Written by Elise Olmstead
You can tell a lot about a person by talking about their dreams. I’ve had some amazing conversations with Chris and enjoyed the many visions he described to me. I truly believe that Chris is a visionary artist, a label that is used too casually for someone’s skill at the level of Ridler’s. He offers a beautiful and relatable perspective into his world in this interview and we’re glad to share it with the world.
C.R. – Thank you so much for this opportunity. You two are awesome peoples for connecting artist in a time of tested divisive means. Mad love in a mad world!)
E.O. – When did you realize you were artistic? What was the first medium you started working in?
C.R. – Eye am lucky to have had a blessed childhood, first noticed the drawings got me attention which is fundamental for kids growing up. Proving they were drawings and not tracings became fun in aweing viewers that are larger than life, literally. Eye drew since the we ninja turtles came out. My favorite medium growing up was pastels as a youngster but loved drawing with color pencils. This is where eye developed a nack for details and good drawing foundation for a painter. My life in a comic is growing up getting into trouble for drawing everywhere all the time, esp. in bed supposed to be sleeping.
E.O. – I see some Salvador Dali influences in your art, what was it about his art that attracted you? What other artists inspired you and why?
C.R. – Dali spoke volumes combined with time bending, these were legendary steps for one alone whom may define surrealism to some. Dali’s work showed me that anything is everything in our sence of self defining expression. Art became a sence of wonder even our dreams could be addressed. All art inspired me with fresh eyes again of wonderment. Realizing each and everyone all have something unique to offer as a whole even if its just sculptured charactor.
E.O – Did you study art? Where?
C.R. – Yes studied at Shepherd University right here in wild & wonderful WV. Eye studied graphic design then focused on illustration. Finally settling on fine arts and losing myself in paint. My style if eye had one is that of a surrealist visionary painter.
E.O. – Some of your paintings have some undeniable themes of pollution or desolation, when did you become interested in these themes and what spurred this interest in the environment?
C.R. – I have always been obsessed over Nature, collecting National Geographics as a kido. For me it is true in all races upon Mother Earth if we as Humanity dont connect to Nature we wont deffend her. ” The destruction of our Mother Earth is the destruction of ourselves.” title of one of the paintings referencing an image speaks a thousand words. Last note is we have to save ourselves as Humanity sees it before She(Mother Earth) decides to heal herself which might mean a drastic clense of environmental magnatude. Questioning our evolution to sad self- extinction.
E.O. – What are some other themes you like to explore in your art?
C.R. – Abstract visual expressive experiments where the artist has minimal control of the outcome. This is to free the mind of what to do and simply enjoy the proccess again in the act of creation. Patterns would be heavily noted almost scientific yet visual stimuli questioning the world bending order of things.
E.O. – Tell me about the traveling that you’ve done. Where have you traveled? What is the favorite place you’ve lived?
C.R. – A little here and there, eye have been blessed to have traveled/touring an working but plan to do more on the artistic level. Our charactor grows when we travel. This is crucial for artist to expand the minds eye. To travel, to see the world turn as we do even if it is just work that gets us there. Oakland took me by surprise while touring on my way to LA, sorry LA eye hope to make it up still. Eye just Never thought so many badass people could be together being badass in the Bay Area, represent respect & love all the time!! Lived there for three great years. Still in love with the forestry on the west coast. Shout out to DC area, mad love fam, been there on and off for years. Mad love to all that housed meye travels, future past and present!
E.O. – Why do you believe art is necessary? Do you feel driven to create art?
C.R. – Many reasons but three in particular the first being journey of self as healer. Expressing ourselves that being shadows of creation is a healing process. Second would be art as a weapon. Eye noticed how art is kung fu in a secret luanguage few really understood let alone saw something. We have been told how artist expose truth while politricks hide them. Artist as messengers in that sence is going beyond the shallows. All love for the comedians, eye admire how they can walk amongst the thickest ick with ease as graceful as a bird. Third is a venture into the unknown. Using experience as a medium. This is where spontaneous acts are rewarded. The excitement of creating out of all is possible even the artist gets to be surprised most for not knowing what is the research or prepared method matters not. The fact is its happening live not staged. Magic in the very making is attempted till one day over a full many moons emerges a lil mastery of methods. All methods may be fun and lead us onward while art honors entity present most! This is where one must tread careful or be lost in the mass of eye call it- copy pasters/all the samers.
E.O. – What is your artistic process? Do you sketch and plan? Do you paint slowly or quickly?
C.R. – My process is always changing, eye sketch alot, its the breath for the artist breathing into and around the subject. Some visions eye know exactly what to do while others reveal themselves in the process of creating. Eye paint slow usually with lots of layers of acrylic paint. Of all the mediums, acrylics helped me evolve to work the layers up with many water color layers. Water is the best medium for fast drying and many thin layers. After research and sketchbooks eye will sketch with paint, reworking composition to final layout fitting the frame best.
E.O. – When we were hanging out we talked about dreams a lot. Tell me about your dreams and how they inspire you.
C.R. – Dreams are important, eye like to think that it is our inner self experiencing the process of our journey here between worlds. The problem is we have to water this relationship with love to strengthening it. Self love is a radical act opening ourselves to love others more easily. In dream, learning to relate to yourself in a world where we are truelly free. This is where we become avatars, animals, places, things, all this having experiences in a real fantastical world of Dream. Once eye was able to free myself of the day to day life, eye was able to tap into that magical self. Eye would venture further instead of waking up. Everything becomes art for the imaginal heart/mind meaning my heart dreams too enriching the experience all the more. Dreams can inspire the greatest of wonders and help ourselves to see or understand more unlocking what was hidden.
E.O. – What is a medium or subject that you are hoping to try in the future?
C.R. – Eye really want to work 3-dimensional more and always enjoy sculpturing. One day eye will make large scale works naked in muds and clays reminding creator of shadow light boxing good ole days. Viewers are encouraged to inner act and play with the artwork in a field preferably away from all things sharp! Lots of water poetry unfolds the flowers growing again this spring:)
E.O. – How can we buy your art?
C.R. – On my travels, eye bring prints to purchase at booths/tabling events. Otherwise use meye etsy page to view my portfolio and order prints/canvas prints from various sizes. Thank you for supporting the creative community! Blessings