Art Chantry
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Art Chantry


Art Chantry: The Iconoclast of Graphic Design

Art Chantry

Art Chantry is a name that resonates with graphic designers and art enthusiasts alike. Known for his unconventional approach and rebellious spirit, Chantry has left an indelible mark on the world of graphic design. His work challenges the norms and pushes the boundaries of what is considered acceptable in the industry. In this article, we will delve into the life and work of Art Chantry, exploring his unique style, his impact on the field, and the lessons we can learn from his unapologetic approach.

The Early Years

Art Chantry was born in Seattle, Washington in 1954. Growing up in a city known for its vibrant music scene, Chantry was heavily influenced by the counterculture movement of the 1960s and 70s. This influence would later manifest in his work, as he became known for his gritty, DIY aesthetic.

Chantry’s interest in graphic design was sparked during his time at Washington State University, where he studied under the renowned designer Leonard Everett Fisher. Fisher’s emphasis on experimentation and pushing the boundaries of design had a profound impact on Chantry, shaping his approach to the craft.

The Unconventional Style

One of the defining characteristics of Art Chantry’s work is his rejection of the sleek and polished aesthetic that dominated the graphic design industry at the time. Instead, Chantry embraced a raw and gritty style, drawing inspiration from punk rock flyers, vintage advertisements, and other ephemera.

Chantry’s designs often feature hand-drawn elements, collage, and distressed textures. He embraces imperfections and celebrates the beauty in the unconventional. His work is characterized by its boldness, its ability to grab attention, and its refusal to conform to traditional design standards.

One notable example of Chantry’s unconventional style is his work for the band Nirvana. Chantry designed the cover art for their album “Incesticide,” which features a collage of disturbing images and hand-drawn typography. The design perfectly captures the raw energy and rebellious spirit of the band, making it an iconic piece of album art.

The Impact on the Field

Art Chantry’s unorthodox approach to graphic design has had a profound impact on the field. His work challenged the prevailing notion that design should be clean, polished, and devoid of imperfections. Instead, Chantry showed that design could be messy, chaotic, and still communicate effectively.

Chantry’s influence can be seen in the work of countless designers who have been inspired by his rebellious spirit. His DIY aesthetic has become a staple in the world of indie music, underground art, and alternative culture. His work has also been exhibited in prestigious museums and galleries around the world, further solidifying his status as a pioneer of graphic design.

The Lessons We Can Learn

Art Chantry’s career offers valuable insights and lessons for aspiring graphic designers:

  • Embrace experimentation: Chantry’s willingness to push the boundaries of design and experiment with unconventional techniques is a reminder that innovation often comes from stepping outside of our comfort zones.
  • Challenge the status quo: Chantry’s rejection of the prevailing design standards serves as a reminder that it’s important to question established norms and find your own unique voice.
  • Embrace imperfections: Chantry’s celebration of imperfections reminds us that beauty can be found in the unconventional and that perfection is not always necessary for effective communication.
  • Stay true to your vision: Chantry’s refusal to compromise his artistic vision is a testament to the importance of staying true to yourself and your creative instincts.


Art Chantry’s impact on the world of graphic design cannot be overstated. His rebellious spirit, unconventional style, and refusal to conform have made him a true iconoclast in the field. Chantry’s work serves as a reminder that design is not just about aesthetics, but also about pushing boundaries, challenging norms, and communicating effectively. Aspiring designers can learn valuable lessons from Chantry’s career, embracing experimentation, challenging the status quo, and staying true to their vision. Art Chantry’s legacy will continue to inspire and influence generations of designers to come.

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