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Studio Visit With SF Artist Chris Dorosz: Interview & Secrets

Artist Chris Dorosz maintains a studio practice in San Francisco where he teaches at the Academy of Art University. Why is it that when I look at Chris, the song by Rod Stewart comes to mind, “Some Guys Have All The Luck “? Excited to have a studio visit with the talented hunk, I hoofed it over to his studio which is literally circled by a free way. I was blown away by his refreshing, calm demeanor, art perspective and his baby blues made me weak in the knees.

Out of material discovery I began to regard the primacy of the paint drop, a form that takes shape not from a brush or any human-made implement or gesture, but purely from its own viscosity and the air it falls through, as analogous to the building blocks that make up the human body (DNA) or even its mimetic representation (the pixel).
With this in mind I’ve been working towards creating a narrative of materials as the groundwork to explore changing ideas of human physicality.

What are Paint drop sculptures?

The ‘paint drop’ sculptures develop the idea of the ‘staple paintings’ further by trapping fallen paint drops in a grid work of clear vertical rods.  Through the viewer’s movements in aligning and de-aligning these pixel-like paint drops, full body portrait forms emerge and vanish.  By placing my subjects in a form of ‘stasis’  through the medium I mean not only to protect them for a little while, but alternately to underscore the tenuous nature of human physicality  where any moment life as we know it might just collapse into a pool of droplets or drift upwards into the atmosphere.

Q & A: 

A B: As a kid were you more introverted or outgoing?

Chris Dorosz: I was and still am a typical Libra…you could call me an introverted extrovert. In other words I know a lot of people, I’m not afraid to introduce myself to someone or get up and speak in front of a crowd, but participating in group dynamics is something I’ve always steered clear of.

A B: Were you most likely to be found with a baseball bat in your hand or a paint brush while growing up?

Chris: Always a paint brush in hand. In fact during high school I’m sure I was close to developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with the continual use of large house painting brushes as my stretchers paralleled the colossal dimensions of puberty.

A B: What are you currently working on?

Chris: In a weird way I’m working backwards from my paint drop sculptures onto the two-dimensional surface. The paint drop sculptures for those of you who don’t know trap paint drops on a grid work of thin plexiglass rods or monofilament to form three-dimensional figures in the round. This was initially developed with a simple question “what if”. With this same challenge I’m wondering “what if” this three-dimensional explosion transferred itself back onto the 2-dimensional surface. The trick here is for the painting not to look like a pointillist painting where an image is made out of painted dots, but to make the dots exist in space, overlapping, to make up an atomized volume and mass of a structure, this time though on the two-dimensional surface.

stasis 34 (gordon brown and family) acrylic paint dripped on plastic rods, plastic support 12.5h x 20.5l x 6.75w" 2011

A B: Do you have any super human powers?

Chris: Yes, I can tell you the name of any color and how to make it.

A B: Your work containing paint drops, would it be considered sculpture?

Chris: I produce it within the context of painting, although the way I view painting is sculptural if that makes sense. I think most painters do. That’s what’s so fantastic about painting and why it’s prevailed for so long, that it is sculptural first, no matter how thin the surface, while simultaneously evoking space (even the flatness of color field painting can do this).

A B: Who has been a heavy influence on you and your art?

Chris: All those involved in my existential crisis, oh and Kate Bush.

self-portrait with pee jar acrylic/gel medium, industrial staples on canvas 27.5" x 40" 2011


A B: You also teach at the Academy of Art University. What personally do you get out of teaching?

Chris: A work Visa. Seriously though, the course I teach on color theory has given me a wealth of knowledge that I use every day in my own practice. It’s true that to remain successful and enthusiastic a teacher must share in the learning experience alongside his or her students. Teaching also allows me some interaction outside the solitude of the studio where my students and I immerse ourselves in a great subject.

A B: Would it make you boil over to be classified as a gay artist and not just an artist?

Chris: I would love to be classified as a gay artist, although I don’t think I am painted as such. My interest in the atomization of matter and reality I think is a direct response to my particular experience as a gay man trying to find a way to “come together” and fit into the world. I think most people perhaps associate gay art with subject; although I would love to sit down and draw the male nude like those beautiful Tom of Finland drawings, unfortunately it’s not what I feel the call to do.

A B: Is there a place for politics in art?

Chris: Ummmm, political art off the top of my head doesn’t interest me. Maybe it’s because there are answers in politics…vote for this party or that, support this issue or don’t. Art to me is amorphous presenting all answers while presenting none at the same time.

A B: Give me your 2 cents on manscaping.

Chris: Did it in the 80s, don’t do it anymore. Love a beard whether trimmed or not. Anyone who looks like they stepped out of a world war 1 photograph will get a head turn from me.

stasis 14 paint, acrylic plastic 12.5h x 20.5l x 6.75w 2006

A B: Where can people find or purchase your work?

Chris: I have two dealers that sell my work, Scott Richards Gallery in San Francisco and Katzman Kamen Gallery in Toronto.

A B: You being from Canada and all, what’s one thing you think the US can learn from Canada?

Hypnotized by Chris's work!

Chris: Canadians seem to have a pragmatism that carries over into politics and the media. For instance if the governing parties in the House of Commons come to a grid lock in passing bills as is the case currently in the America Senate, than the government must collapse and call an election for the people to go to the polls and in theory resolve the problem. Another example of simple pragmatism at work in Canada was a while back from the Canadian Radio-Television Commission ditching a bid against letting Fox News broadcast in Canada. The CRTC has a simple directive that states it is illegal to lie on the radio. Yay Canada!

A B: Could you tell us all a juicy secret?

Chris: Well, a little known fact about me is that I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome when I was around 10. It’s greatly diminished over the years, but let’s just say I might not necessarily be disagreeing with you if you see me shaking my head.

A B: What can we expect from you in 2012?

Chris: In 2012 I’ll be turning off my cell phone, looking at Facebook infrequently all the while working in the studio, putting together a body of work of paint drop sculptures for my dealer in San Francisco for an exhibition sometime in the summer/fall. Concurrently I’ll be putting another new body of work of paint on canvas (described above – my first in ages) for an exhibition at my dealer in Toronto in February 2013.

stasis 33 (the dunlevies) acrylic paint dripped on plastic rods, plastic support 12.5h x 20.5l x 6.75w" 2011

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