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Draplin Design Co., North America


Woke up south of Chicagoland, just a couple miles shy of where all those highways bottleneck around the Gary curve. A sketchy part of the world. Driving, exits, cornfields, downtown area….just, fucking rough. All of it. I managed to make it through unscathed, into South Chicago. Got off the highways and onto Lake Shore Drive all the way up until Wacker where I turned west, and cut the city in half over to the Coudal Partners compound.

395. “Wacker, driving like a gorilla.”


I had a little business to discuss with Jim Coudal, of which the key details are “under wraps.” Be patient. High level negotiations, handshakes from the partners and a couple Pixies discs later, we sat down for a quick interview.

396. “Jim Coudal, Coudal Partners, Chicago, Ill.”

Jim Coudal is no stranger to the bright lights of the media spotlight. Web sites, radio and even CNN want a piece of the guy. He’s got big ideas and a refreshing entrepreneurial spirit that is changing the way designers look at traditional business models, client relationships and having the guts to put yer money where yer mouth is. Very inspiring. Finally, someone gets to the bottom of the real questions surrounding the Coudal Partners phenomena…

Draplin Design Company: Thanks for sitting down with us.
Jim Coudal: I was already sitting down.
DDC: That’s right, okay, so, what the hell?
Coudal: Huh?
(Long Pause.)
(I get out of my chair and look out the window towards that Sears Tower.)

DDC: Quite a view you got here, eh?
Coudal: It’s pretty good, right?
DDC: Okay, Jim, don’t dodge the questions.
Coudal: Wha…
DDC: What’s up with heat in this town? I’m sweating like a pig.
Coudal: Yeah, it was cold and raining and warmed up all the sudd…
DDC: That’s speculation.
Coudal: Wha…?
(Another long pause. Some staring. Raised eyebrows.)
DDC: Okay Jim, let’s get serious now, shall we?
Coudal: (Silence.)
DDC: Okay, so, what’s next for Coudal partners?
Coudal: You leaving the property.
DDC: Right. Real good. Thanks for yer time.

397. “That view that just about ended the interview.”
398. “Coudal Partners, working away on cool shit.”

Jim’s always been one to offer up great advice and has inspired us to chart new territory in our little world. Sears Towers of appreciation. After I blew the interview to shit, we mended our relations with a cold beer at a mafia joint a couple blocks over. Tough crowd. Thanks again, Jim!

399. “Busy day in the city: Casing the joint.”

- - - -

Then I called up Cody Hudson of Struggle, Inc. After a little phone tag, I was hauling ass south on Michigan Avenue, thinking about the first time I saw that big street when I was a mere 15 years old or something. Awesome.

Cody’s studio is south of the big buildings a bit, in Chinatown. A great view of the city, big ceilings and ample space, I found myself severely jealous. I got a tour and stocked up some goodies and we hit the streets for some chow. I’ve been a fan of Mr. Hudson for many years, starting a little collection of his work way back in my Minneapolis years. Great type, great style, great color, great stuff. Finally got to meet the guy and get a handshake. Midwest, Represent. One of Chicago’s hidden treasures.

400. “The view from Cody’s alley.”
401. “Cody Hudson, Struggle, Inc.”
402. “Struggling.”

We headed out to a little joint for some supper. I devoured a tasty hunk of pork. Cody massacred a chorizo quesadilla. Washed it down with a couple Old Styles and some chatter. Good shit. Thanks again for the time, Mr. Hudson. I’ll be back soon. Really.

- - - -

Got Cody back to his studio and jumped that I-55 heading south by southwest. Got about 40 miles away from the city and called it a night at a Days Inn in some shithole called, “Romeoville.”

I stocked up on some hotel room provisions at a truck stop and a fella of large size stopped me in the aisle and said, “HeymanyoulooklikeMickFoley?” in one fast sentence ended with a squeaky little laugh. Then he walked away.

Due to the fact that the little turd behind the counter could barely form a sentence, much less “reset the modem,” we were cut off from the net all night long in the room. I wanted blood. Who the fuck is Mick Foley? I hate going to bed with towering questions…

The next morning the net was mysteriously working: I Googled Mick. Here he is. He’s a wrestler, man!)


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