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Art Chantry (born 1954)
Kustom Kulture, 1994
serigraph
85.7 x 56.8 cm (33 1/2 x 22 3/8 in.)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, gift of the artist

Like many of the poster designers in this exhibition, Chantry has been recognized for his brash, hard-edged approach—applied in his case to Seattle rock music groups. "I began," he said, "because the punk style was like what I was doing in my own way." He considers himself a "folk artist for a merchant/technical culture."

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Biography of Art Chantry

Art Chantry has been making posters since he was fifteen. Among his influences are many forms of "outsider art," such as monster magazines, hot-rod art, and psychedelic culture. He found much inspiration for innovative graphic ideas in an article on Polish posters.

Chantry's sense of design relates to the punk scene in Seattle as he finds himself, with the avant-garde, creating posters for local rock concerts. Chantry has championed what he considers to be the "subculture" of design, a neglected commercial usage of the industrial trade seen in the tool catalogs of the 1940s and 50s.

Born in Seattle and raised in Tacoma, Chantry received what he describes as "a very potent taste of what it's like to be poor in a single-parent family." Chantry attended college in Bellingham, Washington. He graduated with a degree in painting but turned to the graphic work that had been his livelihood through his school years. In a curious way, Chantry's ability to look for and reinvent the out-of-fashion, the purposely outside the mainstream international style, has resulted in his being selected for many exhibition and design magazines. Even with the recognition of his peers, he chooses to remain an outsider, often rejecting work with commercial corporate clients for commissions that allow him to remain on the fringe. As he is now the art director of an alternative Seattle paper, he has the advantage of economic stability with the luxury of working only on projects that interest him.

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