Who is The Brilliance?
Ben: THE BRILLIANCE is me and chuck. And I’m that dude listening to this chopped & screwed slim thug right now. Looking out the window of my loft here in downtown GR. It’s a beautiful day here, wow. We just like writing about things we like. I like to shine you know?

Chuck: Chuck X Ben X Interview X Website X Typing X Posts + Good - Bad / Pi = THE BRILLIANCE

What are the “day-jobs” for such brilliant heads?
B: Information Architecture…that’s what they call me. I honestly don’t feel like going into it. Heavy systems design for the supply chain industry. Big clients that are fun to work with. Laid back but intense at the same time. I’m crazy young in my industry.

C: I don't really know how to put this, but, I'm kind of a big deal. People know me. I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books. Ha. Sorry. I'll settle down now and answer your questions. My name is Chuck Anderson and I freelance under the name NoPattern. It is more my night-job than day-job, since I do most of my work late at night for whatever reason. I freelance my work for magazines, record labels, ad agencies, fashion labels, whoever. Whoever wants to hire me.

What informs and inspires your work?
B: I get a lot of my info just from the web you know…I got a lot of daily visits for seeing what’s good with the world. But magazines come in handy as well. We just filter out what we feel fits our personal aesthetic. Everyday inspires me I guess…I love juxtapositions that compliment each other. Is that called contrast? Anything that is ‘smart’ is inspiring. People with finesse inspiring me like crazy…you know. Like those people that ‘float’ thru everything they do.

C: I'm pretty inspired by a good couple of hours at Borders or Barnes and Noble with some magazines and friends just hanging out. I get most inspired these days by my girlfriend Holly...She just makes me want to work so hard for the future and motivates me quite a bit to do well. My family and close friends as well of course...Staying low-key and out of trouble...keeping my head on straight.

How have you developed such a coherently eclectic sphere of interest?
B: I’m not going to lie. Having disposable income and time helps. I’m not wealthy quite yet…but I aspire for the finer things in life. While at the same time I have a huge love for true ‘street culture’ as I got to grow up around it when I lived in the South Chicago-land/suburb areas. Shout out to reduced one-ways on the University Park Metra Line. That’s whats up. Either way, so the two smashing together created that eclectic taste I suppose. They are coherent because I think I have OCD and I feel more relaxed when everything in my life is ‘lined’ up in some way shape or form. I would sum it up with like… Levi’s and Louis Vuitton. Or maybe Chinese takeout and Veuve Clicquot. That was kind of a confusing answer I gave…but for real, thanks for the compliment saying that we are coherent.

THE BRILLIANCE : A COHERENTLY ECLECTIC SPHERE OF INTEREST. We should put that on a shirt or something. Ben said it best though, it's really our lives and upbringing that affect our tastes and interests. I was brought up in a conservative Christian home and eventually got very involved in the art world and advertising industry as well as getting very interested in both metal/hardcore music and hip-hop at the same time...so all of those things stay very close to my heart and spin off into what I post on The Brilliance. I also think Ben and I appreciate and understand what it means to truly be smart and savvy in the way we think and what we pay attention to. Never following anyone...

How do you choose the people you interview for the site?
B: Totally randomly really. Just people we like. People that inspire us. People that are behind the scenes are always super cool to work with. Like Alex Calderwood…he is behind the scenes but is truly one of the people that defines our culture. He calls it ‘genre now’ I believe. I like that.

C: We pick out of a hat and then go through a long series of sexual favors and gift exchanges until they say yes. Or we just decide who might make for a good interview, email or call them, and carry on like Ben said. Seriously though, everyone we have interviewed so far is someone who has done something new and innovative in their respective field. Find one person(s) in our interview section who hasn't done something fresh or worked with a truly respectable company and I'll give you this dollar that is on my desk.

What do you think of the interview format?(Can it be limiting? Is it better through e-mail or in person?)

B: Honestly…I like email. It gives the person time to really answer the questions thoughtfully. But candid face-to-face is cool too man. We did Alex’s I person. Chuck did the transcribing on that. Which took forever. It’s no joke doing that! Email is easier…and the whole idea of doing everything over the internet really lends itself to the whole image of what we represent. It’s all very instant and easy.

C: Email is nice because it lets us take time writing questions, sending them, and then having the interviewee take their time and answer when they can. In person we have only done once, like Ben said, with Alex...but that was just a great overall experience for us, not just the interview portion, but the whole trip to Seattle and that experience.

Describe the best interview you’ve done for THE BRILLIANCE?
B: I can’t say I have a favorite. I like Jest’s from Alife quite a bit. He has seen so much in the scene you know? I hate calling it ‘the scene.’ Alex Calderwood’s was inspiring…he showed us around his whole empire in Seattle and put us up in suites at the Ace Hotel which was incredible. His insight and stories where pretty incredible. Who else…Mark The Cobra Snake…funny interview. I don’t think he’d done a lot of interviews at that point which was cool. I mean, doing the futura and 13thwitness one was too wild. It’s funny, cause mad people didn’t know futura was his dad. They are both very cool people. Chuck was more involved with that one than I was. A-ron from aNYthing is really someone to watch man. Something about that dude…he has very focused vision. I didn’t answer your question very well.

