Protest or Stoning
Last Glimpse on a Bitter Cold Day
|Experienced With||Public art, Commissions, Collaboration|
My current body of work connects me to the past, to nature, and to legacy, a multi-faceted theme. Each has a personal link to my life and the concerns I have for my future.
Connecting to the past is the theme that relates to me the most. My rock collecting originated from my childhood. When I was younger, I would collect souvenirs or, as I refer to them now, mementos of places that I have been and significant moments in my life. I felt that the rocks kept me connected to those moments and memories. I had my life’s story in a pile before me. After all, I could pick up a rock and remember camping in the woods, visiting family, graduating high school, taking a walk after a break up, saying goodbye to a pet, watching a severe storm from my porch, etc. Each rock was a moment I stopped and made the choice to manifest my memories in an object.
As a person who grew up in predominately in the city, I have always relished those moments I could escape from people and buildings. I looked forward to camping or long hikes alone in my grandparents’ woods. I am most at peace when I am surrounded by nothing more than plants and animals. Rocks are made, broken down, and shaped in nature. Collecting rocks as mementos allows me to connect myself to them in addition to using them as lifelines to nature. I chose rocks as subjects not only because I collect them: they also have long life spans. They won’t decay in a week or year like leaves or sticks. Rocks, like nature itself, survive.
One definition of legacy is “anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.” This theme has been a focus of my work that I have been struggling to effectively depict it for quite some time.
I am always conscious of the impact my life will have on the future, what memories or moments define me, and what shape the world will take while I am alive and after I have passed. My rock series embodies these concerns. Each rock is a legacy of its previous form; it was part of a larger whole that was changed by time, elements, or unforeseen events. Similarly, each rock’s present character will change. Each rock affects its surroundings. A simple stone may cause someone to trip and be injured; help hold up a highway; slide and start an avalanche; cause ripples in the water.
I look at these rocks, and at my current body of work, and wonder “Which stone will survive the test of time? Which painting will be my legacy?” I have saved these pieces of rocks as mementos of moments that shaped who I am today. In making each choice, have I influenced my own legacy? Will I change the future of those who come after me? I see both answers to my concerns and a new future developing in my work; not just a series of just rocks, paintings, drawings or still life but rather a series of legacies embracing the concerns of my childhood and nature.
Christopher is an emerging artist, who was born and raised in and around Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. In 2012 he graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, where he obtained his Bachelor's in Fine Art in Drawing and minor in Painting.
Currently he resides in Pittsburgh working on his current body of work, Along the Path. He regularly does commissions, and exhibits his work. He shares a studio with his amazing wife, Heather Heitzenrater, in the Radiant Hall studio at 7800 Susquehanna Ave in Pittsburgh PA.
His artistic focus has been concentrated on organic objects with connections to nature, people, or legacy. His work is done in a traditional direct observational style, but with a contemporary twist on concept.