10 Questions: Chris Dorland

Monday, January 25, 2016
10 Questions: Chris Dorland

I always knew I had something to give or say. The kind of confidence one needs to be an artist for the long haul- I've always had that. Even as a very small child. But it didn't have a name or a real drive until I was a teenager.

10 questions: Chris Dorland
Chris Dorland
New York
Who are you?
I don't love having a fixed, descriptive sense of myself to project into the world. I find it cumbersome and unnecessary- especially for an artist. It seems more realistic, and more interesting, to let other people decide for themselves who I am. I think that's pretty much how it works anyway. 
When did you feel you had to be an artist?
I always knew I had something to give or say. The kind of confidence one needs to be an artist for the long haul- I've always had that. Even as a very small child. But it didn't have a name or a real drive until I was a teenager. I didn't get involved with making stuff until I was about 14. Before that I was mainly a hyper consumer of street culture and pop culture. Not really art though. And then I started making things- drawing and then painting. And it was like "whoa". It solved a lot of questions I had. Life started to have more meaning for me.
The single, life-changing moment, however, was while watching Life Lessons - Martin Scorsese's section of the anthology movie New York Stories- at my friend Katherine's house. It's the story of a successful neo-expressionist New York painter played by Nick Nolte. At that moment- I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I was 16 or 17.
How would you describe your art?
Funny, dark and hopefully beautiful. Or at least elegant. 
What do you hope to achieve with it?
The most powerful thing art can do is transform people's perception. Art is one of the few that things that can truly change the way you view the world. Once you are moved by what an artist is after- you never see the subject the same way. 
So that's always my goal- to communicate an idea- or a feeling- that others can understand and for that to transform how they understand the world around them. 
Which artist has made an indelible impression on you?
There are so many and they come in and out of focus depending on where my head is at. But it's mainly painters and filmmakers. That's what I care the most about. Maybe a few writers.
It's like a really big family. And you are meeting them again and again at different times in your life and having different conversations with them. Sometimes it's with the dead ones, sometimes its with the living ones.
I was just in Lisbon- and had the chance to see the most amazing cycle of paintings by Zurbarán. The 12 apostles. 12 vertical hanging canvases of the same size hung cheek by jowl- a very contemporary installation. They are represented as these world ravaged homeless guys. Dirty, destitute and clinging, almost desperately, to their texts. Each portrait, also represents one of the 12 stations of the cross- so in a sense they are also very abstract and formal constructions. 
It was an amazing experience to be in that room.
Who do you admire the most?
People who double down on their beliefs while also being flexible and generous in their lives. I really admire fearless visionaries who also thrive for compassion towards others and self-awareness all the while being dedicated and committed to pushing their vision into existence. 
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Which subject would you like to know more about?
I wish I had more time and experience being out in nature more. I'm such a city kid- but in recent years (through my girlfriend Erin) I have discovered the true awesomeness of camping and hiking. 
Building construction: 
I'm kind of obsessed with construction these days. The bigger the better- like skyscrapers. They are the pyramids of today. In another life- I would be a contractor for a very large global construction company.
What is the one thing you can’t live without, besidesart/photography?
Plants. I think a world without plants and green things would be the most horrible thing. I love my cactuses.
What do you dream of?
Really big waves.
© Alex Antonopoulos, 2015
Untitled (leviathan) (2015) (ultrachrome ink, gesso, linen, canvas, uv gel, aluminium stretcher bars - 223,5x254 cm)
Untitled (debt economy, ratchet strap) (2016) (ultrachrome ink, digital ground, gesso, linen, canvas, uv gel, aluminium stretcher bars - 150x200 cm)
Untitled (Soft Power) (2015) (ultrachrome ink, gesso, linen, canvas, uv gel, aluminium stretcher bars - 200x200 cm) and Untitled (triumph of personal style) (2016) (ultrachrome ink, linen, gesso, uv gel, stretcher bars - 45,7x35,5 cm)
Untitled (heliotrope) (2016) (ultrachrome ink, gesso, canvas, uv gel, aluminium stretcher bars - 175x120 cm), Untitled (today's man) (2016) (ultrachrome ink, digital ground, gesso, canvas, uv gel, stretcher bars - 101,6x76,2 cm) , Untitled (triumph of personal style) and Untitled (debt economy, ratchet strap)
All images © Isabelle Arthuis, Courtesy of the artist and Super Dakota, Brussels

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