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Life & Work with Greg Chinn

Graphic designer Greg Chinn discusses his life, work, and connections to Hawaii and Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation.

November 30, 2022

Today we’d like to introduce you to Greg Chinn.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
In Hawaii, when your family has lived in the islands a fair amount of time, you’re considered “local”. I’m a 4th generation islander with a touch of native Hawaiian ancestry. I graduated from Kamehameha School, attended the University of Hawaii and graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena with a BFA with Honors in Graphic Design & Packaging.

I currently live in the neighborhood of Laurel Canyon with my wife and two kids now. I’m influenced by the vibe of the community and inspired by the roots of mid-century modernism that pervades the city of Los Angeles. Combining my roots in Hawaii and the influence of Los Angeles’s modernist aesthetic heritage, I’ve created my version of the “California Cool” style. It’s eclectic modernism — the signature feature of my design studio, The Local Brand Co. The new work has a handcrafted feel, created with a forward mindset and possessing an upbeat vibe.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?Finding your voice is always a challenge. It’s taken me a while to understand who I am as a person/creative and being able to craft my own visual language. Once you have your visual voice, having a clientele who embraces your style/conceptual thoughts is key. There needs to be an understanding on both sides of the table. In my case, my clients have become my friends. We share a similar aesthetic and perspective that makes working enjoyable. I feel very fortunate to produce the kind of work I do with the people I collaborate with.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Here’s a few samples of work that really represents who I am as a creative and the aesthetic that I bring to each project.

Anako: Moringa Infused Artisanal Products by Chef Anna Cherubini has crafted a Summer Capsule Collection to enhance your stoke. A mid-century modern cold brew hibiscus mango iced tea, west coast cool mini sourdough bread and locals only surf hot sauce. Each one is jam-packed with positive energy and mindfulness. The illustrations were a reflection of each product’s inspiration. I also created ingredient/cooking illustration assets that were used in the Anako corporate identity. The silhouettes ranged from the moringa leaf to lemon slices, cutting board marks and olive oil drizzle. When placed together, the overall silhouette pattern look has visual roots to Spanish tile motifs which are a California staple. Anako is sold online and at the Farmer’s Market in Larchmont Village.

The Beat: A Cultural Mixtape was a collaboration with Outer Voice Editor Clay Steakley. Weighed down by the isolation and anxiety of 2020, Clay and I sought a way to lighten our own burdens and those of others by sharing what inspires us. The Beat’s topic concepts were loosely based on Beat poetry’s unstructured format and immediacy of experience. The read was quick and links to organizations we wanted to amplify. The Beat was dedicated to sparking new ideas and bringing people together. Each illustration was a homage to the topics Clay and I loved. Shown are a bunch of classic mid-century modern hits, delish food/drink drawings and surf culture which were among my favorites.

The Kona Brewing Co./ Makana Local Giving Program drawings were reinterpreted classic surf silhouettes focused on the local Hawaiian surf culture. Each sticker represents a distinct viewpoint – Dawn Patrol (rectangle shape), The Slab (circle shape), In-Between Sets (hexagon shape) and Legends (square shape). They were part of an Artist Series Limited Edition Sticker Capsule Collection which was an ode to growing up in Hawaii and a visual representation of my childhood memories of island life. The stickers would win an American Advertising Award Bronze Medal, known as the Pele Awards in Hawaii. The Pele Awards honor Hawaii’s Best in Advertising and Design. $1.00 for each sticker sold was donated to two non-profits in Hawaii, The Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation and Ho’oma’a Foundation.

I’ve worked with The Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation on various projects. The first was social media/tee-shirt promotion that amplified Duke’s legacy as The Original Waterman, as well as being an Olympic Gold Medalist. Iconic silhouettes of the Duke were authorized by licensing agent Malama Pono. The second was new designs for the 2022 ODKF holiday promotion which are a mix of vintage-modern and contemporary branding styles. The vintage-modern direction is an ode to ODKF’s longevity and its roots to the community. The contemporary direction has an upbeat design aesthetic that plays on local Hawaiian themes.

The Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation (ODKF) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Their mission is to financially support the development of individuals and organizations that perpetuate the spirit and legacy of Duke Kahanamoku. ODKF provides support to Hawaii students, teams, and events that sustain the spirit of Duke Kahanamoku. As of 2021, the Foundation has awarded 806 grants and 1041 scholarships totaling over $3 million in community investment. ODKF focuses on impacts made through the sports Duke played and loved: Swimming, Surfing, Canoe Paddling, Kayaking, Diving, Water Polo, Sailing, and Volleyball.

Any big plans?
Continue to create work that represents where and who I am while collabing with both past/present local communities we’ve lived in. To concept new projects that help foster creativity and connectivity to others.

Contact Info:

Article reprinted from VoyageLA: http://voyagela.com/interview/life-work-with-greg-chinn-of-laurel-canyon/

Pictured: Chinn's designs for the ODKF 2022 Merchandise Fundraiser.

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