You don’t have to meet Richard Haines in person to pick up on his authenticity and charisma. Simply scroll through his Instagram or former blog, What I Saw Today, and it’s hard not to fall in love with the intimate and beautiful way he sees the world. In person, Haines possesses the same warmth and subtle intrigue as his illustrations. “It’s always been an instinctual thing to draw really beautiful things,” he explains. “It was a way of creating an alternative world for myself.”

Richard Haines sketching in his Brooklyn apartment.

Haines first moved to New York in the mid-70s, when illustration was a dying art form, so he channeled his artistic inclination into becoming a fashion designer. He worked for the likes of Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, but when the economy tanked in 2008, work dried up. That’s when he started drawing again for fun, and eventually started a blog at the recommendation of a friend. Haines fell in love with the process of sharing his drawings with the world, and he’s the first to admit that the internet and social media transformed his life. Now, you might find him sitting front row covering shows for the NY Times, collaborating with brands like Prada and Dries Van Noten, or showing in a gallery. As he chats from the barber chair at Blind Barber in Barneys Downtown, it’s refreshing to see that, despite his many recent accolades and more than three decades living in the city, Haines is still as bright-eyed as when he first got here. Watch the above video to learn more about this fascinating artist.

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