An Interview with Chris Rivers
Guy Hepner and The TAX Collection are excited to release an exclusive print with Chris Rivers on Thursday March 26th. The print will be available directly on the Guy Hepner Online Shop on Thursday from 2pm EST. Please contact the gallery directly if you are interested in a pre-release purchase or unique works by the artist.
Being a drummer in quite a large band – how has this shaped your worldview and has it influenced your art at all? Do you feel your music and art merges or is influenced by one another at all?
I love anything which takes your imagination to a different place, art can be a form of escapism for people, both the artist and the viewer. Every artist has a different goal about what reaction they want from someone viewing their work. My role is to create something where people interpret a painting in their own way. I love combining abstract with form, details with mess and chaos with calm. It’s like a dream where you kind of know whats going on but everything is fuzzy and trippy around it. Even if I paint something ‘realistic’ such as a series of flowers in vase which I’ve done recently, I still like to make something not quite right about them. Maybe the falling astronaut (or falling cherubs , skeletons etc I use) Is a subconscious reference to an accident I had as child where I feel 2 floors from a building site!I love to combine different elements to my work in subtle ways, themes of nature, mythology, history, conflict, fantasy, religion and science (which relates to the astronaut work).
Your work seems quite meticulous – yet you have said in past interviews that you take more of an “impulsive” approach – can you elaborate more on this? Do you do any under drawings / sketching or just begin painting a completely blank canvas?
Every painting is different, I’ve got pieces which are painted in a meticulous way (such as the vase still life paintings) but the majority of my work starts in a very loose way. Usually by choosing a colour palette and just going with the flow. I tend to do sketches for anything which has a bit more detail, but for the abstract work I like to just go straight onto the canvas for the majority of the time. I do have a pile of small study / draft type pieces though which tend to be used to experiment with colour.
A traditionalist painter would probably call me contemporary, and a contemporary painter with probably call me traditional. There’s a big void in between which I live in.
You have described your process as having a lot to do with trial and error – what would be your advice to artists who might be struggling to tell their own story?
Its easy to get obsessed with finding a style, your style is your style though, just paint, then your style shows across the body of work you produce. I paint quite a wide variety of subjects and themes, I simply paint what I enjoy. You don’t need to have some big elaborate story about where your paintings come from, people use your eyes and make up own opinion anyway. Don’t follow trends, throw the rule book out the window then go outside and set it on fire. Also, aim to make every painting your masterpiece.
Try not to be sensitive and accept that not everybody will like your work, you can’t please everyone. It’s the beauty of art, we’re all different and any kind of art form is individual expression.
Are there any other artists who have inspired you / who you look up to in your practice?
So many, but most of my favourite artists are long gone. Stylistically I just love pre 1900 artwork, the themes, the brushstrokes, the palettes. Renaissance, Baroque up to the Impressionists. I just love how over the top and grand a lot of these painters where.
What is one thing we can always find in your studio?
A box of Yorkshire Tea bags.
Any other notable collaborations for the future / 2020?
I have my debut solo show in London opening May 21st which is main focus right now.