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Chris Burnett

October 14, 2010

Chris Burnett works alongside Bijan Berahimi leading the CalArts-based design collective FISK. Of course, it goes without saying that if you’re going to lead a design collective (much less one based out of CalArts), you’d better have some pretty strong design to show for yourself. Burnett certainly doesn’t disappoint. With clients like Emerica, and 9Star skateboards, it’s safe to say that his work is strong enough to get himself out there.

Also, before you take the jump, you should know that Chris has graciously agreed to send a postcard featuring the typography pattern above to the first five people that comment with their email address. If you’re quick enough we’ll email you for your address and then we’ll forward along to Chris.

So hop to it!

FISK is a “design community.” What exactly does that mean, and what prompted you to join up?

It means that we are a community of designers for designers. There seems to be a huge lack of community in the graphic design world, and FISK was created to combat exactly that. Our ideas have changed for the better since we first started the website/collective about a year ago. A new goal this year is to promote student work, because of how hard it can be to get your name out there and have your work viewed by a larger audience. This not only encourages students, but strengthens our community as a collective group of graphic designers. Bijan Berahimi was the brainchild behind the whole idea, and after some meetings here and there during the Fall semester of 2009, I hopped on board. I wanted to help out simply to empower this sense of community, but also to be apart of something that is not happening anywhere else. We have great resources, faculty, and students here at CalArts, and creating a community brings all of us together to share ideas, collaborate on projects and become better designers simultaneously.

How long have you lived in Santa Clarita? Did you grow up here, or move here to attend CalArts?

I was born and raised in South Los Angeles. After I applied and was accepted to CalArts, I moved up to Valencia to live on campus. I have been in Santa Clarita for the whole school year (past and current) and select parts of the summer. My preconceptions of the area were those of a peaceful suburban environment and I think I was about right. Santa Clarita is such a sharp contrast to were I grew up that it is actually quite refreshing to be here. After being here for a year, it is starting to feel like a second home. However, CalArts as an institution is in its own little bubble. The school is known for its wild and “free” atmosphere which sometimes doesn’t agree with the residents who live around us. There is definitely a major disconnect from CalArts and the rest of the Santa Clarita Valley.

Have you found the suburban environment of Santa Clarita to be artistically stifling at all? If so, how?

Yes, although Santa Clarita (based on my one and-a-half years of experience) has its pros and cons relating to its art culture. There are plenty of resources available that would help to improve the overall artist culture of the area. The problem is that we do not utilize them, and I believe a part of the reason why is because we don’t know that they exist. There is little if no promotion of art and culture around the area, therefore we do not take advantage of some of the services that the city can offer. So no, Santa Clarita is not helping to empower the arts as much as they could be. On the other hand, CalArts does that for us which is why most students stick to the resources around campus to promote their practice. Because we don’t know about the opportunities outside of school, we showcase our work here and do not look beyond the CalArts walls.

Check out more of Chris’ work at Check out FISK at

8 Comments leave one →
  1. alex woods permalink
    October 14, 2010 12:25 pm

    Chris is the shit.

  2. brian permalink
    October 14, 2010 2:09 pm

    yo chris is that a screen print.. good work btw….

  3. October 16, 2010 12:40 pm


  4. October 16, 2010 1:06 pm

    I love these! Great work.

  5. Jonny permalink
    October 16, 2010 11:39 pm

    beautiful work. inspiring.

  6. October 20, 2010 10:20 am

    I love his style and these are such great answers! I really liked his response to living in suburbia 🙂


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