Flower?
It started after my dad woke up from his coma. I needed something to hold on to. I hadn’t seen my dad for over 15 years but after his coma, he lost 30 years of his memories. So the flower represents the new time I was going to spend with him.
How did your illustration evolve from a coping mechanism to a career?
I have no idea to be honest. Instagram?
What advice would you give to young creatives starting out on Instagram today?
It’s a tough business, that Instagramming... I don’t know really. I still struggle every day to understand how it works. I think posting frequently should be helpful, engaging with your followers. Give them something in return. I used to give away canvases if I grew another 1k followers. After a while, this was weekly so I ended up being broke, but it was worth it. Also, giving art personally to the people who bought it was also a good thing to do. It creates a bond; it’s more personal. People love that nowadays besides all the social media.
Do you think maintaining an online presence positively or negatively impacts the creative process, and why?
Negative but positive. Negative because I felt like I wasn’t creating for myself anymore. Positive cause you can still put yourself out there.
Where do you think Instagram culture will be in a couple of years' time?
I have no idea and I really don’t want to think about it. It scares me knowing there will be some new platform one day and everyone has to switch and start all over. Maybe not though.. I’ve been thinking about other ideas and new ways, close to Facebook and Instagram. So far, we have everything we need.
With such a busy life, what inspires you to pick up your iPad and get stuck into an illustration?
In the morning it’s the only time I have to spend on my own illustrations. I don’t want to lose what I started, or put aside the thing that brought me to where I am now. I can’t just quit, you know. And I like it. I like to wake up early, I’m most active then. I see it as practise as well. In the office we work so differently, also with the iPad though. After work, I’m tired. So I'd rather just chill.
Talking of your busy life, tell us about your work at Filling Pieces.
It’s so much fun. I started working full-time in April. I already worked for FP for 3 years but on a freelance basis. I needed that cause I still had Puma on the side and I had a lot of projects going on in Sydney as well, where I worked at Subtype. I worked three months at FP, flew back to Sydney, worked on some projects there and went back to Amsterdam after three months to start a new season at FP. I felt this couldn’t continue so I decided to stay in Amsterdam and focus on FP completely. So far, it’s hard but I like it. I've learned a lot more now and I’m more involved as well. FP is growing and I can’t just leave all the time, I felt I had to be a backbone.
How does your location influence your work?
I travel for inspiration so Amsterdam doesn’t do a lot to my work, it’s just a home. When I travel I start fresh, I see new things, experience new things. However, social media influences a lot.
What's next for careaux?
I have ideas but I need some free time to focus on that..
And finally, the million-dollar question: if you were a sneaker, what would you be?
I think I already have to apologize but: Nike VaporMax..
Next up, there's just two days left for apparel and footwear designers to enter the adidas Design Academy.