By Al Gord
Chris Green was born in the United States to a military family. This way of life led to him moving often and living in a number of states. While some might view this as a disadvantage, lacking one place to call home, making new friends often, and adapting to new settings, Chris saw this as a challenge to grow. To this day, he viewed this as an opportunity, one that allowed him to meet a diverse range of interesting people – people who introduced him to their cultures, their histories and their lived experiences. It was these experiences, which continue to this day, that contribute to Chris’ perspectives on life and humanity, a passion pursuant to understanding that he shares through his art and poetry.
Chris, it has been a couple of years since we last ran a piece on you. It is great catching up with you. What have you been up to over the last two years?
Thank you Al, it is great to be back. Time sure got a little slippery over these past two years, eh? Admittedly, I feel a bit overwhelmed looking back at what was, but very pleased with the ride. My focus has been on starting and completing several new projects, or rather, labours of love, conceptions like the Rose Gold Reservations, Valerie, and Master Opus Series. I have also taken on commissions for both art and poetry.
One of the unexpected outcomes of this journey into the world of art and poetry was the doors that kept opening before me, like commissions and collaborations. Getting to know what makes a person’s heart beat – the little details and intricacies that they might not show in their daily life has been a privilege to partake. It really is an honour to give that experience an art form, photography or poetry, and receive that pure, honest feeling they share. I feel that appreciation deep in my stomach. It truly gives me butterflies.
It is evident to me the deep love you have for your work. While you are a photographer, I would suggest that your work is mixed media, since you combine both photography with integrated digital design. Without pigeonholing yourself into one category, how do you see yourself and your style from an artistic point of view?
I most definitely see myself as a mixed media artist as many of these projects combine multiple elements; the more involved works require integration of photography, digital design, custom colouration, and even hand drawn applications. For some works, I will take a minimalist approach as the model or photograph is itself art that I want to showcase, or at the very least, not overproduce, and allow the design to stand on its own.
I have taken a bit of a break from abstract pieces as I wanted to explore complicated, metaphorical subjects in my poetry without overwhelming the viewer/reader, but I have a few ideas that have been baking and are ready to pull from the oven. But do not worry; I have no plans to stop the fan favourites.
I am looking forward to seeing the new concepts in the works. For me, there is something almost spiritual or celestial like about your work. Is that intentional or more a by-product of your style and is that even an accurate depiction of your work?
I am flattered. I consider myself a spiritual person with years of study and degrees in science. Research seems to show there is a celestial element to humanity; I am giddy to hear that it shows through in my creations. I often create or release works on special dates or celestial events, if only to look back on anniversaries with a smile.
That is interesting how you connect your pieces with specific release dates. I find that most artists experience difference phases in their artistic journey. When I think back to your original work, there seemed to be more nature inspired works with a darker palette. Later there seemed to be more images of people – often with a lot of blues and greens in your work. Recent works are less abstract and use warmer tones on the colour spectrum. Do you see yourself as having distinct phases or periods in your art?
I agree there is a natural growth that comes with creating consistently through time. For me, I have felt a compulsion to push the envelope, grow, evolve into an ideal I seem to be chasing, but also a big part of my evolution comes from refining new techniques with the technology I am working with. So, as a consequence, there will be an “era” that I will explore until I feel I have gone as far as I can. Looking back, I think I was in a darker place coming out some necessary storms in my life, watching, and living through the impending hard times we have all experienced. That is not to say my shift into a “light” lens is dismissive of what people are going through now. Maybe I have made more peace with it. I do very much miss the nature pieces; they still call to me.
Artists’ works are often reflective of their mindset. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into how your feelings shaped your art. I have heard you state that your work exemplifies the way you view the world. What does that say about your perspectives on society and the human condition?
Stay, my Heart O’ Mine… Now that is one penultimate question. I have wrestled with that contemplation for many years. Through the blood, sweat, tears of pain, pleasure, paradox, debating with myself and friends about morality and the actions and impulses of others, I find there is yet more to understand, not only with myself but also of humans as a whole. Maybe, like life, I will not have the complete picture until I recede and take time to view that question from a distance. I know one thing for certain. Love exists, and it transcends much of the logic and design of this rollercoaster. I am grateful for that.
Love does exist! As artists we need to most definitely convey that, even more so in what seems to be fractured times. Viewers may not realize initially, but most, if not all of your pieces are complemented with poetry you have written. How does your creative process work?
My process has several avenues. Inspiration will sometimes determine by which I first start, that being a poem and then creating a work of art for the poem. Sometimes, when I am doing an art session, I will put out several projects at once, and over time, I will write the poetry or short story to that work.
Sometimes I will catch a vibe and write a poem in one draft, other times I will write and rewrite the poem or story in my mind over the course of months, even years. That process applies to the art as well. For example, much of the Master Opus Series are ideas and pillars of my personality, experiences that are years in the making.
I would suggest that the writing is even more challenging than creating a visual image. For you which part of the process is more demanding and how do you overcome creative blocks if they happen?
I have heard that as well. I have always tested very high in writing and reading retention so maybe, that helps me in writing poetry. I do not find one or the other more difficult; I suppose it is determinative of my predisposition in the moment. Sometimes I feel like speaking on a certain subject, other times I would rather not speak at all. Sometimes, I only feel like creating something beautiful and that is it. Writer’s block has never really existed for me, as least in my understanding, based on what others have shared with me.
Some ideas require more time like a precious stone in a tumbler, but I look at it like lots of things in life that require time, cooking, exercise, medicine, meditation. The dance between desire and destiny, it would seem to me, as opposed to a lack of ideas or creative conduits.
That is an amazing take on writer’s block, and since your writing is derived from what moves you, I can see how the flow of ideas would come naturally. You definitely have a niche approach to art. With your style being as unique as it is, what has been the response to your work to date?
To my surprise, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. When I first set out on this journey, not having been trained traditionally in art, nor exploring a well-known medium I expected resistance. Although I have met a person or two who has resented me for my achievements without sharing in their personal struggle, meaning they expressed to me because I didn’t the same struggle as they have I didn’t deserve achievement. Paid commissions and joint projects have been some of the most rewarding doors through which to walk. Like I said, of the greatest gifts, meeting and learning such wonderful people along the way is one of them.
Your success is well deserved, and I am glad to hear that the response has been overwhelmingly positive. What is your biggest highlight or memorable experience as an artist?
This is a tough one. My initial thought is toward a birthday present in the form of photographs of my art projected over the nude body of a model I was working with on a project. That was a nice affirmation of my creativity, and actually inspired a new digital technique I employed on later pieces. With that said, working on the Rose Gold Reservations, by far, has been the most memorable and it is fully my honour to toil and participate.
Chris it is always a pleasure talking with you. In closing, where, ideally, do you see yourself in the art industry five years from now?
The pleasure is mine Al, truly. My focus has been and continues to be the creation of high-end art and writing projects. In the near term, I am focused on the timeline up to 2025, so expect me until then. The show goes on over at my Instagram, and look for new my website coming this fall!
Chris Green is assuredly carving his own path in the art world with his combination of a unique mixed media style paired with powerful writing. As he creates new series and develops new pieces, it will be fascinating to see where his journey takes him.