Giant Korean Head’s Chris Yun: Designer, Podcaster, Big Dome

Chris Yun is a “working creative”–one of those people we rely on to sprinkle taste on the things we buy, look at, and listen to. He’s also the type of person who categorically understates his talent. Recently, a designer friend of mine Peter Smith, recommended I take a listen. Then he recommended I talk with Yun. So, here you go:

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He’s a Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) graduate who describes himself as a 40-plus, 1.75 generation Korean-American, living and working in NYC. For the past 20 years, he’s borough hopped his way into some unique professional and personal relationships–friendships he showcases on his podcast. He’s a husband, father, freelancer, and increasingly popular podcaster.

Giant Korean Head is unscripted, purportedly alcohol-fueled, and undeniably amusing. Industry chatter is off-limits on this one, meaning the conversation is more likely to veer toward pop culture and Gerard Butler sightings–who looks like shit apparently–than it is logo design.

Yun answered some questions for me this week.

Why podcasting?

I’m too ugly for videocasting.

You’ve described yourself as “aimless” before. One might describe the podcast the same way. Do you think the best art comes from absence of structure?

That description was actually regarding my career, but it definitely fits the podcast, and I aim to keep it that way. It’s just me chatting and drinking with friends (who just happen to all be working creatives), so tackling specific predetermined industry topics would be awkward or seem forced. Besides, I started this podcast really as a sort of time-capsule-leave-behind-lost-recordings thing for my young daughter to someday find and listen to, so the less shoptalk the better. I wouldn’t want to bore her. Especially true if I’m still alive.

I’m not sure how much or how little of a part structure plays in the creativity equation. Some people may like getting started bright and early, their day meticulously planned, with everything on their desks at right angles. Others may do their best stuff at 4am stinking of booze and covered in their own excrement. But what I am sure of, is that good work always comes from hard work.

I’m visual, and I try to picture the conversations hosts are having with the their guests as I’m listening. With you, I conjure up a loft in Brooklyn or a studio in the Bronx. What’s your set up like?

Visualize the exact opposite of that, and add the “stinking of booze and covered in excrement” from the previous answer.

I usually travel to my guests, so all of my gear is portable and can be thrown into a backpack. If it’s at home, iMac.

Has the show helped you creatively?

Not in any measurable way, but getting together with my friends is always inspiring.

What does your mother really think of “Giant Korean Head?”

Not sure. I know she thinks childbirth is excruciating.

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You can follow Chris on Twitter @giantkoreanhead

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