Above - a collage of work created by Cristian Campano
Over the years we have come to fully appreciate the amazing work that graphic artists do in the music industry. It is very interesting to learn that many musicians are also graphic artists and have sometimes played a vitally important role as to how their act or band is visually presented. Over the coming months we will be showcasing the work of graphic artists who are also musicians.
Today we introduce you to Cristian Campano who we first met as a member of indie rock band Food Court. Cristian continues his musical career as a member of electro duo FETES.
Cristian is also a very gifted and professional graphic artist and his clients include huge music festivals, touring Companies and artists. He has a background of working full time in the magazine industry including for Rolling Stone Australia. Just to keep himself busy he also now runs and promotes his own regular mini-fest in Port Macquarie called 'Hot Tropics'
We sat down with Cristian to have a chat about music and graphic art.
Lennox Groove - Hey Cristian, let us know a bit about your background in visual arts, how did you get your skills?
Cristian Campano - I was always into visual arts so I studied graphic design at TAFE for 2 years as I wanted to learn the programs to get straight into the work force. From there I started working in the magazine industry slowly working my way up through motorbike magazines then into Tracks Surfing Mag and Australian Skateboarding mag where I had full creative freedom. There I was able to get organic with my design, scanning in bits of paint, photocopies and found objects and incorporating them into the magazine pages which suited the artistic nature of the surf and skate industry.
LG - You obviously pour a lot of creative energy into your music as well. How do you balance those two different creative outlets?
CC - Well for me my graphic design has always been my full-time gig with music being my passion project rather than the other way around! But I try to only do music based design these days to make sure I’m still staying true to my love of music. There’s surprisingly a lot of work out there with touring companies which helps pay the bills.
LG - what is your typical process to get to the end result?
CC - I usually research the artist to see what style design they go for then listen to the artist and get a vibe then go from there to design whatever they need. Typography is always important to me. Trying to find a couple of fonts that complement each other nicely is always a challenge which I enjoy.
LG - It seems to us that many musicians who are also visual artists get a lot of experience doing their own band’s designs. Has that been your experience? What are some of the key designs or themes you came up with for your music projects and other bands in your circle?
CC - With the amazing history of album art, band logos and merch I think it’s important that when you’re listening to the music the design and art complements the audio and gives it a visual feel. So you remember the art when you listen to the band as it’s so integral to the overall project. With my bands Food Court and FETES I tried to always keep that in mind, especially with FETES I’ve had as much fun with the visual design for each track as I have with the music, if that makes sense!
LG Who have some of your other clients been? Have you got a few favorite creations? What are you working on now?
CC - My favourite job was working as the Art Director of Rolling Stone Mag. It was unreal to be working with so many Australian and International artists and bands and getting the chance to bring their feature articles and covers to life. My favourite piece was a Queens Of The Stone Age feature as the photos we had to use were amazing. It’s always easier when you have amazing photos to design with.
Lately I've been working a lot with Chugg Entertainment, Laneway and Unified which has been rad. Working on tours for Tame Impala, Mac De Marco, New Order, Client Liaison, CMC Country Music Festival, G-Flip, Lime Cordiale, K-Flay etc. Every creative piece is different so the variety keeps me on my toes and pushes me to explore all areas of art and design to keep my clients stoked.
LG - do you think graphic artists are valued enough in the music industry? How important are the visuals to presenting a band or artist, or an event?
CC - I think graphic artists are definitely valued in the music industry. I have been super lucky to score so many jobs and make a career out of it. I think it helps the more work you do and the more you reach out to people to build your business. The visuals are SO important for band or event. Think about your favourite album or festival of all time and I guarantee you'll remember the photo, illustration, colours and even the type used!
LG - where does your own inspiration come from with your visual arts, any particular artists that inspire you or influence you, inside and out the music industry?
My own inspo comes from keeping as relevant as possible by finding any new cool designs and art and compiling it. There's so much cool stuff out there. I love Jason Galea who does all the King Gizz stuff and Mike Giant is always super cool but that's more tattoo styles. Overall I think it's important to be closely connected to your typography. If you have a great photo and a great font your job is pretty much done!
LG - Thanks Cristian (pictured left).
Check out the LINKS BELOW to Cristian's business and his music projects.
Stay tuned for the next in this series from punk legend Kate of VOIID