Photo Courtesy Hugo Teixeira
Actively creative from early childhood. Christopher has been constructing worlds of his own as far back as he can remember. No stranger to dabbling at many forms of expression; Collage, Diorama, Drawing, Painting and Woodworking to name a few.
It wasn’t until the age of 22, that he decided to pick up a paintbrush and with limited formal training, began creating portraits of which he described as a “Post Modern Film Noir” style. Some of the pieces included, desperate people in dark places and drawings inspired by classic films. The compositions received acclaim in small circuits throughout New York City, but his heart was in film work. So, he decided to sell all of the designs and moved to Hollywood, California; where he worked on various art departments in film production. Gaining professional experience on everything from music videos, commercials, independent and mainstream films. At the time his talents were focused on other peoples’ projects, this left him feeling uninspired to pursue his own artistic endeavors and for several years he stopped painting altogether.
Fast-Forward some 20 years to the present. Living back in New York and having reclaimed a love for art. He creates, purely as a form of expression. It offers a window of freedom to reflect on life and the world around him. Working with mediums such as Collage, Digital and Fine art, he has found a balance that satisfies his need to be constructive. Outside of creating works of his own, Christopher is the driving force behind the art blog Ladder & Key.com. Interviewing artists weekly, posting about upcoming events and helping to spread the word on the art world around the globe for almost a decade.
Recent interview conducted by the PAC (Paterson Arts Council) dated 5/17/18
Q: Where were you raised? Can you paint a picture of your childhood?
Christopher: I grew up in a blue-collar household in the suburbs of a white-collar town in Northern New Jersey just outside of Manhattan. My mother worked a day shift as a seamstress, my father was a night-time foreman for a tour bus company. Mostly raised by my grandmother, she made sure we had everything we needed, but it was my uncles who gave me my first exposure to NYC and the arts.
Q: Did you always create art as a kid, or did you come to it later in life?
Christopher: I have always had a big inner-world and an overactive imagination. I created on every level as a child; If we wanted to play bank robbers, I built a security system panel out of an old shoe box that we’d have to bypass in order to reach the make-believe safe. If my toys were going to be soldiers, I’d enlist my mom into sewing miniature uniforms for them. Even as a child I had a need to see the artistic vision in my mind become a three-dimensional reality. I’ve never stopped creating.
Q: Which artists have influenced your work? Why and how?
Christopher: I love Pierre Bonnard’s work. I wish I had the ability of George Copeland Ault coupled with the Jazz of Stuart Smith. I love provocative imagery – anything that arrests ones attention, like when you walk through a gallery and are unexpectedly drawn-in by a piece. In my own work, that has become an eternal search to find just the right imagery, partnered with just enough symbolism, set in the right color palette or texture, to magnetize an audience and capture that attention.
Q: Any other influences (people, places, ideas)?
Christopher: Travel has been a huge influence. I’m blessed that I have had the opportunity to travel extensively. Creatively it’s allowed me to see and meet artists around the world. Outside of that I look at art endlessly for the website I run www.LadderandKey.com. Everything has a seeping influence. I’ve found inspiration in many of the now 313 artists we have interviewed and I’m continually motivated by their responses. It’s a weekly revelation to carry on making art.
Q: Tell me about your practice—how do you generate ideas, what medium do you use?
Christopher: I take ideas from people, places, things, photographs, a slogan or catch-phrase. I load the concepts into photoshop as a raw idea, smash it all together into some interesting combination, then print it out, draw it on a canvas, and paint it. I’m not afraid to mix mediums -whatever gets the point across best and doesn’t make the message derivative.
Q: Is your art more concept-driven or image-driven?
Christopher: I ‘m somewhere in the middle. I vacillate between a concept-driven image and something that to me is striking and provocative to the viewer. The struggle has always been finding the right balance.
Q: Why do you make the art you make?
Christopher: Because I need a medium for my creative energy. I’ve often said that I was yelled at a lot as a kid – high expectations and all that – so I don’t know how to sit still. There is a level of truth in that. I’d love to just sit, and exist, and do absolutely nothing! I am completely incapable of it though. Maybe I remain active from a mix of volatile inner inertia made up of childhood guilt that I’m not trying hard enough, that I must do more(?)…I don’t know ask my therapist.
Q: Does your art influence your life, and vice versa?
