Interview to Cris Wicks


Cris Wicks is a talented artist from Los Angeles. This is his Behance profile and this his Vimeo.

Hi Cris. We know almost nothing about you. So tell us who you are, what you like and everything you want us to know.
I honestly don’t really know what to say about myself, it’s easy for me to talk about art and creating but I’m not sure what I would like to say about myself.

I love your typography portraits. Tell us how you created them.
I begin the typography portraits by selecting a photo to work from, then with the photo in mind I compile the quotes I would like to use in the portrait. If I am going to use a collaged background I search for and gather old newspaper articles and other paper memorbillia about the person. Then it’s time to begin the portrait. First I lay down the background by gluing lots of paper memorbillia onto a canvas, then using acrylic paints and spray paints I stain and paint the paper to the desired colors. To begin the face I like to paint in a solid silhouette on top of the background and then roughly draw in the lettering in pencil. Once the lettering is drawn in I begin painting in the letters using the photo as a guide for shading. I work from shadows to highlights until the face fully emerges. From here I use a palette knife and scrape in acrylics to form any clothing or hair. Finally once the painting is done I pour a thick epoxy resin finish over the entire canvas to give the piece an encased, solid, and glassy feel.

Hand painting, collage, spray painting, stencil, pencil and pen on paper, linocut printing, silkscreening and a little bit of digital art: you used a lot of different techniques. What do you prefer?
I like every medium! I don’t have any standing preference or one I enjoy more than others. I enjoy experimenting and learning new techniques and will get bored if I use any one for too long. So I am always trying something new and constantly combining and mixing methods just to see the result. My mind is in a constant search for new techniques and materials to create with.

You painted Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Tupac Shakur, John Lennon. So you love music, don’t you?
I do love music, I think everyone does. I have found much inspiration for life and art in music. Through music a person’s words and thoughts take on their own existence, they often transcend even the death of the person’s physical form and live on echoing through future generations. Music is an incredible communicator.

Your works are mostly personal projects or commissions? What do you prefer and what do you do when you can’t find your inspiration?
I spend more time experimenting with my own projects. I practice and try out ideas daily. I create tons of work, most of it is just rough and experimental and will end up getting painted over, stashed away somewhere, or just thrown out. I do a lot of commissioned projects as well but there is definitely more constraint when creating someone else’s vision. I like to create not knowing what the end result will be, I enjoy watching a painting evolve freely as I go. When doing commissioned work I lose a lot of that freedom and it has to be more controlled and thought out.
When I can’t find inspiration I read, I listen to music, I walk around a city, I have conversations with friends, anything that feeds the mind. I try to expose myself to lots of new ideas and reexamine old ideas. I get the mind turning and making new connections and hopefully some inspiration arises.

Tell us something interesting we don’t know about your art.
Just about every painting you see probably has between 2 and 10 other paintings underneath it. I enjoy the process of creating art, the end result doesn’t interest me as much. So if it’s 3 in the morning and I want to paint something and I have no blank canvases at the moment I will just pull work off the wall and paint right over it.

Does it happen to you to be unsatisfied with the final work? What do you do then?
I always think I can be better but I don’t get discouraged or upset if I don’t get the result I desired. I taught myself how to create visually so I’m used to trying an idea or technique and messing it all up. I challenge myself to accomplish what I think I can’t do and I usually stumble along the way. I take every piece as a learning experience. It’s all just experiments. No time is ever wasted because it all teaches and makes me better. My mess ups are usually when I discover something completely new. I often find new ideas and inspiration in my mistakes.

The last question is one that no-one has asked you but that you would like to be asked. What is it? And thank you for your time.
I would love it if someone asked me to accompany them on a round trip to the moon and back. I know that’s probably not what you meant but it was the first thing that came to mind.

February 2014


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