Chris is an artist with a flair for portraiture – and not just of the human kind! He loves to capture personality in his artwork and combined with his passion for animals (especially dogs!).
This has formed the basis for his upcoming exhibition at the sunset gallery…
Hi Chris. What’s your family history … how long have you lived in Port Macquarie?
I was born and bred in the small NSW country town of Leeton, where my parents still live, but moved around a lot independently after high school. Like most young people in small country towns, I was itching to explore after I finished my HSC. I achieved an undergraduate degree in visual arts at Australian National University in Canberra and moved to the Gold Coast to study teaching shortly after that, and I have also studied graphic design. Since then I have traveled and worked in Europe and various regional locations here in Australia. I have been in Port now for almost two years, and I’m finding myself pretty settled. I really like it.
Please tell us a bit about your career background and your current job ..?I have been a visual arts teacher in secondary schools for the past five years; however, have recently transferred across to the vocational education system working for North Coast TAFE. I teach graphic design subjects here in Port and visual arts subjects down in Forster/ Tuncurry. I also work in a freelance capacity in graphic design and take on private tutoring at times. I love being able to switch between the disciplines of Art and Design. I have equal interests in both and love to share that love and expertise with students who value similar things.
I have always found the time to practice as a visual artist alongside other day jobs and exhibit as regularly as possible. My last solo show was at a small gallery on Sydney’s Oxford Street and was titled, my mates that skate, a collection of mixed media portraits of my friends involved in the skate scene. My next show is pretty different in terms of subject matter, and it’s been super fun to make.
How and when did you first become interested in art?
Hmmm … I think I have always loved making things – particularly 2D things. There was a bit of a jump in age between myself and my siblings, so as a child I often had to entertain myself. I distinctly remember this one time, when I was quite young, maybe only 5 or 6. I had the urge to paint but could not find any paint brushes. I found a stick though – and sticky tape! All I needed was something to use as bristles. My dog at the time, Belle,helped solve that problem by allowing me to cut a part of her long black locks and tape them to the stick. It didn’t work very well, but I recon that’s where my passion for art (and animals, for that matter) was initiated.
Describe your artistic vision/technique … what subjects do you most like to paint/ draw?
I like to paint and draw personality. I love portraiture, be it human or animal and try to express personality through layers of line, colour and texture. I use a range of media, like oil paint, acrylic, pastel, pencil, spray paint etc. – whatever I have lying around in my studio, really. I like the way that some mediums can work in very unusual and unique ways when used in conjunction with materials that you wouldn’t normally use side by side.
What media do you most like to work with (and why)?
At the moment, its oil stick. I consider myself more of a drawer than a painter, and it kind of allows me to “draw with paint”. Such fun!
Describe some of the pieces you’re currently working on?
Dogs, dogs and more dogs!
You’re planning to hold a solo exhibition of your work in the Sunset Gallery. What dates will the exhibition be held?
It will run from December 13 through to January 3.
Give us some idea of how many pieces of work you’re hoping to display in the exhibition? Is there a theme that will connect all the pieces?
Well, that depends on how proactive I can be over the next couple of months and how long I lock myself up in the studio for. I’d say upwards of 10 pieces of a variety of sizes. The theme is dogs basically. I love dogs!
My mum is a vet nurse, and growing up all of our family pets were rescue puppies. The aim is to reflect the variety of wonderful personalities that dogs have to promote more pet adoption.
You plan to donate some proceeds from the exhibition to the RSPCA. Why have you chosen this charity to be the beneficiary?
I have chosen this charity because of the fantastic work they do here in Port Macquarie and all over Australia. I will be donating part of the proceeds from the entire show to the RSPCA and will be having a silent auction on opening night for one of the pieces, from which 100% of the proceeds will go to the charity. It’s all still in the planning stages, however … there may be some other exciting thing to occur on then night to help raise further funds.
Where can people see samples of your work, or contact you if they’d like more information?
I’m working on my website at the moment, but in the meantime people can see work on my Facebook and Instagram accounts and also the loop for graphic design portfolio. Instagram@cradleytheloop.com.au/cradley/portfolio or I can be contacted at email@example.com for commissions.
Thanks Chris. Interview by Jo Atkins.