Rod Hunting, Davey Sommers, Chad Kouri, Scott Thomas, Alex Fuller, Sam Rosen, and David Sieren are all brothers — yet their family is not unified by blood, but instead by kindred creative thread.
The seven initially met through school, work, and mutual friends, and it was their combined interest in design and their need to find a space to create that solidified their bond. This led them to start The Post Family collaborative, which set up shop at 1821 W. Hubbard St. in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood in 2007.
“I was looking for space because I was printing in my apartment at the time; Chad was looking for a space because he was doing the same thing,” Hunting says. “We all wanted it but didn’t know that each other wanted it.”
The group’s moniker came courtesy of an outdated Christmas card. While Kouri was in Grand Rapids for an art battle a few summers ago, he stopped in a restaurant for breakfast. He noticed a random postcard out on the counter and decided to pick it up.
“It was the middle of July, and there was a Christmas card in the middle of the counter of the diner that we went to, and it said, ‘Merry Christmas and praise Jesus — love, the Post Family,’” Kouri says. “It was the corniest photo. It’s just little ephemeral stuff like that — my work is geared off of that, so that’s the stuff that I usually bring home with me.”
As the guys were forming a collaborative and deliberating on a name, the conversation kept coming back to The Post Family idea namely because many of them are influenced by post-modernism and the group essentially functions as a family unit.
“I think that there were just tons of layers to that statement,” Thomas says. “It could live a long life, and we knew that we could all feel comfortable with it.”
Although The Post Family mainly produces screen-print and letterpress designs in its studio, the group comes from a variety of disciplines, ranging from photography to architecture to graphic design, and each of these elements have informed its individual aesthetics.
“Our backgrounds differ a bit, but when it comes down to it, we’re a group of creatively minded people, and we don’t look at it as ‘We all come from different backgrounds,’” Kouri says. “It’s more [that] we all had this idea and excitement about creation.”
In 2008, the collaborative opened its venture to the rest of Chicago’s creative community by developing an exhibition space and a design blog – both of which revolve around the group’s current inspirations. The gallery allowed it to engage other local artists and give them the opportunity to create work solely for art’s sake.
“At work, all the time, it’s the money that drives the creative, so it’s great to reach out to people that we admire and say, ‘Hey, go crazy, make stuff, and put it here,’” Hunting says. “It’s amazing to see what people come up with.”
Initially, The Post Family’s blog started out as a means for the seven members to stay in contact throughout the day and swap ideas. Soon enough, the blog began garnering attention from fellow design aficionados and local media – even earning the distinction of being nominated as Chicago’s best art blog by Chicago Magazine.
“After two years of doing that, we kind of look up and we had a lot of recognition for the blog alone,” Kouri says.