Interview with Artist Chris Demma
What is your medium and why did you chose it?
I have painted for over 25 years. First dabbling in the acrylic paint. I have found the speed at which acrylic paint dries prohibited me from achieving the look, and feel I sought to create my artwork. My favorite medium is oil.
How long have you been making art?
I have been painting for over 25 years. I fell in love with painting when my mom and dad gave me a paint by number of the last supper ( 9x 11”) oil painting set for Christmas. I was 8 years old. I was hooked. I finished the entire painting that day. Boy were those spaces small. I was thrilled when mom had it framed and hung it in our home. I needed to furnish my first home with art and on a teachers salary, one can't afford to buy much art. I decided to paint my own art. I started with acrylic paints. I also worked in pastels, loved both of those. When I finished graduate school my sister-n-law invited me to her art class. I decided I would attempt oils. Hooked again with art, I have continued to explore and develop my skills. I have completed nearly 300 pieces of work of which 95% have sold. Unfortunately I do no have photos of my earlies pieces, but the two below are two of my earlies pieces in oil.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I have been an avid hiker and biker and love the Az landscape. As an Az native
I love to explore the highways and byways around this state. I take many pictures of plants and objects I find curious. I review my images and develop a composition that will intrigue the viewer to look and linger at the image/painting I have created. I have loved the style of Georgia O’Keefe and Vincent Van Gogh for many years. I love the bright bold combination of colors Vincent used and the composition of Georgia’s work has always intrigued me. I am constantly reviewing art on pinterest as well as gallery artwork. I will forever be the a constant student of art.
What does your studio look like? I live in a space that is surrounded by the desert beauty. Unfortunately my art studio is also part of my kitchen. The best part is the natural light and the ease at which I can move my easel outside makes it perfect for lighting and plein aire painting.
What is your favorite time of day to make art?
I work best in the early morning. once I get started on a painting project I can lose myself in the art and the next thing you know its past lunch. Later daytime is good for working on a composition. Mornings are best for me when it comes to painting.
Do you listen to music or have complete silence when you work?
I most definitely listen to music. I was surprised with an “Alexa” for my birthday last year. My music tastes range from blues- like BB king or Etta James, to Santana, to Paul Simon, to the classics. It’s funny how your energy level often dictates the music you listen to for painting.
Describe your creative process.
I work from my photos. The pictures I take while traveling either hiking or biking are put on my computer. I view these photos cropping in a square shape. I do this because 90% of the paintings I create are done on a square canvas. I continue cropping / editing those pictures until I see a composition that I find intriguing (and hope the viewer will too) While looking at my art magazines and the boards on my Pinterest program I see wild combinations of colors that inspire me to create colorful renditions of the botanicals I paint. I am also inspired by some of the western genre as well. We have traveled to many ghost towns as well as borrowed my cowgirl friend’s gear to shoot western still life’s. They have been very popular and fun to create. I am fascinated with abstract paintings and have begun to work on a few projects. I am also pursuing plein air painting and hope to develop my talent in that area.
What else would you like people to know about you or your art?
Art energizes and intrigues me. I love to experience art where I travel. I seek to learn new strategies in the painting process in each project I begin. I love doing commission work. Collectors interested in my art receive an informative consultation in their home. I bring various size blank canvases along with 1 or 2 finished paintings and many of my photos to explore the subject of the painting. The collector can see in their home which canvas size is best for their spot along with what a finished painting would look like in the area. We explore photos and discuss modifications. Many collectors commission the painting at that time. I typically require 1/3 down to cover the material costs.
My art notecards have been a huge hit. They were created from my paintings and are sold at the Fountain Hills Artists Gallery and at art shows I attend. They are printed on archival cotton paper which gives the feel of a painting. Many collectors frame these cards because of the rich colors and the quality of the paper.
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