Businesses large and small have embraced big color full force. Commercial Artist, Chuck Anderson, is a Photographer and Digital Artist. He has been a unique resource for many businesses since 2004, breaking the rules and becoming a design phenomenon. In more recent years, you might have seen Chuck appear in interviews as the Windows 7 brand designer for Microsoft.
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'humanlike' - on Npandco.com
"I don't honestly think I ever actually decided to become a designer. I've just always been an artist - since I was a child. It's always been a part of me to create things." - interview from mocoloco.com
What I've learned about Chuck is that he's just a regular guy and he was a regular kid (starting at 17) with a strong passion for creating, using color to the max and experimenting outside the box. Many interviews ask him how he got where he's at and he would answer that he still doesn't really know. From what I can see, hard work, being unique and obviously having a super cool personality has taken him a long way. We've pulled together some questions for Chuck that might help you, as an aspiring or even seasoned creative find inspiration and resources from. Enjoy!
COLOURlovers: At the age of 17 you defined your image as NO PATTERN to give yourself some flexibility in who you were as an artist and what type of work you did. You are currently known for your freeness of style and expressive work with photography, light and color - do you still consider yourself as undefined as you were when you were 17 or 18?
NoPattern / Chuck: Yes and no. On one hand it's clear I've developed a distinctive style that I've come to be most recognized and hired for. I don't deny that, but I don't think it's in any way a bad thing. When I was just starting out at 17, 18 years old, I was so raw and completely still finding what it was I was going to be most drawn to, which meant a lot more in the way of experimenting. Now that I've hit a sort of groove and found what it is I'm generally best at, I just do my best to continually evolve that style and continue to develop it. However, the name NoPattern, at it's core, is the idea of always being in flux, never staying exactly the same and continuing to grow. I think that's something that I try to hold to in every project I do.
'GODLIKE' on Npandco.com
COLOURlovers: Your photo-manipulated pieces all seem to carry similar patterns of color usage (blue, green yellow, red and magenta-purple), would you say that is a signature mark in your work?
NoPattern / Chuck: In a way it is, but it's never been my intention to become known by a certain color palette. I just enjoy using unexpected colors and strong contrast between elements in a piece. I really just do what looks best as I work - 99% of what I create is decided on the fly, not planned out ahead of time.
COLOURlovers: Being self-taught, you probably have a fairly expansive artistic library. What books stand out to you for major inspiration, direction or have been helpful for you in your career?
NoPattern / Chuck: Love this question because I love art & design books and love talking about them. A few of my absolute favorites include 'Sonic: Visuals for Music', 'Supersonic: Visuals for Music', 'Vitamin P: New Perspectives in Painting', 'Vitamin D: New Perspectives in Drawing', 'Fashion Unfolding', 'Maharishi DPM: Disruptive Pattern Material', any and all Ed Ruscha, KAWS, and David Shrigley books, 'Lord of the Logos - Christophe Szpajdel', 'Annie Leibovitz - A Photographer's Life', 'Grotesk 1999-2009', 'Bohemian Modern - Living in Silver Lake'. Those are just a few that have been super, super inspirational to me over the years. There's plenty more but those are a few standouts.
'anarchrysanthemum' - on Npandco.com
COLOURlovers: What websites would you recommend as a MUST for designers (what are your favorites)?
NoPattern / Chuck:
- • mrporter.com - the best designed content & site out there right now in my opinion
- •ffffound.com - for finding & tracking eye candy and inspiration
- •booooooom.com - with 7 "o's" - Jeff does a great job curating content and picking awesome illustration & art to feature
- •supersonicelectronic.com - another great blog with great taste
- •abduzeedo.com - Fabio started something really special with this. very helpful to young designers, great resource & place to learn
COLOURlovers: You’ve never taken any official Color Theory classes in your life. Do you think that by having COLOURlovers around when you were a kid, starting out, would have helped a lot with learning and playing around with color usage?
NoPattern / Chuck: Absolutely! I love looking through crazy, left field, classic, unique, interesting color palettes. People come up with some really fascinating things and there's really no limit to how you can blend and combine colors. I love it and think it will be super helpful to upcoming designers.
'NOPATTERN' Book on Npandco.com
COLOURlovers: Do you think it is easier for designers starting out to get their work noticed than when you were starting out in 2003? Do you think the avenues to opportunities have changed?
