1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
Originally I’m from San Francisco, but I spent nine years in Chicago where I studied film & writing. That got me a gig as an Art Director in advertising, which can sometimes be a graveyard for creativity. I started doodling after work, to calm my mind (and hide from the sting of corporate emails) and it became a ritual for me. I recently moved back to SF to be a designer on the brand team at Uber.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
Most of my work is all about connection. I like to pair two elements together and see the patterns emerge. What happens when you combine a fish with a road? A computer with a breath of air? A supernova with a bowl of cereal? We’re surrounded by separation all day long, but the universe LOVES bridging that gap for us…sometimes when we least expect it. I’m interested in the space between things.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
I love digital because it allows me to test every possibility in an instant. With the click of a mouse, a piece can shift in a hundred different ways. It’s alarming and somewhat stressful too, since the story can change overnight. Sometimes it’s hard to keep focus on what the work is trying to do, or when it’s finished enough to say “Okay Chris, enough. Eat a cookie and go to bed.”
4. What is your artistic process like?
I’m usually struck by one image—something I write or capture in the world. My latest series was inspired by a house I passed on the street, a beautiful luxury home carved in concrete. Someone had dropped a plastic toy on the steps, and left it there. It was a small child’s piece, bright red. That image haunted me for weeks. It said so much about the people living there. I thought about the way it made me feel, and sketched as many images as I could to capture that feeling.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
I absolutely adore the work of editorial illustrators, who can crystallize a long, analytical concept with a single image. Christoph Niemann, Karolis Strautniekas, Thomas Danthony, Peter Greenwood, Jeremy Booth, Owen Davey…you guys are amazing. Also impressed by the sheer variety of work by Nick Slater, Scott Martin, Jessica Walsh, and the endless parade of product designers & social artists today. Art is so interactive now, nothing is made in a vacuum.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
Art is meditation to me, a time to pause and make leaps I wouldn’t ordinarily make. It takes me out of myself to travel somewhere new. It’s great when you’re sitting in a white-walled office from 9-5 every day, listening to corporate voices buzz and beep until your brain hurts. I love movies and books more than anything in the world. I live for a good campfire tale, adventure film, or riveting account of your weekend from cousin Becky. Any good story will do.
7. Where did you study?
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully in a place where the art I’m making—or the art I like to make—is also my assignment and career.
9. What about in ten?
I want to build products that touch the lives of many people all at once. I want to create art that moves and changes as you interact with it. I want to design images that make life easier, richer, and more beautiful. Ideally, I’d like to make things that work.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
I hope I can let people breathe for a moment and make a connection they haven’t made before. I hope it can cause a little epiphany here and there. And if anything, at least they get a poster out of it.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
Pasta. Literally anything that remotely looks like pasta. It can even sound like pasta. Is it dinner yet?
12. Favourite book?
Too many! Just wrapped up Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy. His recent novel Borne is also great.
13. Favourite genre of music?
Pop when I’m dancing. Acoustic when I’m working. EDM when I’m working out.
14. What are your hobbies?
Anything that involves trees, nature, and belly laughs.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
Probably something involving filmmaking, writing, and a lot of unpaid bills.