Featured Designer

Kris Andrew Small

August 2018

We recently had a chat with Designer / Photographer Kris Andrew Small about balancing design and photography, his love of The Keith Haring Journals (so much so he carries it around with him just in case of emergencies), and his scary but exciting 2km ocean swim coming up soon!

What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?

When I was really young I was super into Cars, I really wanted to be a Car Designer, but I just wanted to draw them and let someone else figure out all the tricky bits… like engines and brakes and things. When I was a little older I went to see a careers councillor at school, he told me if that’s what I wanted to do, I should study physics & chemistry. I was so not into that, so I enrolled in art & film instead. At the same time I got really into artists like Jonathan Zawada, Kris Moyes and Kaws. That to me seemed like work I could relate to and what I wanted to make, left my dreams of designing BMWs behind, worked out better anyway.

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

Hi! My name is Kris Andrew Small, I spend half my time as a Freelance Designer and the other half as an Artist and Photographer. One pays the bills… one doesn’t really, but they both keep me pretty busy and pretty happy. I make most of my work digitally apart from my pictures which I take on 35mm film before collaging them. I live in Sydney right now, If I’m not strapped to my iMac I'm most likely on the beach, even in winter.

What are your three must-read design books/blogs/podcasts and why?

Ok I just have one, but its good enough to be all 3, The Keith Haring Journals. His outlook on life, on art, and how people consume it and relate to it is incredible. Also, he’s a gay icon, that goes without saying… his freeness around his sexuality and how comfortable he was with it, even back in the 80s with everything that was happening then with aids. The first time I read it, I felt like it was a huge support to me when I was a bit younger and unsure of myself in that respect. I think I’ve read it 30 times.. I just carry it around with me even if I’m not reading it, just In case of emergencies, you never know.

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It’s good to have influences, but at the end of the day, it has to come from you and it has to be your voice.

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How did you develop your style as an illustrator and what tips would you have for others?

I made soooo many things, so so many things (still do), until something made sense for me, and that I felt confident putting out there, without caring if people liked it or not, weirdly that is when people started to relate to it. When friends and people I cared about, started wanting to buy work, that was a huuuuge ego boost and made me think I was maybe on to something. I think its best to just do what comes naturally, but also give yourself the time to let that happen. It’s good to have influences, but at the end of the day, it has to come from you and it has to be your voice.

What advice would you give students starting out?

Do what you want, don’t just do what you think you should do, in saying that, be smart, work hard and own your work. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself and your work. Don’t undersell yourself, believe in what you do and be proud of it, people will respect you for that. Also, and this is almost as important as the work itself, be nice to people, that will get you so, so far.

What is the design landscape like on your city and where do you fit in?

I live in Sydney, which for me, is great, I mean the weather is good and I live near the beach. Say no more. I think it's big enough to be relevant and have cool stuff going on, but small enough to have a community that knows one another. It's pretty supportive, people just want others to do well and it's not super intimidating.

What's on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?

Atm I’m working towards my first exhibition, which is super exciting! No details just yet, but it's coming. I’m working on a bunch of the 35mm film collages/potraits, which I want to make way more frequent, it's really such a good way to meet fun people around me and when travelling. I’ve got a lot of trips coming up which is super exciting, off to Europe, Sri Lanka Japan & Finally Korea to see one of my best friends exhibitions. Oh I’m also training to do a 2km ocean swim, bit scary but exciting. Maybe check in with me in 12 months to see if I make it!

Website: krisandrewsmall.com

Instagram: @krisandrewsmall

Twitter: once trump became a thing I left

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