Chris Bigalke (US)

Chris Bigalke (US)

"Hi, Saw you do interviews with poster artists. I'm based in Portland, Oregon. Have a look at my work here if you're so inclined. Thanks, Chris". This is the kind of message I am not used to receive and, guess what ?, I would really like to receive more, just for the pleasure to discover new artists as Chris. Poster world is getting wider everyday....

Hello, of course as every Crewk interview, first question: what are we listening to when we come to visit you?

Giraffage and before that Ariel Pink's 'The Doldrums'.

Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?

The name they gave me is Chris Bigalke. I am a 32 year old male vehicle living in Portland, Oregon and work as a freelance graphic designer and music promoter / booker both under the moniker 'Showdeer'.

When did you start drawing?

Ever since I can remember. Then started painting with acrylics, oils, and gauche in my early 20s, and doing graphic design a few years ago.

Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?

Nope. Just continual sketching. I would do lots of observation drawings. Even just corners of junk in my room or furniture in my house growing up. Real boring stuff. Looks better in a sketch than in real life I suppose. Its fun to turn something mundane like a chair into an interesting sketch.

Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?

I pay rent and eat food by working as the program director for a local music venue in Portland called Rotture. I also do make some money from creating posters and from other design projects.

Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?

I am not.

Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?

Not in particular. I just make designs I like. For posters, I just imagine what kind of poster I would hang on my own wall and make it vibe with the artist I'm making it for. Music plays a big role.

What are the principal steps in your work?

With graphic design, I usually start with an old image free of copyright from the late 1800s or so and just start manipulating it. I just work with the image. I never know what the final product / design will look like. It feels a lot like the process when painting.

Do you do everything by hand or on computer?

90% of the graphic design work is on computer. Mainly photoshop.

How long does it take for you to do a poster?

I feel like it takes me way longer than it should. Again it feels like a painting. I could work on a painting for weeks or even months. I just work on it, walk away, get a fresh perspective, work on it again, and repeat that pattern until I feel it's done.

You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you to do an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it?

I'm up for anything. Although with most of my work, I have complete freedom and creative control. I am open to commissions. I feel my strengths are in graphic design and observation drawing. Oil painting is a continual challenge. I hope to get better at painting the older I get.

For which band have you already worked for?

A lot. Although generally contracted out through local venues.. How To Dress Well, Acid Mothers Temple, Castanets, Delicate Steve, The Hoot Hoots, Ganglians, High Places, Aan, Animal Eyes, And And And, Our Brother The Native, Loch Lomond ... Lots of local bands. Would love to branch out and do tour posters for national acts.

For which band would you love to work?

Too many. Ariel Pink, Grimes, Blood Diamonds, Gaunlet Hair, Balam Acab, Giraffage, Man Man, Animal Collective, Real Estate, Ducktails, etc., etc., etc.

Do you choose the artists yourself?

Sometimes. Usually local venues contact me for the design. Most know my taste in music and my style of design and hit me up with some pretty great shows.

What is the most difficult part in designing a poster?

This might seem trivial, but most venue bookers want HUGE font for the bands names as the main attention of the poster. I completely understand (as I book bands too) although I feel confident that most of my designs bring the attention and awareness to the poster and people are smart enough and interested enough to scan the poster for the details. It brings more of an element of surprise.. Like, 'Oh check on this cool design / poster!.. OMG look! It's for Animal Collective!' or whatever... Otherwise if the font is HUGE, the design is no longer about the design but the name/font.. Which technically it should be, but I think the art can speak to the viewer more and refreshes the idea of promoting an event rather than putting BIG FAT BIG BROTHER style text on a poster to get someone to come to a show. People aren't dumb. It's like a lame marketing scheme or advertising gimmick. Or maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else?

Maybe. I don't know. There are lots of graphic designers in town. I'm very independent with my work but would be down to do a group showing or something in that nature of being creative within a community organization.

A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we see your work , on the web or in real life?

Posters / graphic design -
Booking / promotion -

The best praise you received lately?

I hardly every go to strip clubs, but someone introduced me to the bartender as a 'master booker' and the next day a band posted on facebook that I was a 'graphics master'.  

What can we wish you for the future?

That I get the chance to do tour posters for bigger bands and design work for record labels. Pray for me. Thx

Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website !!

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