We sat down with artist Cody Hudson to learn about his collaborations with Nike and Stussy, the difference between design and art, and more.
Cody Hudson is a busy man. The Chicago-based artist, also known by his graphic design moniker Struggle Inc., has a long list of design clients including Nike, Norse Projects, Stussy, Converse and Sixpack France. Behind the designer is an equally great artist. His innovative paintings and sculptures are based on abstract compositions of shapes and colors that balance in unexpected ways.
We had the chance to sit down with Cody before presenting latest print with Berlin art publishing house DRAW A LINE. See what the artist had to say below and check out some of his previous work above.
How do you decide who to work with and who not to?
I stay pretty busy these days so the last thing I want to do is enter into a relationship with a client I don’t get along with. When a new client approaches me it usually takes a little conversation to see if it’s the right fit. If you see more eye to eye with someone as well, I think the results will have more of an honest feel and in the end it will be better for both myself and the brand.
What kind of design attitude do you try to bring to your work with Nike?
Working with them is usually pretty great as they have a strong sense of what they are looking for in a project. I’m really there to help them work those ideas out graphically and add some of my own flavor to the mix, like with the Nike Own Chicago project – they knew exactly what they wanted out of my aesthetic.
You’ve done a lot of designs for Stussy. Is it ever challenging to keep it versatile?
A lot of the Stussy work I was doing years ago was more like my signature hand-done work and continuing to this day I still do a lot of more traditional graphic design-based shirts for them. I think some people just associate the more loose illustrative stuff with me more, as that’s what they would see more of in the past. I tend to work in a wide range of design styles, so for me it’s really not a challenge but more just a part of the design process.
What are the differences in your approach to design compared to art?
I like doing both because it keeps me excited. But basically commercial design even by definition is solving someone’s problem with design. So in graphic design you have to be a little more final with stuff as you have an end result in mind and you are finding a creative way to get there.
Art is a different thing. There isn’t a client. I just make what I want and it ends up in the world. With the DRAW A LINE print it’s all about me in my head trying to figure out how shapes can work together. There’s a dialogue happening on the page that I’m looking at and trying to understand. It doesn’t get controlled, nor do I try to control it.
Pick up Cody’s latest print here.