Christopher: Without a question it does. I don’t employ a persona that is “just one thing” all day long. With so many hats to wear, art influences everything I do. I’m an eccentric. I’m a painter. A slap-tagger. A father. And I vacuum with panache.
Q: What do you think about the notion “the lonely artist”?
Christopher: I’m not built like that. I love people. I’m an agitator by nature. I talk to strangers. I love reaction. My art wouldn’t exist without the interpersonal-interaction. I’m not lonely or alone, and my art is an extension of that.
Q: Does your art connect you to the world in some way, or does it help you navigate the world?
Christopher: My art is how I process through our world. Talking to strangers, hearing their stories, provoking a reaction from them, and being able to capture that, encapsulate it with my art, is how I connect. Certainly, that makes my art a direct result of my reactions and perceptions – and a viewpoint I want to share. To create and exercise thoughts and processes past my own lens, is part of what helps me navigate a lot of what I see.
Q: Do you make art for yourself or other people?
Christopher: I make art for a reaction. If I paint a portrait, I want to draw you in to the beauty of the person or their pain. I want the viewer to see it through my lens, my perception, especially if it challenges and provokes them. I don’t think I would be making art if I couldn’t incite a reaction.
Q: What purpose do you think art serves today?
Christopher: Now, more than ever, we must endeavor to create. This world demands our voices and visions to influence change – on whichever side of the aisle you take your stand. Art is the embodiment of that voice, holding a mirror to reflect our progression.
CV GALLERY EXHIBITIONS, EVENTS, SOLO SHOWS:
Art of Fashion, Chelsea Hotel – NYC NY. Curator John McMullen
May 24 2011
Ubushobozi Fund Raiser, Sheep Station – Brooklyn NY. Event Coordinator Betsy Todd
June 10 2011
Group Show, J’DA Residence – NYC NY. Curator Stella Lillig
June 23 2011 – July 23 2011
Art of Fashion “Passions of Style”, Chelsea Hotel – NY NY. Curator John McMullen
June 29 2011
Antagonist Movement, Niagra Bar – NYC NY. Curator Shannon Daugherty
June 30 2011
RawArtist “Illuminare”, La Pomme – NYC NY. Curator Dawn Walsh
July 28 2011
Group Show, HIS daughterStudio – Huntsville AL. Curator Amanda Lyle Dunn
September 17 2011- October 22 2011
Onefive4gallery Group Show, Northern Soul – Hoboken NJ. Curator Cassie Opia
September 19 2011 – October 16 2011
Group Show, Mac Worthington Gallery – Columbus OH. Curators Mac Worthington/Tony Boring
October 1 2011 – November 1 2011
Antagonist Movement, Niagra Bar – NYC NY. Curator Shannon Daughtery
October 13 2011
Group Show, Gallery 122 West – Arcadia Florida. Curator Marc Washicheck
October 22 2011 – December 22 2011
Group Show, NRG Gallery llc – Columbus Ohio. Curator Nicholas Gonzalez
October 22 2011 – December 22 2011
4+Elements Exhibition, Prince George Ballroom – NYC NY. Curator Stella Lillig
November 1 2011 – December 1 2011
Art of Fashion Event, Peter Louis Gallery – NYC NY. Curators Peter Louis, John McMullen
November 11 2011
Billups Cystic Fibrosis Fundraiser, 3rd & Lindsley – Nashville TN. Curator Anthony Billups
November 28 2011
Art of Fashion “Candy Rock Couture” Event, Chrystie 141 – NYC NY. Curator John McMullen
December 16 2011
Art Connections 8, George Segal Gallery – Montclair NJ. Curator Teresa Rodriguez
January 22 2012 – February 18 2012
Viewpoints 2012, Ben Shaun Galleries – Wayne NJ. Curator Alexandra Schwartz
March 26 2012 – April 20 2012
Emotions Expressions of the Human Soul, Le Salon d’Art – NYC NY. Curator Hans Kerremans
May 3 2012 – June 2 2012
BKC Eastcoast Sticker Show 2, Ivyhouse Studio – Brooklyn NY. Curator BKC Crew
June 12 2012
Street Smart Arts, Punk Milk – Melbourne Australia. Curator Justine Milburn
July 7 – July 18 2012
The Crow Show, Shoe Factory Art Co-op – Rochester NY. Curator Beth Brown
August 3 – August 29 2012
Stickem’ Up 3, Orange Studios – Orlando FL. Curator Edward Seymour
September 8 2012
In wall we trust (International Street Art Exhibition II), – Airola Italy. Curator Domenico Naf-mk Tirino
September 29 – September 30 2012
1 ComboLoko, Festival Sem Paredes – Juiz De Fora Brazil. Curator Cão Lopes
October 15 2012
Stick or Treat, Home:bass,- Portland OR. Curators Skam Sticker, Rx Skulls
October 31, 2012
Sticky Fingaz, Elderado Clothing – Perth, Western Australia. Curator Post It Sticker Exchange and BKC Crew Australia
October 31 2012 – November 1 2012
Ignorant Art III, C.I.A. -Los Angeles, CA. Curator Ignorant Art
November 2, 2012
Sticker Jam 2012, GhostGallery – Sao Paulo Brazil. Curator Alxdr71
November 2 2012
Slapocalypse Part 2, Chopsticks Urban Art Space – Oakland Ca.
