Artist, photographer, surfer and businessman Justin Crawford owns a stylish hat company, Fallen Broken Street, based in Byron Bay but selling around the world. See the full story from Paul’s studio visit for Where They Create here.

Tell me a little about you and where we are right now
We’re in Byron Bay. I do a mixed bag of lollies of things, I would say. I have a hat company called Fallen Broken Street, I potter around doing art, making things… If I can’t do something, I learn how. I’m a bit of a hoarder, by what you see here.

You have many projects on…
I’ve always had the philosophy if someone else can do it, why can’t I? That’s how I ended up in developing. I was looking around, going “Hang on, something’s going on here.” My friend was doing industrial units, and then I said, “I’ve got to get in, work out a way.” I did the ones out in Mulla, pulled it off. Finance company didn’t get it, I got it.

So what came first for you: Surfing or Art?
Probably art. I wasn’t surfing when when I first picked up a pen — art starts young. I always thought I would be a cartoonist when I was growing up, in that fleeting time when people ask you what you’re going to do. That didn’t happen, but I ended up studying photography at Ultimo, TAFE. I travelled around doing surf photography, I was doing all the surf competitions, but then I was like, “This isn’t going to last forever. How can I still travel?” So, I started to shoot all the surfers and sell ads to magazines. I shot for Volcom, did their whole campaigns for them, and that’s what led me into the hats. My wife, Diva really helped me in that. She’s amazing, keeps it all together, and she’s super arty — a graphic designer. It just works! 

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What mindset/mood do you like being in when you’re creating?
Chaos — I guess. I’m not too sure. When I come up with something, I fully do it, but I self-sabotage it sometimes. I’ll come up with something and get bored with that and do something else. There’s always a couple of balls that I’m juggling at the same time.

Which person has inspired you most in your life?
Definitely having dad’s stuff around me. I was sort of out of home since I was 13-14; I grew up pretty young, and I kept the whole community of surfers and friends — living pretty simply. But having dad’s stuff always around and having his photography, seeing how brilliant he was at his stuff was really inspiring for me.

On top of that, a bunch of friends in Sydney were artists. David Bromley has been really inspiring; he’s a really good friend, and I like his judgment and the way he articulates himself and his company, and the people around him. He’s really super kind to people, and it’s really nice to see his shows in the community. Also Diva — without her, I’m nothing. Just always being there, troubleshooting; we just feed off each other, and that’s really nice. She’s a lateral thinker, a lot smarter than me.

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