Feature Friday #005 — Christopher Michon

Hey there, and welcome to Feature Friday #005, our series highlighting some of the incredible people on Cotton Bureau. You can find Christopher on Instagram and around the web. You can also shop his collection on Cotton Bureau.

What’s up! It’s been almost six years since we last interviewed you. At the time, you were living in Boston? Are you still there, or have you moved on?

It's weird how 6 years feels like a lifetime ago. I actually moved on, and then moved back. My family and I moved to Seattle at the end of 2016, and then moved back to the East Coast in the summer of 2020.

No kidding. It’s been quite a ride for us as well. What’s new professionally? Do you feel like you’ve grown as a designer during this time?

Most definitely. I've grown as a designer and as a human being. I switched roles at my day job which has allowed me to be more creative in my "free" time. And because of that I've been able to develop more as a designer, illustrator, and artist. Carving out my corner of the internet and creating a community based on common interests. It's been fun and has created a lot of opportunities for me.

Nice. What are your favorite side projects you have going on right now? Can you tell us about any of those opportunities?

So I create a lot of personal or passion projects under the moniker Failed Imagineer. And because of that I've been asked to do artwork other brands. More recently I've done some spot illustrations for a Disney guidebook, designed some (croc) jibitz for a brand, and have had the opportunity to join Gallery 1988 for 8 group shows this year.

Very cool. Where are you hanging out online these days? Anyone in particular that you have been following that you want to shout out?

Instagram (@failedimagineer) almost exclusively. Focusing on more than one has proven difficult for me. On Instagram I can share easily when I have time, and recently started subscriptions where people get lots of sneak peeks of what I'm working on, give me early feedback, and some goodies in the mail.

I seem to have carved out a nice little corner for myself, and have connected with a lot of like minded people. There are way too many people to call out that have been so supportive, but my pals Mariana (@landandworld), Julia (@pixelandpost), and John (@weare1025) have been super helpful as a sounding board for all my ideas. Also shoutout to my therapist.

Oh, that’s fun. What was the inspiration for the Failed Imagineer persona? Did you ever apply to work with Disney?

I believe I applied to work at Disney at least once, but that wasn't the inspiration. The name really illustrates my love for punk rock and pop culture, and mashing the two together. I'm almost always inspired by something, and to be honest, "Failed Imagineer" is a song title that sparked a t-shirt, that pointed me down the path I'm on today.

Changing the subject slightly, what’s your feeling on AI-generated artwork? It’s such a weird time for design.

That's a heavy question. Overall I see value in AI being an aid to existing workflows. I can see it saving time doing redundant steps I have to do a lot with existing artwork. That being said, I think art that is fully created by AI is extremely recognizable as such, and overall lacks a certain something (soul? perspective?). As someone whose art is already extremely derivative, I don't see AI as something that's going to take my job, but hopefully something that may help. I hope?

I think that’s what we’re all hoping. So, what’s next? Where do you see yourself in 3–5 years?

I have some commissions I need to finish up, some more Gallery 1988 pieces I need to figure out, and a long list of things that I want to draw. In the next 3-5 years? That's hard to say, but I've been setting goals for myself and it's been really fun to see how I'm approaching or achieving them, even if it's in a way I didn't expect. I'd love to have some pieces for sale in some specific stores, I'd like to be a part of more gallery or group/curated shows, and mostly I just hope I'll still be having fun, and if not, I'll find something else to do.

Awesome, so good to catch up with you. Good luck with the Gallery 1988 project. (Love the Needlenose Ned print, by the way.) Thanks again for taking time to share what you are working on.