C: Alex Calderwood's interview has a headstart on everyone else's because we did it in person and got to travel for it. Besides his though, I really did enjoy A-ron's interview...my man Kareem Black's of course too. They're all perfect actually.

How do THE BRILLIANCE authors stay up when their work is getting daunting or stressful?
B: It really isn’t stressful. Only a couple of times. But nothing intense. I wouldn’t do it if it was stressful. THE BRILLIANCE is something Chuck and I started strictly to have fun. And it’s lived up to that so far.
C: Red Bull, online poker, online Scrabble, a drive, going to the gym, the bookstore, buying groceries, eating the groceries, getting checks in the mail, being with my girlfriend, getting a new job, traveling...lots of things. No time to get stressed.

After rubbing your eyes and shutting down the computer, what’s the drink of choice for THE BRILLIANCE gentleman?
B: Chuck is really into Capri Sun’s right now. He pops pouches like it’s new years eve everyday man. That’s balling. Lately I have been sipping on that Effen Black-Berry vodka on the rocks…my man Scott put me on to it. I like beer quite a bit as well. Beer and hot wings. When I’m trying to look important I drink Ephemere beer…other than that, give me a Coors Light or a Miller Light. And lots of Diet Coke when the computer is turned on.
C: I was into Capri Sun, but I think I might be getting more into Juicy Juice now. I'm not sure though because Welch's 100% Grape Juice is always tasty but I can't say no to a dixie cup full of apple juice sided by a couple of animal crackers. Perhaps YooHoo would do the trick, or just some warm skim milk. All of the above.

I just heard you bought a private jet(almost), congratulations. Where will(would) you be headed for the next month and who are you taking with you?
B: Yeah...we bought it on eBay man. It’s crazy. It goes like 9,000 mph I think. I haven’t floored it yet though. It’s gas mileage is okayish. If I was G4 status I would be in NYC, London, and Micronesia all the time man. For real. I’m sure a zillion other places as well. Switzerland has a cool vibe it seems. But I’m all about little hidden islands and all that. I think our jet can go into space as well, so I would spend some time in space eating that space food man. Who would be with me? Chuck, Chris would be on every damn flight with me, family, my GR crew for sure, old friends, some girls, I’ve never traveled with Jackie, that would be cool. I liked this question.

C: After Ben gets back from Pluto and KY Cygni, that supergiant star, I think I'll take the jet to Antarctica since that's kind of my dream travel destination. My Uncle Leith took a cruise to Antarctica once.

The last time THE BRILLIANCE was in NYC they...
B: That was last weekend for Semi Perm. We stayed pretty busy man. We stayed at The Dream Hotel on like 55th street I think. We did lots of flips on the beds. Jumped from the dresser and the window sill onto the beds which is really far, learned the subway a bit, went to SoHo, went Duane’s constantly for candy, lots of parties, lunches and dinners. Didn’t shop much. But I threw it down at the closing night party. That was a good time for real.
C: Well, I was speaking at the Semi-Permanent design conference at the Lincoln Center, Ben was sitting in front taking pictures of me and making me laugh, we met a ton of great people and had a bunch of really great food. Also I remember Ben and I would skip taking the elevator at our hotel and use the stairs. There was this one part of the stairwell that got suddenly very tiny...like the hallway ceiling was getting lower. So I shouted out "The schnozberries taste like schnozberries..." Get it? Because in Willy Wonka's factory that one hallway...Nevermind.

The next time THE BRILLIANCE comes to NYC they will...
B: Shop more maybe? I want to go to MoMa for real! Spends some more time in Brooklyn maybe. I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it much. Eat at more restaurants! For real, we always go to like McDonalds and Subway when we’re there. We went to TGI Friday’s this last time…in Time Square. Kind of embarrassing.
C: Not ask the concierge at the front desk "Are there any normal restaurants around here like Applebee's or Friday's?" He laughed. We're definitely from the midwest. Who the hell goes to TGI Friday's in Times Square when A) you have some time to kill, B) you have money to spend on food, and C) can go anywhere besides TGI Fridays, where we paid a sadly large amount of money for some hot wings and tortilla chips and had an ugly waitress. Also I'd like to go to a few more boutique bookstores/magazine shops.

Your interest in branding makes itself evident through your choice of interviews and products. What do you see in the branding game right now that is positive/negative?
B: Branding with a lifestyle behind it is always cool. I don’t wear Supreme, but that brand was built from the lifestyle first rather than creating a label aimed at a lifestyle. Supreme is inspiring. The exact same thing goes with aNYthing. Any product that is super quality…Apple. Apple pays such close attention to detail. It’s so evident. That is why they are the brand they are. Blackberry is also pretty insane. They own that market but most people don’t even use the differentiating features such as ‘push’ email...I have always found that interesting. Also, big one, MUJI. I’ll be honest I don’t know everything about them but I am very excited to see what comes of their new presence here in the states. I like really inexpensive but ‘cool’ brands right now…I love the idea of money not being associated with ‘cool’ brands. I don’t feel like answering the negative part. Sorry man.

