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Chris Bigg: I Always See Music in Colors

By Published: March 19, 2013
AAJ: While you are in the process of creating your designs, what are some of the rules you always follow to maximize results?

CB: I always strive to surprise myself, keep it interesting. Of course, I have an approach, but I work hard at finding subtle new directions, and I really enjoy typographic detail and mark making.

AAJ: Of your book and album covers, posters, press ads, etc what are some of the personal highlights in your career?

CB: David Sylvian's Trophies 2 (Opium Arts, 1999) has a strange, but timeless mood. The limited edition of Manafon (SamadhiSound, 2010) is special. I really enjoy the typography and image relationship of both Jan Bang's ...and Poppies from Kandahar (SamadhiSound, 2009) and Akira Rabelais' release. When it comes to 4AD, the works for Belly, The Wolfgang Press, Gus Gus, Lush, Johann Johannsson, The Mountain Goats, Red House Painters and Atlas Sound are all projects I am proud of. Apart from 4AD, projects like Silent Sound, The Victoria and Albert Museum's Diaghilev, The Museum of London's Doctors Dissection and Resurrection Men On-U Sound, Eardrum, and Blacksand.

AAJ: As a lecturer at Southampton and Brighton Universities. what advice do you give to students trying to get into graphic design now?

CB: Experiment, experiment, experiment; you have three years. It's not a long time, look at the history of design and all aspects of the creative arts. Be inspired by art outside of graphic design. Don't be scared to make mistakes. I have learned that often the mistakes are the best part. Have the courage to let the accident in and, of course, you need to be experienced in all the recent software available, but I do try to get off the computer whenever possible. You have to take an idea to the computer. Too many students waste time blankly looking at a computer screen expecting ideas to mysteriously appear as if by magic.

AAJ: What encouragement or advice do you have for other artists who wish to explore a completely different side of their creativity but are afraid to do so for fear of criticism or being misunderstood?

CB: I would always encourage someone to experiment and explore other avenues, even if not successful there would be lessons learned that might inform new direction in their work.

AAJ: What projects have you worked recently and what are you working on at the moment?

CB: I am almost complete on 400-page book by David Sylvian with complete lyrics, poems and written essays. It's taken a year to get into this, but its well on the way and looking and feeling fantastic. I have also put the finishing touches to a project for Nico Muhly on the Bedroom Community label, and working with the photographer Luîs Filipe Cunha as I did on the recent Erik Honoré album. There are two new releases for SamadhiSound: Wandermüde (2012), by Stephan Mathieu and David Sylvian, and Amplified Gestures an expanded version of the film we made for the Manafon limited edition.

Selected Discography

Erik Honore and Greta Aagre, Year of the Bullet (Jazzland Recordings, 2012)
David Sylvian, Died in The Wool—Manafon Variations (SamadhiSound, 2011)
David Sylvian, Manafon (SamadhiSound, 2010)
Nine Horses, Snow Borne Sorrow (SamadhiSound, 2005)
David Sylvian, The Good Son vs. The Only Daughter (SamadhiSound, 2005)

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