When it comes to design, there's nothing better than a fresh perspective. Los Angeles-based artist and graphic designer Claire Hungerford has just that. With an innovative artistic approach and impeccable personal style, she creates graphics by day at Commune and gives us killer outfit inspiration by night. From her favorite project to date to why she's all about trying "weirder outfits" in 2017, get to know Claire below.
We love your design aesthetic. What is it inspired by?
I’m drawn towards designers like Jacquemus and Emily Adams Bode, Peter Shire and Bruno Munari, Leanne Shapton and Tucker Nichols, Tamara Shopsin and Irma Boom, R. Crumb and my brother Cary’s cartoons—generally designers and artists that are given to humor.
You've done design for everything from brands to packaging to restaurants. Do you have a favorite?
My favorite project to date, because of a bizarre confluence of people and ideas, is a board game poster that I designed for my friend Devendra. The game is obliquely about transcendental meditation but we don’t expect anyone to understand. It’s $12.
You created some pretty amazing Hilary Clinton posters at Commune. What inspired you to use your art in this way?
Commune has a very established poster practice, with collaborators like Mike Mills and Alia Penner. So part of the job for anyone on their graphics team is carrying that torch. Every election, we send a poster with a clear message and a charge to everyone we’ve worked with. It’s something Commune is known for and a big reason I was drawn to them in the first place, so I welcomed the opportunity to make something for the recent election.
Do you think as an artist, it's important to create politically-aware pieces now more than ever?
As someone who makes things, the most important thing is to keep making things—and to stay informed. That way it becomes inevitable that your political, social, and cultural stance is evident in your visual language. That said, this question is on many of our minds and my response could be very different ten minutes from now.
We recently saw your work at Kismet, a new Los Angeles restaurant owned by two women, and were blown away. Where did that collaboration stem from?
I met Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson of Glasserie, Madcapra and now Kismet fame at a fortuitous moment. We knew each other socially. They had me over for afternoon recipe testings the exact week that I decided to quit my job and try graphic design. One of those days I arrived at Sara’s with a very unwieldy book of Alexander Girard’s work, we marked a bunch of pages, she sent me home with a quart of meyer lemon jam and soon it became clear that I was designing the identity of their new restaurant.
Sara Kramer, one of the owners of Kismet, said you were "such a hugely impressive person and naturally so artistically inclined." Do you feel that design came to you naturally when you first started? Or was it something you really trained into?
The feeling is mutual! We don’t talk about it much, but her and I share notable 180’s in our career paths and it’s something I have a lot of respect for. I was never trained as a graphic designer so I rely heavily on the knowledge (and encouragement) of my community. However, I’ve always had one foot in “design,” even throughout my 3-year post-college stint in the healthcare industry. So the answer is both, in the sense that some things came naturally and I sought out training in unconventional ways.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Personally and career-wise?
In ten years I see myself as 76 with a dog and an enticing side gig.
We're all about self care. In what ways do you do things for yourself and is this something you prioritize?
Reading is part of my self care. Baked goods and a few hours of unstructured time every week are things that I have to give myself. Also, anyone who knows me knows that I prioritize alone time.
What's one way you've helped another woman recently?
I coerced a co-worker into going dancing on a Wednesday night when I thought she needed it.
And how has one helped you?
My dear neighbor Gere very gently and elegantly called me out on being a flake. It changed my life!
Did you set any intentions for this year that are important to you?
I set 12 intentions this year. In the spirit of LSG, “weirder outfits” was one of them.
Interview: Zarna Surti
Design: Alaia Manley