Artist and Graphic Designer, Chad Laybourne shares insight into his travels from Italy to the Arctic, and how his upbringing by the ocean in South Africa and his passion for board sports have influenced his creative path and graphic style. Chad is the artist behind the Local Rays collection, and we are thrilled to present the first part of our interview with him.



You are currently based in Greece. What brought you there?

At the moment, I'm actually based in Italy. So it's changed a little bit, but I have been based in a few places, and now it's Italy for two months. From there, I will be going back to South Africa, which is where I'm originally from. That's a move to set up a studio and have a base and central focus area. It's been a lot of moving around over the last few years, like traveling and backpacking, chasing summer and winter. So it's been really interesting and great fun. I've had a base in northern Finland for the last two years, and now I'm wrapping it up and heading back to South Africa.

That's exciting. Where in Italy are you?

I'm in northern Italy. It's very close to Switzerland, actually.

What makes you decide on certain destinations? Is it just chasing the weather, or is there an activity involved?

 A lot of it is activity-based, and I've found that changes the experience so deeply. A lot of it is also weather-based, to do snowboarding or surfing and to kind of follow the seasons around. That has been the big driving force behind us. I think it's played such a key role in finding inspiration and meeting other artists and creatives. It's very different than just traveling without so much purpose. When going to achieve an activity somewhere, you really meet like-minded people. That's so rewarding, I find. The move to northern Finland was based on that. We wanted to come up and live in the Arctic Circle for two years, see the lifestyle. I'm dating a Finnish girl, and we decided on the move together. We were in South Africa, and then we were like, 'Let's go live in the Arctic, snowboard, and see how life is.' Being able to work from a computer and work digitally has been a huge factor in this, having accessibility to a lifestyle like this."

"When going to achieve an activity somewhere, you really meet like-minded people. That's so rewarding, I find."


Is there one place that feels like a home away from home for you?

Italy, to be honest. I've been to Italy, I think, maybe ten times. I've done quite a few winter seasons up there. And I've got a lot of local friends there, which makes a huge difference. And as the years have gone on and I've gone back, it's definitely morphed into like a second home for sure. Learning some of the language changes your perception of a place and how comfortable and familiar you feel with things. Italy, in general, it's just a beautiful place. I mean pizza, pasta, wine, olive oil, and bread. To me, it doesn't get any better. And the coastline is just breathtaking in the summer. So I mean, yeah, hopefully, one day I end up there permanently that's kind of the goal. So we'll see.



What inspired you to pursue a career in art and graphic design?

So I grew up on the coast surfing and being very, very closely connected to the ocean. I was always really creative as a kid and wanted to build things and make things. And I was super blessed to have a father and a mother that supported that. Dad had this really cool workshop, and he was always building and fixing things. And it was an amazing space for me to learn.And I think from a young age, I was just absolutely amazed by any board sport. And it became like a huge obsession, you know? Which I think was a really healthy obsession to have as a young kid. I didn't really want to do anything else. And so from that, it kind of grew. I mean, I was just ripping pages out of magazines, sticking them all over my bedroom wall, like all the time. I was really inspired by the brands and the community that surrounds surfing, snowboarding, and skateboarding. And it kind of became like a big thing to just be like what brand is doing what, and how do they look, or what's their sort of vibe.


At a young age, I remember wanting all this branded stuff, and mom and dad were just like, it's too expensive. So I started just making the logos myself and cutting them out as a stencil and then spray painting them onto my t-shirts. And then friends in the neighborhood wanted to get t-shirts from me, and I was like, ‘yeah, sure,’ you know? And it kind of just developed from there.

I just feel really good making things with my hands. That's a passion and a real safe space for me. Being inspired by graffiti was also huge at one stage for me. And I guess it was pretty fundamental. The idea of making your mark. Because that's sort of the way the community of graffiti runs: Your style, what you write, and where you're putting it up. I didn't know what I would do when I finished school, so I went and traveled.

Then I thought maybe I could sort of take my artistic ability and make something out of it, and that kind of led me to do a degree in graphic communication and visual communication.


Your artwork has a distinct look and feel. Is this something that developed organically over time, or is it a deliberate style you have been working on? 

So I think that I've tried very hard to develop a style, in a way, but it's come through an extreme amount of testing. I've tried to work through the process. Like what the unique subject matter is that I want to work with, or what sort of story do I want to tell. I don't often feel like I really have so much of a style in some regard. Then I speak to other people, and they’ve noticed a certain subject matter that I work with or something of that nature, and they think that it's like really distinct, which is what I'm trying to achieve. And I guess I've put a lot of pressure on myself sometimes, trying to draw something in a certain way that's not really the natural way that I would draw it. And I've kind of come full circle and resorted back to a lot of subject matter and maybe style of how I used to draw when I was much younger. And that's been really refreshing to kind of link back to that and think like, ‘wow, this is how it's always been,’ you know? And maybe that's just what it should be, kind of thing. It's an ongoing process, for sure. Which, to me, is extremely fulfilling because it’s something that can last my whole life and can have so much longevity. So we shall see. But I think working with specific subject matter and trying to have a specific voice when drawing or creating anything is pretty important to me. Yeah.

What mediums do you typically use in your artwork?

Nowadays, I do quite a lot of digital work, which is super great, but I think I am really longing to get back to traditional mediums and to just use markers and paper. That's a huge one. And yeah, a lot of ink stuff. This is part of the push to get a place where I can sort of buy more materials and products and have a space where I can experiment.

Digital work is ideal for a nomadic lifestyle, but I imagine it will be inspiring to explore other mediums once you've established a home base.

Yeah, totally. I think I've been craving it for a while. Making something digitally is one thing, and with the technology nowadays on the iPad, it feels like you're almost painting. But I think making mistakes is really important, and with technology, you can just undo the mistake, which is pretty counterproductive because mistakes lead to really interesting things. It starts pulling new references in, and you see things in a new way, just because you're letting the process sort of happen instead of trying to make it right. So yeah, really, really excited to see where that will go.  


Stay tuned for the second part of our conversation with Chad where we discuss his creative process, daily routines, and favorite way to discover music. You can follow him and his work by heading to on Instagram or visiting his website at

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