Art Chantry's Anti-Art

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Art Chantry, the celebrated Seattle graphic designer with the impeccably low-tech grunge and punk pedigree, has a cool new large-format paperback out from Chronicle Books. Some People Can't Surf: The Graphic Design of Art Chantry, is written by Julie Lasky and designed by Chantry himself. A very hands-on project, no doubt, because Chantry is not a computer-friendly guy. "For graphics, [computers] really can't do what I like," he says. "His tools are the printing press and the photocopier," Lasky writes. "His results would be nearly impossible to achieve with more sophisticated technology, for he aims to reproduce the look of erosion and haphazardness . . . For Chantry, graphic design is a folk art whose best practitioners are often anonymous and whose best examples may be deceptively rough or naive."

"It's individuals striving against really oppressive odds who make graphics interesting, not guys in universities," Chantry believes. Amid the visual din of album art, concert posters, and covers for music mag The Rocket, little of Chantry's ad work appears, because "nobody gives a damn about it," he says. On an equally sour note, Chantry has abandoned his hometown. "Everything I loved about Seattle is gone," he laments. "It sucks now, it's so sad." He's moved to, get this, St. Louis. "It's a very strange city," he says encouragingly.

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