Chuck Anderson is a cautionary tale. Heâ€™s one of those dangerous people who make life look easy. Graduate high school, start a website exhibiting your art, accumulate a client roster of brand superpowers and sit pretty. Why not? He did it. But hereâ€™s the â€œdonâ€™t try this at homeâ€ part. The guy is a super-talent who possesses that coveted combination of genuine creativity and business savvy.
â€œI think the name [NoPattern] says a lot about working in different mediums and different styles. It has come to encompass everything I do.â€
Format: How did you come up with the name NoPattern?
Chuck: I was pressured to come up with something for my website back in high school, five or six years ago. There was no intention of it being my company name or a moniker. I just needed a name. I wrote down a list of different names and then narrowed them down. I was also kind of inspired by this movie Pi. It kind of went over my head, but I was still fascinated by it. There was a lot about patterns and stuff like that. So it kind of derived from that.
Format: So it actually had nothing to do with your art?
Chuck: Itâ€™s funny, because it has come to have everything to do with it, but it didnâ€™t when I started. I picked a name that would kind of allow me, if I decided to do this as a profession, to keep my options open. I think the name says a lot about working in different mediums and different styles. It has come to encompass everything I do.
Format: Was it a conscious decision to forgo any kind of formal education in graphic design?
Chuck: It was a conscious decision. I did intend to go eventually, but after high school I didnâ€™t really feel that passionate about it and it wasnâ€™t pushed on me by my family. I decided not to go and then things kind of snowballed. One thing led to another and I ended up meeting a lot of people I learned al of things from but not in a formal setting.
Format: At 22-years-old youâ€™ve worked with some of the biggest brands in the world. How did that ball get rolling?
Chuck: I worked at a bookstore after high school and then a screen printer that did really hokey construction company or cheerleading things. Nothing interesting, but I wanted a job where I could learn something artistic and creative. I didnâ€™t care what. At the same time I had my website that I was kind of just doing as a side thing. I had personal artwork up and I was trying to get involved in the design community online. I started trying to permeate my work into those sites and get my stuff out there. I started getting some attention and some links and e-mails from people who were interested. As far as getting clients, I would e-mail and introduce myself to any agency and company whose e-mail I could get my hands on. I did tons of self-promoting. I pretty much built my livelihood out of promoting my work. I mean, I was 18 and living with my parents so it was like, alright Iâ€™m not going to college, Iâ€™m not stupid I know Iâ€™m kind of up against a wall without a degree or experience so if Iâ€™m going to do anything with art in my life Iâ€™m probably going to have to the footwork. That kind of kicked me into shape about doing all this kind of stuff.
Format: You make it sound easy?
Chuck: Iâ€™ve had people say that before. I donâ€™t know maybe it just came easy for me, but I felt confident enough in my work that I could just e-mail somebody. Itâ€™s not like I had to meet them face to face or make an awkward cold call. Why not just shoot them an e-mail? If they donâ€™t like it they donâ€™t have to write back. Worse that can happen is they say no.
Format: As an artist do you have any qualms about working with such commercial brands?
Chuck: There are only so many true purists in the design and art world. At some point you have to pay the bills and make money. Iâ€™m not strictly a fine artist so at the moment Iâ€™m not living of the sales of just my artwork like some artists can. I went through my little rebellious phase in high school where I thought Iâ€™ll never work for a McDonalds-like corporation â€“ then I did and it turns out they pay well. I definitely have standards that I set for myself. Iâ€™ve decided I wonâ€™t do work in the porno or cigarette industries, other than that, itâ€™s fair game.
Format: How does your commercial work compare to your personal work?
Chuck: Personal work is very much about experimenting, trying new things and messing around in ways that some client projects donâ€™t allow. With a big client project thereâ€™s always room for experimenting, being unique and doing something new but theyâ€™re coming to you because theyâ€™ve seen what youâ€™ve already done so thatâ€™s the direction they want you to go most of the time. Thatâ€™s the difference but, and itâ€™s probably good luck on my part, Iâ€™ve rarely had a client project where Iâ€™ve felt tied down or forced to do something thatâ€™s not very natural for me.
Format: Do you prefer one to the other?
Chuck: I go through waves. Whatâ€™s nice about client work is that having someone telling me what to do keeps me within a border. Thereâ€™s not much pressure to come up with something. Whereas when I do personal work there is pressure to come up with something new but still retain what youâ€™re known for.
Format: Any major influences?
Chuck: I get asked that question a lot and I always wish I had a better answer. Looking back over the years I can see that Iâ€™ve always been drawn to using very vibrant colors and dark contrast between darks and lights. Iâ€™m not someone that keeps things subtle. I never get hired to do subtle and calm. Itâ€™s always bold and exciting. Today, there are tons of different artist that I love, not one particular person that I could say makes me do what I do.