Aug 26, 2013 8 Questions With: Bob Faust
Today we have an interview with Bob Faust, the founder of Faust, a Chicago-based “cultural branding and communications studio.” Their portfolio includes identity, print, and digital design for a wide range of clients spanning Denver Art Museum and Playboy. Bob is also an expert at working with artists, and helping them translate their ideas into installations and performance art productions. He recently produced a performance project series in Grand Central Terminal called HEARD•NY, with Chicago-based artist Nick Cave and choreographer Will Gill. Similarly, Bob was closely involved in creating Nick Cave’s recent installation at Denver Art Museum.
How did you launch Faust?
After testing the waters in a large design studio and small boutique studio, freelance and a stint as manager of design and production services at Playboy, I was able to choose the type of studio I ultimately wanted to lead. I learned it needed to be small with no walls and one steeped in the arts and didn’t allow the words “you can’t do that” within earshot.
What are you currently working on?
Post Nick Cave: Sojourn, I am now knee deep into a book for Tallur L.N. an artist who splits his time between India and South Korea. The work is very layered and complicated to share simply, so the correct sequencing and image curation is critical. It is a great challenge.
How would you describe your job?
I’m part artist, part designer, part mediator and therapist. But the trait I am most thankful for is that of listener. It is the one thing I can count on to always be my guide.
What does your average work day look like?
As a young designer it was quite structured. I looked at my tasks and hacked at them until they were done. It all took place in front of my computer and inspiration came on the bus or in the shower. These days, my days and nights blend together, the inspiration shows up whenever and wherever and I find the more I get myself out into the world rather than using the computer as a filter the more authentic my work becomes. It also has a more clear delivery and is a reflection of me as well as whatever client or collaborator I am working with. This means my days are all different. I generally handle hot emails before I head to work and then try to be available to whatever or whoever I am scheduled to be with that day. I share my insights with my staff and we together make things together. I don’t think there is a single project I can own entirely myself as both Dave Pabellon and Ben Deter, the designers in my studio, continually bring themselves to our work.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grow up?
Blocks were my thing. Sometimes they seemed like my friends. I would work for hours building structures I considered buildings. So I guess an “architect” was how I saw myself. Not too far off from where I am today. But having architects as clients, I think the title of designer/artist suits me better. That architecture world, while critically important and infinitely creative, requires too much time and layers of approval for the work to be realized for me.
What are you reading at the moment?
Your questions … most of my reading is manuscripts or texts related to my work at the moment, so I rarely have a book cracked unless I am vacationing.
What’s your favorite post-work destination?
Home with my daughter or with my partner. I need a little quiet and safety at the end of the day.
What’s the best thing about living and working in Chicago?
I’m asked this a lot, so have thought about it a lot. While the coasts offer so much with regard to attitude, edge and acknowledgment, Chicago is the capital of America and offers everything you need to be anything you want, so it is the perfect place to freely work toward something great. You cannot make something new or extraordinary without risk, and contrary to the coasts, your critics/peers here celebrate your successes, but also look forward to your second try if the first one fails. Overall it is a less cut throat creative community, in fact, I think it is actually a nurturing one instead.