Ep. 63: Chris Schanck

Artist and designer, Chris Schanck, moved upwards of 22 times in his youth. He credits Uncle Rocco with firing up his creative engine at an early age, and an arts magnet school in adolescence with “saving his life.” That’s not an overstatement. Fast forward a few years and he’s developed a distinct visual language, has a solo show at a prestigious gallery under his belt, and critically successful body of work. Now, he’s built a life and studio in Detroit, where he is attempting to put down some roots. Listen:

 Courtesy Friedman Benda

Courtesy Friedman Benda

What is your earliest memory?

Playing with my kitten Razzel, he scratched my hands up real good. Cuteness mixed with pain.  

How do you feel about democratic design?

The same way I think about public transportation: it’s great when it works, but I wouldn’t want to take it all the time.

What’s the best advice that you’ve ever gotten?

“Never talk to the cops.”- Dad

 Chris at his first drafting table, courtesy of Uncle Rocky. Age 4 or 5.

Chris at his first drafting table, courtesy of Uncle Rocky. Age 4 or 5.

 With his family - "Sitting between my mom and dad, brother Joe making the screw face, and my sis Jolie as Wonder Woman"

With his family - "Sitting between my mom and dad, brother Joe making the screw face, and my sis Jolie as Wonder Woman"

How do you record your ideas?

On paper  

What’s your current favorite tool or material to work with?

Hot glue gun

What book is on your nightstand? 

Language of Thorns by eigh Bardugo.  
Vigilant Things by David T. Doris
Rama Revealed y Arthur C. Clarke

 Piece for Tom Ford

Piece for Tom Ford

Why is authenticity in design important?

“I know for sure that we each contribute to the whole of what it means to be a human on earth. The fullness of our humanity can be expressed only when we are true to ourselves. Your real job on earth is to become more of who you really are. To live to the highest degree what is pure, what is honest, what is natural, what feels like the real you. Anything less is a faked life. “ - Oprah Winfrey  

Favorite restaurant in your city?

Yemen Cafe

 Photography by Michelle and Chris Gerard / Courtesy of Friedman Benda and Chris Schanck

Photography by Michelle and Chris Gerard / Courtesy of Friedman Benda and Chris Schanck

 Photography by Michelle and Chris Gerard / Courtesy of Friedman Benda and Chris Schanck

Photography by Michelle and Chris Gerard / Courtesy of Friedman Benda and Chris Schanck

What might we find on your desk right now?

Half drunken cans of La Croix  

Who do you look up to and why?

My big sis Jolie. She lives in the moment, laughs out loud, crushes her enemies and stands by her friends.  

 Bench for Dior. Photography by Michelle and Chris Gerard / Courtesy of Friedman Benda and Chris Schanck

Bench for Dior. Photography by Michelle and Chris Gerard / Courtesy of Friedman Benda and Chris Schanck

 Photography by Dan Kukla / Courtesy of Friedman Benda and Chris Schanck

Photography by Dan Kukla / Courtesy of Friedman Benda and Chris Schanck

 Photography by Dan Kukla / Courtesy of Friedman Benda and Chris Schanck

Photography by Dan Kukla / Courtesy of Friedman Benda and Chris Schanck

What’s your favorite project that you’ve done and why?

The one right now because the vision is clear, but the production is a mystery.  

What are the last five songs you listened to?

1. Rihanna - We found love ft. Calvin Harris
2. Rihanna, Kanye West, Paul McCartney - FourFiveSeconds  
3. Alex Cameron - Mongrel
4. Talaboman - Safe Changes  
5. Johnnie Frierson - Have you Been Good to Yourself

 Chris Schanck, Reflectory, 2017, Resin, steel, polystyrene / Courtesy of Friedman Benda and Chris Schanck

Chris Schanck, Reflectory, 2017, Resin, steel, polystyrene / Courtesy of Friedman Benda and Chris Schanck


See more of Chris' work at christopherschanck.com, Friedman Benda and Artsy, as well as @chrisschanck on Instagram.


Clever is produced by 2VDE Media. Thanks to Tai Navares and Alex Perez for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.