Kris Andrew Small discusses manifestation and the importance of putting yourself out there

Closing this month’s Nicer Tuesdays event was graphic designer-stroke-artist Kris Andrew Small, a polymath of sorts and someone who defines himself this way because, apparently, he’s “technically the worst designer in the world”, he jested on stage. We disagreed, and so did the audience as they gawked joyfully at the vibrant work displayed on the big screen. Alongside wit, charm and many anecdotes, Kris discussed his route into the industry – which surprisingly started off in advertising. Despite the slight detour, he explained how it was an experience that gave him the knowledge to make his work “accessible” for a wider audience.
From posters to campaigns for the likes of Reebok and Gay Times, Kris presented his broad yet vibrant portfolio and explained how, most imperatively, it’s taken lots of hard work to get where he is today. “A lot of the time with creatives, we see the end thing and we’re like, ‘wow that’s amazing, they got there really fast’. We rarely see the 10-year journey that it takes,” he shared. Another key pillar to his work is typography, his “favourite” aspect that encompasses his ethos as a designer – one that involves finding meaning in his output. “I have a lot of things to say and it’s really easy with typography. I see it as a bunch of shapes you have to arrange on a page, I don’t see it as letters,” he explained. “A lot of the time I get in trouble about things not being very legible, and I think there’s beauty in something not being instantly recognisable. It’s nice when someone has to look a little bit deeper and try to read your work, as opposed to quickly flicking through it.” And finally, Kris raised the importance of the concept of manifestation. “A lot of the time we sit back and wait for things to come to us, and I think it’s really important to put yourself and your work out there.”

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