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Features & Columns

Art Feature

Chris Denovan

Male Portrait in Ruby Red.jpg

ARTIST STATEMENT

When I was at art school I wasn’t being very honest with myself and how can you make art if your not interested in looking in the one place where it lives; YOU! When I left art school I was disillusioned and felt lost in the art world. I turned my back on painting and tried to move forward to something else. So I studied and worked in animation. For 5 years I didn’t touch a brush to canvas once, but I did start to learn more about me.

Then one day someone very close to me died and life did a somersault, which all resulted in me picking up a brush once more. Painting again never felt so right. I resigned from my job as an animator, made an art studio for myself and started to teach myself how to paint again but this time with a more mature and honest approach. Gerhard Richter once said; 'Art is like religion; you only know it once you've lost it'. This rang true to me and I knew I was meant to be a painter and nothing else.

My Art background is rooted in the classical and the figurative. I enjoy drawing, as well as painting and some of my best art experience was life study when I was a student but also as an independent artist. This has been a constant throughout my art experience. I often refer to the work of others, quoting and lifting, then departing from the quotation to try and bring my own voice to the conversation, my own experiences and my own desires.

As an artist I am attracted to capturing the human form by blurring the lines between abstraction and realism. Through an experimental process each painting is built up slowly and progressively. I become wholly engrossed in the materials I use to create my work, in the different qualities of paint and how different materials react with each other, how layers can be built up and then erased to create further detail, how paint runs and splatters and its effect under different external conditions, the textures of the surface, colour composition and composition of form.

This is what gives the work its substance and makes art exciting for me.

ARTIST BIO

Christopher Denovan was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1983. He graduated with a National Diploma from Ruth Prowse School of Fine Art with a body of work focusing on Portraiture depicting Prejudice and Discrimination in gender and ethnicity. In 2006 Chris began studies at 'The Animation School' where he won 1st prize for the 'Creating Characters Competition' and graduated with internationally recognised certificates for Animation Programs; Maya and 3D studio Max.

In 2008 Chris signed on at the animation studio 'Clockwork Zoo' as head of the backgrounds department developing international shows such as Florries Dragons, Caillou, and Mr Bebe.

In 2011 Chris left the Clockwork Zoo studios to focus on his fine art career. He has exhibited his paintings in various group shows locally in South Africa while developing his own personal style.

In 2014 Chris was shortlisted for the Vuleka Competition at Art b in Bellville Cape Town.
Selected Exhibitions

2014
Art b. , Bellville
Rust-en-Vrede , Durbanville
State of the Art, Cape Town

2013

Irma Stern Museum, Cape Town
Salon 91, Cape Town
The White House, Plettenberg Bay
Pendock Wine Gallery, Cape Town
Chandler House, Cape Town
State of the Art, Cape Town

2012
Studio 41 Cape Town

2011
Studio 41 Cape Town

2010
San Remo, Cape Town

2006
Cafe Mozart, Cape Town

MY ART MAKING PROCESS AND INFLUENCES.

My art process really starts with being inspired. My inspiration comes from mainly three places:-

The outside world: Everyday South African people. I try to get out on my bicycle with my trusty camera and ride around snapping away trying to capture Cape Towns diversity.

In my studio: Browsing through art blogs and design magazines always shows me that there are so many ways to be an artist. I like to try and absorb as much as I can from the images I see as a guide to good colour and composition choices.

Creative Influences: The great figurative classic artist that have influenced me are Rembrandt, Diego Velázquez, John Singer Sargent, Titian, Schiele, Klimp, German expressionists, Impressionists. Current artist influences are Matthew Hindley, Robert Longo, Steven Conroy, Kudzanai Chiurai, and Anathi Tyawa.

Composing an image is a very important part of each painting. If you don't get it right here the image won't be right in the end. When doing this I keep three things in mind; Colour, Composition and Respect of subject matter.

Colour: It's important to choose a few (not to many) colours that work well together. Complimentary colours are always a good start.

Composition: This is so important. I've been doing a lot of research on dynamic composition. Balance, symmetry, the golden ration and repetition of form all help.

Respect: Creating a sense of Integrity for the painting is the most difficult aspect. Having respect for my subject matter helps to add a emotional sense of depth that, if you get it right, can speaks to the viewer in that indescribable way that only art can.

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