Monday, May 11, 2009

Art Chantry: True American Master

When I was in graduate school my good buddy RyNy lent me his copy of Charlie Don't Surf: The Graphic Design of Art Chantry. I was totally blown away - here was a designer working in the punk/DIY aesthetic, creating unique textures, using the copy machine as an artmaking tool, taking risks with typography, and working the limitations of the xerox in original and beautiful ways.

It was Chantry who really brought home the idea for me that one should only utilize color when it is absolutely necessary, and that if used sparingly, that color could impact the viewer in startling and significant communicative relationships. As an artist and designer, there was two periods of my career BC and AC - Before Chantry and After Chantry.

One of the hardest items I've ever had to return to someone was that Chantry book, as it's very hard to find and very expensive, even on But it's a book that every designer should come in contact with at some point, and Chantry is certainly a "must see" designer to be examined. There are many, many lessons to be learned from his craft.

A true American master, Chantry is an artist that was never given the proper respect he deserved. A million, trillion imitators have come in his wake, with precious few even being cognizant of who they were ripping off.

Do yourself a favor and spend some time with his work - Chantry has an excellent website here. Here's to you Art Chantry, you are one of the best.