NoPattern / Chuck: It's absolutely categorically different now than when I started in 2003. In 2003 there was no Twitter, no Facebook, no image blogs or Tumblrs to get caught up in. It was way more focused to a handful of design news sites like DesignIsKinky, LinkdUp, K10K, Newstoday, etc. You had just a small handful of very focused sites concentrating on what was going on. Now there's just an endless world of blogs/Tumblrs/Twitter feeds/etc and I feel like it's a bit more crowded & saturated now. Things just move way faster on the internet now than they did back then. So in a way there are more avenues than ever before to get your work out but there are 1000x more players in the game, if you will. Meaning more people, more websites, more critics, and generally more access. I had to work super hard to get my work out in 2003 for sure but I'm glad I got my foot in the door back then rather than now, to be honest.
COLOURlovers: You seem like the type of guy with a cool playlist. Many of your print pieces express a lot of movement. If you could add a song or playlist to some of these what would it be?
NoPattern / Chuck: I'm not sure my answer to this would make a whole lot of sense. Most of my work looks like it should be paired with some electronic/techno/rave/DJ vibe and I'm really not into that kind of stuff much at all. Ha. When I made the 'Dark Light I' piece I was listening to a lot of Baroness, Trap Them, and Ghost, which is all pretty heavy hardcore/metal stuff and it just really got me thinking 'skulls/evil/metal' more than usual, ha.
Perhaps for the piece 'Lights For Drowning' I'd think of 'Balabaristas' by Tristeza...
...and for something like 'Heavenlike' I would think of 'Pachuca Sunrise' by Minus The Bear.
COLOURlovers: A lot of your designs are applied and sold on products in a wide spectrum. You’ve recently re-designed your own online store which has been online for six years - NP&CO (npandco.com). What type of stuff will we be seeing, aside from your books and the awesome prints?
NoPattern / Chuck: I've sold books and prints and at one point t-shirts, and have more t-shirts coming up soon. But those things are the main focus. I really hope to expand this later this year and next year, but client projects tend to take priority over personal projects these days.
COLOURlovers: At COLOURlovers we get to play with naming things and giving funky or meaningful titles to our creations which can completely change the feeling you get when you are simply looking at a color palette, pattern or color swatch. While cruising through NP&CO.com, I was reflecting on the names you use for your pieces - Do you usually have a title for a print piece before you start creating it?
NoPattern / Chuck: Great question. Actually no, naming a piece is almost always the hardest part for me and something I always do when I'm finished with it. I like to sit back and look at a piece and usually the right title just comes to me. But I love the idea of coming up with a title and creating something inspired by that. Just the reverse of what I typically do, could be a fun little challenge to give myself. So, thanks for the idea! :)
COLOURlovers: It’s awesome how involved you are with different charities around the Globe. How do you apply what you do as a designer to your charity work/contributions?
NoPattern / Chuck: I always try to donate a portion of sales from my online store to charity. I really see no reason NOT to do this. I am extremely blessed and fortunate in this life. My main income is from client projects so it's quite easy to justify setting aside a portion of my personal work's profit to give to charity. That's a pretty specific way I've tried to contribute over the years. I also realize I have a fairly large platform to share information, ideas, and news via my Twitter, Facebook, NoPattern.com, my mailing list, Tumblr, and other avenues. I think once you gain a decent following and have an audience who care about what you have to say, you should use it wisely. So sharing what I'm doing, sharing what other designers or creative
Photo from Computer Arts Interview
One of my favorite interviews Chuck has done was with Computer Arts. In this, Chuck talks about starting out and if I had read that at 15 or 16 years old I would have been so inspired that, yes, you CAN do it at whatever age or whatever situation you're in. He wasn't given his career on a silver platter - he was a broke kid wanting to create and he certainly worked hard for it... and hey guess what? It worked! My favorite part of this interview just goes to show that it can take a little determination:
CA: Have you always been your own boss?
CAN: I graduated from high school in 2003, and had started NoPattern when I was in high school, at about the age of 17. It was just a place for my personal work. When I graduated I had a couple of odd jobs locally but eventually I quit those – I was getting more and more freelance work. I never ended up getting hired anywhere. I’ve never worked in a creative office with anyone else; I’ve had to teach myself everything about business.
CA: How did you get your first break?
CAN: I would spend tons of time in book stores looking at old magazines. I was about 18. I would see illustrations and designs and they would have a credit for the artist, and I thought that looked like an interesting way to work.
So I’d look up the art director’s name, then I’d go home and email them and introduce myself. If I couldn’t find an email address I’d just make up 15 different combinations of email address based on their name and hope that I got 14 error messages back. That’s how I got work with ESPN. I just threw it out there, guessed the guy’s email and got it.
Thanks for the great words of wisdom and super-inspiration Chuck! If you'd like to learn even more about Chuck, visit his ABOUT page on nopattern.com. He's got a great list of links out to interviews, charities he's involved with, a partial client list and friends in the business. But if you'd like to see his fantastic print work and books, visit npandco.com.