Kris Andrew Small

A spotlight on Kris with 8 questions and our favourite pieces.

With reference to a uniquely Australian coastal upbringing, Kris Andrew Small connects the dots of his unlikely trajectory into a psychedelic constellation of work: lucid textural pieces, photo-based collages and kinetic type-based compositions that vibrate off the page with their own brand of hyperactivity.

In Small’s world, the saturated colours of a tropical adolescence float in defiance of the grid, kaleidoscopic patterns embody an overactive mindset, and explosive typography continues a long-standing tradition of radical protest art from the fringes of club world. It all serves to connect an energetic aesthetic with coded — perhaps hallucinatory — notes on modern identity.

Following a decade working as a designer and art-director for high-flying clients around the world, Small has since refocused his practice as a full time artist. He continues to work from his studio in Darlinghurst, Sydney and exhibits in solo shows around the world.

Do you remember the moment you knew you wanted to become a designer?

I think I just wanted to do something creative, I originally wanted to design cars or study film, which I did for a bit, but for some reasons I kept going back to design, or art really. I always had this need to make something & design kinda fulfilled that need. It’s funny though, I just saw that it has been 20 years since the Sydney olympics, i now realise how much of an effect that branding had on me as a kid, it was so fun & colourful & full of energy, I think deep down I was like, wow I wish I could have made that.

Did you go to design school? Do you think it was necessary to get to where you are today?

I did, I went to like a community college, it wasn’t amazing to be honest, but I learnt the basics, enough to to know what to do and to get a job. I think it was necessary for me at the time for sure & I still think study & education is one of the most important things, its also a huge privilege that not everyone gets and I’m very aware of that, but I do think there are some people that can make work without studying. The work I make nowadays has nothing to do with what I studied to be honest haha, that was basically like, here design a logo for the university cafe.

Who is your favorite designer right now?

I have so, so many, my favourite artist of all time is Keith Haring, my favourite art director is Jean Paul Goude, my favourite designer is probably Mirko Borsche.

What is your all time favorite font?

Futura… period…

What is your method of getting out of a designers block?

I think just make something… even if it’s not good or the right thing to do… just make anything, once I start making things I forget I had a block and I am ok. Also… I think its incredibly important to take breaks and allow your mind to focus on something else. I am totally a workaholic and art & design is my favourite thing, but I take some days to just go to the beach and literally be really unasthetic and not think about the world I live in normally. At the end of last year I was feeling really burnt out… I went to Nepal & I didn’t take my computer, I didn’t make anything for 2 weeks, super un like me, but it was totally what my brain needed, when I came back it was like an explosion.

Can you describe your ideal working environment?

Just in my studio… surrounded by all my things and work. On the flip side of that, I really like making work while I travel… I really miss being able to do that, when I make work in different places I get an energy or a spontaneity in my work that is hard to capture when I have a routine or are to often in the same place.

Some of our Favorites

What advice would you have given yourself 3 years ago?

Just keep going and doing your thing… it will pay off eventually. Don’t pay attention to everyone else, stay in your lane and make work that comes naturally to you.

What is the greatest challenge you have faced in your career so far? How did you overcome it?

I think just finding the confidence to have my own style and embrace it, I think I used to look at all these other artists and wished my work looked like them. I didn’t have much confidence in my work at the time, however something with in my switched at one point, I dunno maybe I just finally found my style or was fed up with trying to make things that I thought people would like and just started making things that I liked. It was an incredibly liberating feeling and a value I hold on to really strongly.

Want more info on Kris?

Check out his Instagram,  his personal website, or have a look at his Behance.

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Violaine & Jeremy
Type Foundry

They design fonts like they would design everything else: with their own artistic gesture and sensibility.

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