Art Chantry Speaks

Posted by on Apr 16, 2016 in Reading List | No Comments

Art Chantry Speaks

On a recent trip to the library, I ran across Art Chantry Speaks, by Art Chantry. After almost putting the book back on the shelf, I decided to take it home and read it. I’m so glad… I really enjoyed this book.

I moved to Seattle in 1991 and by then Art Chantry was celebrated for his rock posters, rock magazines and album covers. While I didn’t personally know Art, I had heard him talk at the SPGA (Society of Graphic Designers) meetings and knew other designers who shared studio space with him. But I really didn’t connect with him as a person or as a designer.

In reading Art Chantry Speaks, I learned about his love of the history of Graphic Design — the one NOT taught to students in design school. Art traces back many graphic design trends, styles and influences back to the designers who really created them rather than the designers who took the credit. Art also looks back on how the graphic design business evolved from a profession populated by mostly self-taught sign painters to the current “art form” that it is considered today.

As a graphic designer before the advent of computer design, I could relate to Art’s writing on many levels. There is a huge difference between designers who worked pre-computer and the designers now who rely completely on the Adobe Creative Suite. There are differences in how we learned to become designers, the tools we used, the skills we developed, the kinds of work our clients needed, etc.

There used to be a time when designers were trained in the history of composition. Now you just buy a fuckin’ piece of software and now you’ve become a designer. — Art Chantry

I’m not sure I completely agree with Art’s quote but the graphic design business has definitely been changing.

Was any of my own work inspired by Art’s work? Probably — I can think of a poster project where my client wanted a more “grungy”, “edgy” look with torn paper and funky typography. Like designers before him, Art Chantry has and continues to influence graphic design. Read his book!

Art Chantry will be talking about his work this week at the Portland Design Week on Thursday, April 21, 2016. Show & Tell: Art Chantry would be a great chance to hear more from Art.

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