Friends of Far Afield: Printed Goods
Printed Goods is a London-based collaborative project, founded by twin brothers Raphael and George Greaves in 2016. They draw on classical mythology, symbolism, and archetypes, to create a variety of contemporary pieces that echo the past and help enrich the everyday. We sat down with Raffy & George, ahead of their upcoming Artist Series release, to discuss creativity, jazz, and their plans for the future.
Tell us about Printed Goods,
Raffy: Printed Goods first started after we left uni. We were working in a spice factory in Bristol and not really enjoying it. We had both done illustration courses and thought the best thing to do would be to start a printing company with a Risograph press, as it was a process that was becoming popular in design at that point and it seemed like something that could take off. However we soon found running a business was something we would need help with. So we got some help from The Prince's Trust, who connected us with a mentor, and that put us on the right trajectory. This was about six years ago, 2017.
George: We were creating a lot of personal stuff at the same time, so it all came together. Our personal work was gaining traction on Instagram. We were given a really good opportunity to open up a pop-up shop for a month – that provided us with a platform and is where Printed Goods in its current incarnation came from. Ever since it's been a vehicle for producing the work we want to produce, the stuff we really enjoy doing, and sharing it with everyone – that's the core of what we want to do.
Raffy: Yeah, ultimately, we make products for ourselves! They’re things we would use, we would want – luckily other people also seem to enjoy them.
When did you leave Bristol?
G: We moved to London in 2020, before lockdown. It’s been really great; we’ve met some really good people here. People in the studio, friends-of-friends, that sort of thing. It’s given us the opportunity to do some collaborations, which is something we really enjoy. We really loved living in Bristol, but it just felt like the right time.
R: Most of our customer base is here, most of our friends are here – it seemed like the right choice.
Raffy wears the x Printed Goods Stachio Shirt - Snake Print in a size 2.
Do you have a favorite piece of work?
G: That’s quite a hard one, but yes, of course it's the shirts! I think the nature of creativity is that you like the thing you’ve done most recently, or the next thing you’re going to produce, you’re constantly evolving. There are, of course, pieces that I like. But you always look back and think of what you could have done better, being overly critical is part of the process, I guess.
R: I think it’s always interesting to look back at the work you’ve produced over the years, you can really see a thread that ties it all together. That’s what’s made Printed Goods what it is, we’ve organically developed our own language of images, motifs, things we like to use. It’s very natural, very intuitive, which is how we like to work.
How did you approach designing for the Artist Series?
R: Designing shirts feels quite natural to us really. We love clothes, and we’ve thought a lot about doing something like this, so it was definitely a fun project to be a part of. We’re both quite into 50s, 60s menswear. We both really love the shirts Kramer wears on Seinfeld – there are some absolutely great ones with really interesting patterns, so that was definitely a source of inspiration.
G: We always try and consider the form of the objects we create. We never want to make an illustration and plonk it on to something without consideration or what the thing is and how it’s going to be used. Doing shirts, as Raffy said, is like a dream product for us, so we’re super happy to work with Far Afield to do that. With my design, the sun, I think it just makes sense for a summer shirt – and we’re super happy with how they turned out.
R: We’ve both chosen archetypal images, ones we use often. The snake in a lot of mythology represents knowledge, wisdom, temptation – it has a lot of different interpretations, which is something that’s fun to play with.
G: I think we’re often drawn to these images because they permeate different cultures and civilizations throughout history. There’s something deeply ingrained in them. I think they also tap into a dreamlike quality that we look to achieve in a lot of our work.
Can you talk us through some of your prominent inspirations?
R: Most of the early 20th century artists, we find that period of art history really fascinating. More figurative, traditional artforms were being played with, it was getting more abstract, and the field was really opening up for interesting things to happen.
G: Yeah, I think what we find so interesting about that period and the thing we try and reflect in our work, is how artists were really playing with new ideas, but also drawing on the wealth of everything that came before. There’s still that historical link, but there’s something new and exciting also - that’s what really interests us. I think jazz has always been a really big influence for us, as well, it’s something that we’re always listening to when we’re creating work.
R: We grew up listening to it, our Dad’s a big jazz fan. So it’s something that’s close to us.
G: It’s very good for creativity, I think. It can be there, and you won’t get too absorbed into it. And it’s innately creative, it doesn’t follow a formula like some other musical forms might, it values improvisation. Like, Bill Evans – Everyone Digs Bill Evans, we love that record. Our dad has every Bill Evans record, every bootleg. So that’s something really nice. It gets me in a good space to create.
R: But yeah, we find inspiration everywhere really – films, literature, architecture, there’s always something.
George wears the x Printed Goods Stachio Shirt - Sun Print in a size 2.
How do you find working with each other, as twins?
R: As with every sibling relationship, there’s bound to be some conflict. But we work well together. We’re into the same stuff which definitely helps. One of the advantages of working with family is that you can be brutally honest with each other. Which is something that’s very necessary in a creative environment.
G: Honest creative feedback is invaluable. And, if Raf does something I like then I can use that and add to it, or vice-versa, which has really added to the organic nature of our process and contributed to the design language of Printed Goods. In terms of running a business together – obviously there are stresses, but I think you just work out how to work together. It’s all part of growing up, we’ve both matured with the business, and we’ve figured out how best to work with each other.
Any upcoming projects you're excited about?
G: We’re working on an exhibition, which is taking up a lot of our focus at the moment.
R: We’re always working on new projects - we want to do some new throws, hopefully some more clothing. But yeah, with the exhibition we want to get back to the roots of what we do, using different mediums - painting, fabrics, etching, a whole plethora of things - and just being really creative. It’s something we’ve always wanted to do.
G: We’ve been doing Printed Goods for 6 years, and we’re still in the process of learning and carving out our careers. Commercial considerations can sometimes begin to overtake creativity, so it’s important to refocus on occasion, hopefully the exhibition will be a good way of doing that.
Raffy & George have compiled our most recent Spotify playlist, PLAY010, which features a selection of tracks that are on heavy rotation at their studio, and provide inspiration for their work.
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