A story teller through vision, imagery and lead by originality. Chris Huang, based out of Boulder Colorado, treads the subconscious terrain and forages his artistic approach from Earth’s ancient roots + nature. I love getting a closer look// more in depth version of one’s personal journey and vision. I am elated to say, we recently composed & hatched an interview with Chris! ↠ read on!
Sammi Kate: Where were you originally born? What is your cultural background? How would you say these two relate to your work.
Chris Huang: I was born in Philadelphia, however I spent most of my childhood and college years in the state of Michigan. My parents were both born in mainland China, moved to Taiwan and then came over to the United States in their 20’s. I can say that both being Chinese and living in MI has influenced my work. My art references a lot of Chinese imagery, not exactly traditionally speaking, but there’s a lot of clouds, birds, flowers to be found and I’ve always enjoyed the composition of traditional Chinese artwork and calligraphy. Michigan in the summer months is an extremely lush place buzzing with life- and has certainly informed the subjects of my work and I often try to capture that aliveness with color and really filling up the space with that natural imagery.
Sammi Kate: What age did you begin your artistic journey?
Chris Huang: When I was young, like most kids enjoyed art- drawing dinosaurs and animals. When I was in middle school I loved drawing comic books too.
Sammi Kate: Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your path as a creative /artist?
Chris Huang: I think it was in my second year of college at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I’ve only ever taken one art class, but this one drawing class really changed my world. Up until that point I hadn’t found anything that I was particularly good at or even interested in, and this class really set me off on this path. I had a great teacher who encouraged us to come to class in the right frame of mind, to arrive comfortable and loose. I immediately knew what that meant, and I had a great roommate who also always made sure I was fully blazed when I would step out the door and head to art class. Needless to say I’d get to class inspired, and wide open to being indoctrinated by the exhilaration of the creative process. And so quickly I rediscovered the joys of drawing-which I had pretty much abandoned in my high school years, but I knew then that going forward I would always have to do it. Maybe this sounds like a cliched college experience, but it really is a significant time I often look back on when that light switch was flipped on in my mind.
Sammi Kate: Your art medium – colored pencil – is beautifully defined & allows for much detail! How do you feel this accentuates what you wish to truly evoke through your work ?
Chris Huang: Thanks! The detail and bright colors evoke the brilliance and beauty of the natural world, the people, animals, and plants that live here. I want them to have a “hyper-real”, crisp look so that they can be seen in an exulted way as the noble, sacred things that they are. The message is really the same in all the work and that’s to offer a new way of looking at something otherwise familiar or even ordinary, honoring the connection of life and the cosmic nature of our shared existence.
Sammi Kate: I believe everyone is an ”artist” in their own unique way. What do you think are some of the qualities that define an “artist”?
Chris Huang: Having the willingness and inspiration to express yourself in a sincere way, which actually is not always as easy as it may sound- in my mind is a major quality that defines an artist. To be a professional artist I think you need to be focused, a little stubborn and willing to risk financial stability for inspiration. You need to have full trust in your self, whether or not its justified, or just be really lucky too. Unless you’re born into wealth, I think most artists encounter some kind of economic hardship. Its not necessary, but the struggles often lend themselves to the inspiration for the process. Lastly, I’d like to add that I don’t necessarily think “everyone’s an artist”, in my world I’d prefer people to say that “everyone can make art”. It makes me wonder, is there another profession out there that people can just flippantly say anyone can do? I wonder how people would respond if we just started saying everyone’s a brain surgeon, or nuclear physicist? haha, only kind of kidding!
Sammi Kate: Can you share with us ↠ a little bit about your personal process while creating your pieces?
Chris Huang: Theres not too much to it. I like to start off in the morning and my studio is just in the backyard, so that makes for an easy transition. I have it set up just the way I like it, so I can get into a creative mindset upon entering. There’s lots of natural light and music playing and I treat it almost like a daily meditation practice. There’s a lot of room for joy and freedom of expression- even in the midst of tedious or repetitive work, I find that often its during those times that my mind can really roam freely and I’ll have a breakthrough idea for my next piece.
Sammi Kate: Who / what or where are some of your greatest influences?
Chris Huang: Just living through this lifetime and its experiences continue to influence my art. I find inspiration in people, places, and nature. Some of my original inspirations come from the psychedelic rock poster artists of the 60’s, Frank Lloyd Wright and his stained-glass art, Hundertwasser the Austrian artist, Chinese scrolls, and most any indigenous art because it really speaks to my ideas of connection with nature and our cosmic origins. I lived in Tucson for a few years and so the southwest region and desert has undeniably influenced the subjects of my art and it’s aesthetics.
Sammi Kate: Where would you like to see your art take you within the next 5 years?
Chris Huang: I’d like to continue making art as a full-time career, that right there is already a dream come true. But, if I were to ask for more, I would be thrilled if I could do a show in another country and have the opportunity to travel because of my art.
Sammi Kate: What keeps you “successful” in your craft?
Chris Huang: I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by supportive community throughout the course of my creative path. From the first people willing to give me a wall to hang work on to the people who have encouraged me by buying my art and turning their friends on to it as well. My wife and family have been there to support me and have in certain years made concessions so that I could focus on art which is the ultimate compliment for me.
Sammi Kate: Are there any current art trends that you feel touched/ impacted by?
Chris Huang: Not so much actually- I’m aware of some of the mainstream trends due to browsing online, however I don’t really subscribe or read many current art magazines. It is intentional on my part because I really don’t want too much outside influence to affect my work, I try to keep it as authentically my voice as I can. It probably seeps in anyhow, its hard to know exactly where all my ideas originate- I’ve been using a fair amount of purple hues lately, and then recently I read that purple is the official color of 2018?! I didn’t even know years had colors, but I guess we’re tapped into this collective consciousness whether we want to be or not. Anyhow, I feel that I already have a strong foundation of influences that I mentioned earlier and a fairly unique style to go with it that I try to maintain.
Sammi Kate: Tell us about your current endeavors. We would love to mark any upcoming shows or events on our calendars!
Chris Huang: I’m going to have an ongoing show at Lucky’s Cafe in North Boulder starting June 18th, and it should run indefinitely as I will maintain the work and swap out new pieces as they are finished or sold. In August, just next door at Logan’s, I will have a solo show there as well. My North Boulder studio is also my gallery, and people are invited to visit and have a look, just get a hold of me first!
Connect with Chris Huang