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Interview with Jared Connor of Chocolate Design

Juxtapoz // Saturday, 18 Jul 2009



“I caught up with Jared at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, where he manned his own booth in conjunction with the American Poster Institute. We talked semantics, collaboration projects, and making sick concert posters for the countries' top bands.”


Evan La Ruffa: What's the process of creating your art?
Jared Connor: Some of it is sketched out, scanned in, a lot of its old clip art and ornaments from the 17 and 18 hundreds. Then I use the web for some stuff, but I have a lot of shit saved already, that I pull from to make what I want...
So you're always compiling images?
Yea, pretty much, I've got folders full of shit to fall back on. If I want a bird, if I want a wing, I can look through it and see what works.
Do you organize it mad specifically?
Nah, I'm pretty bad at it dude, I've got 3 scan folders with different shit in it.
So one of the things I have always picked up on in your work, is that things feed into themselves, and so my eye kinda travels around, and after a while I've looked at the whole thing... has that always been your tendency?
I just kinda fuck with shit til it looks right, ya know? I mean, I'm a mad freak about the symmetry... I have a guide, and I stick everything to that center point, it's nerdy. There might be something I don't see right away, and a year later, i'll be like, ahh fuck. But (as far as the images) I like it to be fucked up, I want it to be fucked up... if its fucked up lookin to me, then I think it's good to go. I dont have to push it too much... the collage stuff has become prevalent, but, it's fun to do man... and it can look badass (laughs). I like doing the other photo-based stuff too, but it's about 60/40...
As far as?
As far as liking one or the other, I kinda wish I didnt have to do a symetrical collage every time, but when people ask for my shit, that's kinda what they want.
It's definitely a staple.
So you've been doing posters for bands for a while now, how did that start, did you have to offer your work or did the bands approach you?
It's a little of both, but a lot of it is still about the venue, they get you to do stuff... the venue wants posters, so they'll order a certain amount that they can use for promotion, some to shmooze people with, and then they give the band a good amount.
You've done collaboration posters also, I just wanted to get an idea about how that works, I know you've done stuff with guys like Tyler Stout, Alan Forbes, and Jermaine Rogers...
I like to, ya know, fuckin' clip art... and im not a very good artist, technically, so it's cool if I can get badass illustrations from dudes and share the wealth a little bit... usually I'll ask them for a main image and then 5 or 6 auxiliary things that I can either manipulate or just use outright.
So you have an idea of the image ahead of time, or...
Not always... sometimes I just say, dude, if ya wanna collaborate on this, send me some stuff and we'll do it...
You've told me about bands giving you conceptual guidance for posters, how do you work that?

I'll ask sometimes... some bands you kinda know whats up. If High on Fire ask me to do something, I know what to do... but ya know, some shit that maybe I'm not that into, I'll ask them if they have an idea as far as images, cuz it does help me out, instead of searching through all my shit, (laughs) ...
Do you prefer doing the concert posters or just regular art prints....
I like doing art prints, but because I'm so busy, it's hard to do that, so sometimes I'll just take off the type from a poster, and release it that way.
Have you always printed with Lonestar Posters?
John used to be a wholesaler dude, and he sells on Ebay and has for a long time... but he started his own thing, Lonestar Posters. He's a super cool guy, he's been awesome....he's the kinda guy that'll let you print something up on the side if you're doin' something for him... he's a good dude, I've known him for a good 8 years.
It's gotta be nice to have that resolved, definitely a good connection to have...
Yea, and sometimes I use D and L out of Seattle... but it's nice to have good people. especially when i need a poster, like, 3 days from now, its good to know they'll be there...
So what posters did you do for Bonnaroo?
They asked me to do the Nine Inch Nails poster, but NIN declined... I was stoked on that, but it woulda been weird since I do stuff for The Mars Volta. But when NIN declined, it was all good, and I did the Volta poster...
So the American Poster Institute is here at Bonnaroo supporting the artists, it feels that this art community, and even amongst collectors, is very friendly. Everyone is faciliating for each other all over the place...
Yea man, because of shows like this, we do Flatstock, SXSW, and Pitchfork in Chicago, it's great exposure... but ya know, the API, because of them, we're here. They deal with all the insurance shit... it would be maaaaad expensive otherwise. We got a discounted booth and festivals like this help the community a lot.
What ya got for the rest of '09 man?
Well I made some pretty good contacts here, don't wanna jinx anything......hopefully I'll do a poster per show for The Mars Volta, if I can swing it, that's definitely what I'd like to do, they're a very good client....



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