Studying art, graphics and finally illustration at art school in Manchester, Chris went on to the Royal College in London where he completed a Masters degree.
Chris works in gouaches, painting on Italian and Indian handmade papers as though he’s using a pen. He takes a great deal of inspiration from his travels – to India, North Africa and New England, for instance.
Colour is important to him and, fascinated by how it affects people, he uses it on an emotional level. He sees colour as the place where art meet science, and in his quirky artworks you’ll see multicoloured zebras, dazzling birds and even pink elephants. In addition to children’s books, he creates dazzling imagery of scenes from around the world, and crazy, complex cityscapes.
Question: What's the best bit of 2009? Christopher: My first job this year was a ceiling-mural commission in New York. I painted a NY cityscape in an apartment on the Upper East Side. I had great views of the East River and Mid Town skyscrapers from my stepladder. Question: Where is your studio and can you describe it for me? Christopher: My house is a tall Georgian building in Clerkenwell with a shop on the ground floor and that’s my studio. There are large windows at the front and back and so the light is really good. It has big steel safe from its shop days and wood panelled walls, painted white. Question: Who or What is your biggest inspiration? Christopher: Travelling inspires me most. I’m curious to see and draw the world. India and New York are places I love to draw and both have changed the way I work in colour and energy. Question: Do you keep a scrapbook? Christopher: I’ve been keeping scrapbooks for years. Collecting bits of ephemera on my travels and pasting them into scrapbooks. I always pack a Pritt Stick in my luggage.
Question: Favourite project? Christopher: I’ve been making some picture maps lately and looking at the World in a pictorial way. Question: What would be your dream job/commission? Christopher: Something to do with drawing cities and exploring them. I was commissioned by Qantas a while back to make pictures of places they flew to. That was a dream commission. Question: Who is your art hero? Christopher: Picasso is the best. I’ve been looking at his last pictures and they’re beautiful, full of wit & energy & tenderness. His work is so moving. Question: If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? Christopher: I’d like to travel the length of the Nile from Ruanda to Egypt, and draw the journey. Question: Have you any hidden talents? Christopher: Long distance walking. I once walked from Edinburgh to Iona [including two ferries].
Qantas, Windstar Cruises, Royal Mail, The Folio Society, Sherbet, BBCFavourites
: The cafe at Kenwood House
: Museum of Folk Art
: gouaches paints
: Judd Street Bookshop
: Indian Tea