The co-founder of The Post Family, a Chicago-based Art & Design Collective, speaks with us about his creative process and where he finds inspiration.
On the morning of August 24th, PSFK will host a special event designed to Fuel Imagination with the support of Syfy. There will be a number of inspirational talks by key creative minds and a panel discussion about trends and ideas in Chicago and beyond.
Get tickets here: PSFK SALON CHICAGO
One of our speakers will be Chad Kouri, co-founder of The Post Family, a Chicago-based Art & Design Collective, Blog, Gallery, Store and Website. Chad will discuss how The Post Family continues to innovate its creative output, with a special focus on its most recent collaboration with Craig Newmark. In advance of the talk, we asked him to explain his creative process:
Can you give us a little background as to how you got started with The Post Family and what your initial inspirations were?
The Post Family evolution is a story that has seven different versions, but I will do my best to give some perspective. Generally we started out as six creative-types in mostly corporate environments that wanted a place to let lose a little and get back to creating with our hands. I think it was also a desire to get back to a university/studio atmosphere where people come to work, share ideas and have a little fun with each other until the wee hours of the night. Only at our studio we can be a little more candid and drink a 6er (or a couple forties depending on the financial situation). Personally I have learned so much more from my peers than my formal training so it made sense to have a space that made that learning easier. Our seventh member came in a couple months after we got a studio and started a website.
How has The Post Family evolved thus far? Has it taken different turns than originally intended?
The site started as just a place to sell the things we were creating in the studio (screen prints, letterpress, photos, zine, etc.) but because of an existing option to have a blog on the e-commerce site we decided to use, we developed that as well. We figured the blog would give people a reason to come back more often and we could sneak in our new products as needed. Three years later we come up for air and realize that we have a space three times as big as our original one. The new space includes a printmaking studio / general workspace and the gallery (which is a direct extension of our blog). We were actually voted as the best art and design blog in the city last year by Chicago magazine. So, long story short, we moved from a make-and-learn-stuff space to a check-out-our-friends-that-make-stuff-and-other-things-that-inspire-us space. We totally love it but we need to get back to our original mission of creating things and learning. We are working to make some changes to that next year, like cutting our gallery event schedule to four a year rather than the ten or so we have now. This will give us more time to create in the space rather than installing and uninstalling shows every few weeks. We have shows booked through November so it will be baby steps until then.
Do you feel you’re spending more time helping friends than working on your own stuff?
Honestly, helping other people is an essential part of what I do and doesn’t get in the way of my own work. I love curating shows, connecting people, and networking in general. It’s like a sick drug. I love solid, real-ass people! Seeing the process of really great people rockin’ out, making cool shit and just loving life is more inspiring to me than anything else. But I couldn’t do just that or just make art alone. I need both to balance each other so I don’t get strung out on either of them.
So where are you finding creative inspiration these days?
Because of my recent trip to San Fran and moving my home for the first time in 4 years, I’m inspired to do nothing but keep up on emails! Haha. Usually I get a lot of inspiration from more ephemeral items that don’t really get their time in the limelight. I think I use material like that because I spent so many years creating things that were screaming for attention (advertising and marketing stuff) that I want to give that kind of attention to things that usually don’t get that. Things like Letterpress printing, 60s home and life magazines, empty scrapbooks, book endpapers.
Do you see the Post Family continuing into the foreseeable? Do you think you’ll be doing it a few years from now or do you have other plans in the back of your mind?
Yeah I think Post Family will be around for a while in one way or another. We are all about organic growth so I can’t say exactly what the family will evolve into, but I can tell you that it will be good times.