Chad Kouri

Make sure you take the time to read this slightly witty interview with Chad, I particularly enjoyed it. He says he loves hand lettering and typography, and I would love to see more hand lettering in his collage work, because hand lettering and anything handmade has really made a comeback, hasn't it?

Chad Kouri (ichat: kouridesign),
Chicago, IL (City of the Big Shoulders)

Q: Describe your work in 10 words or less.
A: The things that dreams are made of... well, my dreams.

Q: What do you like to work with (magazines, photographs, vintage)? Be specific!
A: I really enjoy pulling images from vintage craft books. Like old knitting instruction manuals and such. The models in those books are amazingly hilarious. I also like old home decor books, anything with gaudy patterns, and kids books... especially the ones with the cardboard pages. Those rule.

Q: How long have you been creating collages and what made you start?
A: I have been doing collages casually for years. The thing that really made me develop a style and come to terms with it as an art form and not just something I did for myself was a color theory teacher I had in college. He pushed everyone in the class to explore color and composition in whatever medium we wanted. Once he saw my collage stuff he loved it. He made me start thinking about it as finished pieces rather than random explorations. Before then most of my teachers didn't consider it an art and that really pissed me off. I really wanted to prove them wrong but didn't really know how to. So that was a huge influence as well. I think people telling me I can't do something helps more than someone being totally supportive. I know... it's weird.

Q: Are you solely an artist, or do you work in another profession?
A: I just quit my 9-5 (hooray!!!!) as a graphic designer for a marketing company here in Chicago. I worked there on and off for 3 years and really learned a lot but it just wasn't for me. I still do a lot of freelance design work but I have been trying to push my illustration and collage work a lot more these days. I just enjoy it so much more. But graphic design and art direction projects pay the bills. As long as the project involves some form of creation I am all for it.

Q: Do you have any formal art training?
A: I moved to Chicago to go to art school for graphic design but didn't finish. The best training I get is from friends. I am extremely lucky to have some of the most talented people in the world around me at all times. I wouldn't trade it for anything... except maybe an endless supply of PEZ candy or like laser vision or something. That would rule.

Q: Explain your favourite techniques.
A: I keep most images I use intact. Just cuttin and pastin. I do like taking old pages from novels and blocking out most of the words so it reads completely differently. I don't use that extremely often in my work but it is fun. I also realllllly love hand lettering and typography. Good times.

Q: Describe your favourite piece ever created.
A: Okay... so it's one of the first pieces I did that was conceived and approached as a finished piece of art in the collage style. The canvas is an old golden rod colored envelope that I dripped coffee on to give it some texture. Then glued a piece of old wallpaper to the top that was cut out into a really graphic cloud shape. I stuck a few guitars out of the cloud so it looked like it was raining guitars and put a pinup girl form an old Camel Cigarette ad at the bottom. Till this day it is the piece that I get the most offers for but I have a really hard time letting it go. I don't think I ever will.

Q: What other artists do you admire?
A: As far as collage artists go, I really like Eduardo Recife, Mario Wagner and Jakob Printzlau to name a few. I have really gotten into found object installation stuff somewhat recently like Cody Hudson, Juan Chavez, and Ian Pedigo. As far as painters go, some of my favs at the moment are Maya Hayuk, Nick Butcher, and Ky Anderson. Illustrators... Luke Ramsey, Andy Rementer, Steven Harrington... I could go on forever.

Thanks Chad!

Notpaper is a blog dedicated to showcasing the work of international collage artists. We strive to meet the artists and understand the thoughts behind the process, so interviews with artists are a big part of what we do. If you are new to the site, please enjoy our archives featuring hundreds of collagists!   more 


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