December 8, 2013
Art Connections 9, George Segal Gallery – Montclair, NJ. Curator Victor Davson
January 8 2013 – February 9 2013
Dead of Winter Art Show, The Gin MIll – Kearny, NJ. Curator Suzy Von Q
January 12, 2013
2nd Annual Members Arts Group Invitational, Rouge Space / Chelsea – NYC, NY. Curator John McMullan
February 7, 2013
Ruffianism Sticker Show 2, Tijuana BD – Mexico. Curator Le Ruffian
February 23, 2013
Urban Area, F.Delpino – Italy. Curator Standard574 in Assoc w/Adna Collettivo
June 18, 2013
Stick Of It All vol.4, – Bilbao Spain. Curator Vida Looka
June 29, 2013
Melting Pop, Firenze – Italy. Curator Stelleconfuse Tree
June 30, 2013
Becoming Whole, The Fine Grind – Little Falls, NJ. Curator Christopher Priority
July 2, 2013
Urban Up, Leipzig/Germany. Curators Rude Leipzig and Chico De La Kaos
July 26, 2013
Stuck 3, Rolling Stock Gallery – Fort Lauderdale, FL. Curator Rolling Stock Gallery
July 27, 2013
DCSS, The Fridge – Washington, DC. Curator Iwillnot Art
August 3, 2013
Inglorious Vandals 2, Gift2gab – Sam Jose, CA. Curator Gift2Gab
December 15, 2013
AutoGraff, The Esplanade Hotel – St Kilda, VIC, Australia. Curator Punk Milk
February 23, 2014
ComboLoko,II Festival Sem Paredes – Juiz De Fora Brazil. Curator Cão Lopes
February 23, 2014
MONSTER POSTER & STICK’AZZ 2, 167B St – San Donato Di Lecce, Italy. Curator Francesco Luceri
Cola Aqui! Stick Here International Urban Art Expo – Santo Andre Brasil.
March 28, 2014
Sticker Nerds 3, TBA – Portland, OR. Curators Skam Sticker, DoctorRasterbator Sticker and Rx Skulls
March 29, 2014
SLAPocalypse THREE, Chopsticks UAS, Oakland CA. Curator Chopsticks Urban Art Space
March 29, 2014
STICKER SHOCK, TBA – Winchester, CA. Curators We R. Fuxus and Art N Delia
April 12, 2014
Stick Around – Budapest, Romania. Curator Creaturi Dragute
April 19, 2014
HMNI, WestSyde – Sydney, Austrtalia. Curator Darren Kalis
May 1, 2014
Viewpoints 2014, alijira – Newark, NJ. Curator Sue Scott
June 7, 2014 – June 30, 2014
Paterson ArtWalk 2014, Art Factory – Paterson, NJ. Curator Matt Gosser
June 14, 2014 – June 15, 2014
Pop Up in Pawtucket, Lorraine Mills – Pawtucket, RI. Curator Beck Lane
September 20, 2014
Catapult- Mag, Issue 2, Owner/ Editor Thena Cartright
The Vein, October 2011 Issue, Editor Jami Kali
Art Buzz, 2012 Collection, Founder/ Director Tony Blue
Catapult- Mag, Issue 8, Owner/ Editor Thena Cartright