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Comet Substance

Musical identity mash-ups in collaged band posters by a Swiss illustrator

by Kat Herriman in Design on 04 September 2012

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With his wide range of projects and mediums, it is no wonder why the technical sketcher turned screen printer Comet Substance uses collage in his works. Armed with a broad background, Comet Substance, also known as Ronny Hunger clips images out of their original context to create new spaces within his pieces. Specializing in band posters, he is able to create collaged posters reflective of each group's unique identity and distinct mix of influences. Hunger mainly works with national and local venues in his native Switzerland, sharing his prints with the rest of the world through Supalife, a German poster gallery, and his own website.

We sat down with Hunger recently to get a peek at the designer behind the pseudonym.

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What drew you to becoming a designer?

I always drew when I was younger. My schoolbooks were full of drawings. After school, I had to find a job. I knew I wanted to do something where I could draw. At this time, I lived in a little town in the mountains in Switzerland, where graphic design and art were not considered "real" jobs. So, I drew technical plans of electronic equipment. After four years of boredom, I decided to move to Zurich and learned to design and print. Through learning screen print, I got to know to design in a completely different way.

Where does the name Comet Substance come from? Why use a pseudonym?

I always liked the idea of having a studio that combines design and printing. When I was searching for a name, I wanted something that describes a large space. At this time, I didn't want to call it the Ronny Hunger Graphic Design & Illustration Company. Now, I'd prefer my own name, or I'd like to have a shorter name, like Snake or something. Maybe I'll change that someday. But, it's just a name.

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When a band approaches you to create a poster, how do you get started? What is your design process look like?

I listen to the music, always. Sketch some ideas. Find the right mood for the sound. Find the right color palette. Next, I search for images in books and on the Internet. Then, I search for the right type and I arrange everything and hope everything works out and looks about as good as it did on my sketch. And I like to get feedback from the band before I go to print.

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You work in collages, could you explain a little bit more about why you are drawn to this form?

The interesting thing about collages is that you can place the images in a thousand different ways and it always looks different. For me, it was always important to make something your own, your own style, yet still be able to develop. With a collage, my designs can go in different directions without losing the golden thread.

Your mission statement mentions your interest in how a mix of images is mimetic of the movement of time. How is your art reflective of this interest?

For me, it's always interesting to see what other artists do. I always want to do something new, something contemporary. Each band has different influences affecting their style. When I design a poster for a band I would like to reflect this.

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