C: We talk about this often, but one of the most positive things I can see right now in branding is the model that Ikea and H&M both embrace. Fashionable items at reasonable prices. You might not get the world's best quality, but if you want something to look good, stay in one piece, and not kill your wallet, these two brands just really hit the nail on the head. Just my opinion. I really like Ralph Lauren Polo, it's just one of those brands to me that can never, ever go out of style. Punk, prep, hip-hop, indie, art fag...whatever your style is, you can probably rock a good Polo with it and make it work. Just the whole RL brand has something special about it to me, a good heritage. After using Kiehl's bodycare stuff, I now know they're a beautiful brand...If Ben doesn't want to touch on negatives, I will. Pontiac needs to give it a rest, Oprah does not equal young and hip. Scion is getting so diluted too. I forget they even make cars anymore, always advertising DJ's and events more than their product. It just feels novelty to me. I don't know. Oh, on one more positive note...Geico. Every ad agency should be taking notes from Geico commercials. I'll have the roast duck with the mango salsa.

Who are some people that you view as champions of branding/marketing and what is it they do that allows for their success?
B: Steve Jobs is Willy Wonka. I coined that by the way. But everyone knows Steve is super serious with it. Not very interesting for this interview. From a marketing perspective Levi’s is doing their thing even though I am frustrated daily that I can’t obtain their Japanese stuff easier! For real, it really bugs me out. But yeah, Levi’s has the consumer’s attention in a lot of different demographics. Young, old and everything in-between. They have a very function minded consumer which in turn inspires the more fashion conscious consumer because it’s viewed as ‘real.’ They have a great circle happening. I was just reading some report the other day...something like the top 5 brands that ‘young’ people identify with and trust, and Levi’s was in there. I found that really interesting. Google.

C: The Google guys - do you really need an explaination for this one? Alex Bogusky from CP+B Miami - I haven't spoken with him personally but I've had the opportunity to work with Crispin Porter + Bogusky Miami and as far as I know, Alex Bogusky is a genius of a man. Steve Jobs, obviously...Jay-Z, big time - what he has done for black culture is monumental. I just think he's really raised the bar for classiness, determination, and success and turned more than a few heads by this point...Mick Jagger and all of the Rolling Stones. What can I say. If you can keep going after decades like these guys have, you have created a perfectly successful brand. The Rolling Stones are a brand. The tongue logo is so famous and they've never really changed the essence of it. I think their consistency is very inspiring.

What is THE BRILLIANCE going to become in the future?
B: No specific path right now. The site is VERY young and I love natural progression. But I’ll be real honest here…I would love to offer consulting services. You see a lot of these trend spotting firms that do heavy brainstorming sessions with clients to grasp their target demographic and everything related to them…I would like to do that. Maybe for a living some day. I feel like I can ‘see’ things like that. I ‘get it.’ Was that boastful? I’m sorry.

C: Only God, Ben, and I know that and we all pinky swore we wouldn't talk about it.

How many shots of Jager does THE BRILLIANCE need to get loose?
B: Jager doesn’t touch my mouth man. No way. I have done it a few times but I am in no-way-shape-or-form a fan of that stuff. That’s straight pond scum right there. Plus it always reminds me of like hemp necklaces and hacky-sacks for some reason, which is…just not my cut. If I’m sipping anything besides beer it is clear man. And I prefer the actual liquor to not be flavored…keep that for the mixer. But that Effen Black-Berry is something else man. Cloud nine status with that sutff.

C: Ben didn't need any to spell "stuff" wrong. See? Look at the last word of his last answer. Sutff. We're already loose and relaxed. Neither of us went to college and we're doing well and having fun. Plus I don't know what Jager tastes like and I bet I wouldn't like it anyways. Hey thanks for the interview, it was a fun one.

B: Yes. Thanks for this interview…

> thebrilliance.com
> nopattern.com
> benjaminedgar.com

Interview with The Brilliance
By Thomas Bradley
Photos: The Brilliance

> thebrilliance.com
> nopattern.com
> benjaminedgar.com

THE BRILLIANCE exists to serve as a resource for people of all interests around the world. When we launched in the spring of 2005, we started out with interviews from the likes of photographer Kareem Black, internet-fashion-superstore-Japan-based ConceptShop, and Henry Lee, art director of ESPN Magazine. The content is as varied as the tastes of the creators, which span from high-end fashion to cars to islands to art directors and more. We are simply here to share our likes, dislikes, interests, hobbies, and thoughts.

THE BRILLIANCE was started and is run by artist Chuck Anderson of NoPattern and Benjamin Gott of Benjamin Edgar.

Words and images are copyrighted. Please do not use without written permission.
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