ASHER KOCH

 
Photo Credit: E.J. Grijalva

Photo Credit: E.J. Grijalva

 

ASHER KOCH

SEATTLE, WA

GRAPHIC DESIGN

Where are you from, where are you now, and what keeps you around?

 Seattle, born and raised. All my family is from Michigan - my parents moved here so my dad could get his Masters in painting from UW (cue unrealized artistic blood). I go there semi frequently but I don't think it's for me - too flat and harsh weather. I love Seattle's access to an array of nature, the mountains, the fresh air, the comfortable temps, the hipsters and the liberals (only half kidding).

You have your hands dipped in all of the arts from photography, to screen printing, to graphic design. I would like to focus on your graphic design projects today. When did you first hear the calling for design and when did you decide that its what you wanted to do with your life?

I don’t think I ever woke up and wanted to be an artist. I think it’s in my blood and I found ways to utilize my talents. I think I first really understood sometime in High School though. I always liked making things as a kid, I was very hands-on and detail-oriented. I thought about becoming an engineer but didn't realize at the time you had to do a lot of math to actually build and I was never a fan of math - I'm good at it but didn't that to be such a large part of my life. Graphic design is a nice combination of problem solving and art, and man can I build some large files without any math hah!

Are there any particular albums or artist that you draw inspiration from?

Musically, I'm all over the place. I grew up with classic rock and I will always love Led Zeppelin, Jimi, Neil Young, etc. I love blues, even bluegrass. But I mostly listen to Hip-hop these days. It all started with Wu-Tang and I am obsessed with 90s hip-hop especially. So 36 Chambers, Illmatic, The Infamous. Plus more "underground" stuff like Doom, Deltron, Hiero, People Under the Stairs, etc. There is plenty of good contemporary stuff but for some reason I always go back to the classics. The new Tyler, the Creater album is pretty sick - I actually wasn't that big of a fan before. Joey Badda$$ and of course Kendrick - DAMN. is freaking amazing. 

I find that getting started on a new project can be daunting, how do you go about starting something new?

I make lists, breaking things down into small steps takes some of the weight off and you can kinda get a big picture. This lets you get a more solid grasp on timelines too. Also Coffee coffee coffee. And I’m always listening to music...If I need to look for inspiration, there are endless opportunities online, or just go for a walk.

Have you found that there are perks to being in your field of art?

Being able to create beautiful things that affect others, educate and engage, and make people think. Working with color and type. Collaborating with other creatives.

How about frustrations?

Printers. haha. Design by committee is pretty rough sometimes. I am very introverted so learning to talk with people and communicate clearly has been very important.

What was the last show you attended?

I went to Mariane Ibrahim’s Gallery in Pioneer Square to see MWANGI HUTTER, FALLING IN LOVE, AGAIN.  I also helped hang paintings and installed vinyl description text for Brianna McCarthy: Matters of Inheritance which is at Virago Gallery in West Seattle right now.

Are there any projects that you are particularly proud of?(why)

From Margin to Center is a multi-quarter Shoreline Community College project bringing exposure to, and fostering discussion surrounding social justice issues. I worked with the administrative Student Life team, who produced the programming and copy, to outline a plan for representing difficult topics while expressing an air of positivity and change for the future. For the graphics, I hand drew my concept, digitized it, and then built the final file using primarily InDesign, as well as Photoshop and Illustrator. I photographed the presenters and used these photos within the promotional materials. Since this project had eight events in the first year and fifteen in the second, I needed to create a promotional piece that drew attention as a poster and could also outline the entire series' schedule. The final product was a combination of a poster, brochure, and calendar which I supplemented with weekly schedules and day-of posters, banners, and digital/social media pieces. Working in higher ed. and especially on projects like this, I've learned that I get a lot of gratification from design work that benefits the community. Engaging and educating people can impact lives, locally and more broadly, now and in future generations. 

How do you feel about the art/design community in Seattle, is there anything you want to praise or change about it?

To be honest I am not very active in the fine art world of Seattle so take the following with a grain of salt. Still, I feel like a lot of people don't get art, and that might just be the times we live in. A large number of people simply follow trends, believe what people tell them, and don't necessarily buy or support art for personal reasons. I also feel like there is a hipsterisation (has that been coined before?) aspect in Seattle. I don't think people in other places claim they know art or are artists as much as here? I feel like it is similar to the age old "I got an SLR, so I am basically a professional photographer" mentality. That is not to say there aren't plenty of dope artists here, I just see people getting a lot of attention for mediocre work.   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Lets get the favorites out of the way

Favorite restaurant?

I don't eat out much - it's easier to eat light and cheaper at home, plus I like cooking. But I'll do a shoutout to Crepe Cafe if you're feelin some dank french/brunch food.

Favorite local(Seattle)artists at the moment?

The homies: Brandon Vosika, Kaid Crust, Sarah Frances, EJ, Karl (flesh produce) and Coach, Thor Brinsfield, my dad Kevin. Modern Dog, Mike Klay.

Favorite not so local artists?

 Kendrick Kidd, Aaron Draplin, Frak One, Riley Cran, Dan Madsen, Michael Beirut, and oldies like Herb Lubalin, Saul Bass, Mondrian, Magritte, Mucha.....

Favorite place to visit?

I haven't travelled much. I am a PNW baby but I will say Leavenworth, or to be more general - anywhere in the Cascades. I find so much satisfaction and mental peace from being in the mountains. The smells, the sounds, the views, the rivers, the "mountain time" - everyone is just chillin, living the good life. It helps that I've always been an outdoorsy person and an avid boulderer but I think these things would keep me going out there if for some reason rock climbing didn't exist.

Least favorite place to visit?

The mall. 

Five favorite albums?

You're killin me! Here are 5 important to me in no particular order:

Led Zeppelin I

Illmatic

Liquid Swords

In/Casino/Out

After the Gold Rush

Favorite TV show?

Dang thats a hard one. Recently: Stranger Things and GoT, the Get Down I've seen every single Law & Order, The Wire, Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Killing - kind of my genre

Favorite slice of pizza?

A good cheese is all I need. That being said I will eat literally any pizza so just order whatever.

Favorite animal?

I love cats but I also think it would be insanely cool to be a bird, if thats where this is going. 

Favorite game?

 Ocarina of Time. I love the entire franchise, really enjoy the gameboy ones, and havent played the new one much but I think this was just a special time in my life.

Favorite invention from the 19th century?

haha I mean electricity is pretty crucial but also photography...dang.

What can you be found doing outside of your work?

Bouldering, training for bouldering, hanging out with friends, drinking beer, screen printing.

last words?

Stay happy. Stay busy. Hills & Valleys.

 

Website:

asherkoch.com