Interview with Christopher Reiger
q) What is your name and what do you do?
a)My name is Christopher Reiger. I am an artist and writer.
q)When did you really get into art?
a)Like most children, I loved to draw. Unlike most children, I never stopped doing it. Because art is a vocation, I think that's a familiar story among artists.
q)How did you come to the realization that you should try your luck at art on a more serious level?
a)I was in my teens when I decided that I would pursue art professionally, but I wasn't so much thinking that I should "try my luck at art" as I was accepting that I was compelled to take the creative path, for better or worse.
q)How did you discover the particular style that you have?
a)I believe that style and content are outgrowths of our individual nature-nurture development. It's an evolution. Therefore, I don't feel that I "discovered" my current style; rather, it just grew out of my experience and my makeup.
q)How would you describe your style?
a)Because of my adolescent love of comic books and cartoons (both of which I still hold in high regard), I cultivated a graphic style early on. Today, a bold or sharp line continues to feature prominently in my work. Also, I've long been enamored of antique scientific or diagrammatic illustrations. As a result, my color and compositional choices are guided by illustration, though the concepts "illustrated" in my drawings are enigmatic or poetic.
q)Who or what influences your art?
a)The list of my influences and inspirations is long and varied. Some of my very favorite celebrated artists are Hieronymous Bosch, Albrecht Durer, and Egon Schiele, as well as contemporaries such as Walton Ford, Tom Uttech and a host of others whose stock rises and falls day by day. I also adore a predominantly anonymous cast of antique illustrators and artistically inclined biologists, as well as a great many comic book and strip artists.
Moreover, my artwork is indebted to ideas drawn from anthropology, biology, theology and philosophy texts. The ever-growing book piles in my apartment are the richest wellspring.
q)How often do you create a new piece?
a)I produce artwork inconsistently. One week, I'll complete two or three drawings and work for many hours on a larger painting. The next week, I might work on a number of pieces, but finish nothing. Whatever the case, I'm always working in the studio and, even when I can't be there, I mull over my art and writing projects.
q)What kind of success have you had with your art?
a)I'm proud that I've exhibited nationally and internationally, and I'm pleased that interest in my work continues to grow. I don't dismiss what I've accomplished so far, but I'd like to be involved with many more projects and exhibitions, particularly those exploring and reinvigorating the social role of art making. I feel strongly that contemporary art should not be an arm of the luxury market. Artists shouldn't prioritize their career; instead, they should prioritize their art and their role as mediators and facilitators. Sadly, this is not a majority opinion and vigilance is required of those artists who do feel strongly about this cause. We need to juggle a commitment to the integrity of our own artwork and an obligation to help heal the damaged relationship between art and society.
q)What would be the ultimate goal for you and your art?
a)I hope to exhibit regularly and to involve myself with exciting cross-disciplinary projects. I don't have an "ultimate goal," however. I feel that a life well led should reveal itself as it comes; I'm enjoying my life and my artistic development.
q)What do you see as an accomplishment in the way of art?
a)Anytime I learn that a piece of mine has communicated an idea or touched another individual in some way, that is a small, happy accomplishment. Beyond the individual artwork or artist, the accomplishments I hope for are so broad as to be abstract; in particular, I'd like to see art again conceived of as an essential part of life.
q)What kind of message, if any, do you try to convey through your art?
a)I don't believe that art should be didactic. If a message is conveyed through my art, I'd prefer that is be subtly communicated through the body of work rather than any individual piece. Above all, I aim to tap into the realm of the question, where our divided fields of inquiry overlap and entangle. This realm demands that we walk in humble wonderment. I suppose that idea is at the core of my work, too.
q)Sum up your art in one word.
q)Any additional comments?
a)In my cosmology, every individual thing is integrated into what I term The All, or The Everything. I'm Nature, you're Nature, the meteoroid in the asteroid belt is Nature, the keyboard I'm typing on is Nature; I find spirit in this interconnectivity. Given the increasing division of contemporary life and work, as well as our seeming need for "busyness," it's easy to overlook the integral whole, but I try to remind myself regularly what a miraculous experience we're a part of. Painting is, in essence, part of that humbling meditation. It's at once annihilative and aggrandizing.