Artist Profile: Bryce Chisholm

Bryce Chisholm

I love street art; I love the colors, the raw nature of the subject and materials, and I love that its charm comes from the fact that it originated on the streets. Because of the fact that street art is associated with graffiti and tagging however, it has a fairly negative identification. To me this is a tragedy; an highly skilled, highly detailed art form, totally underrated because of misguided perceptions. It sounds like some over-dramatized movie plot, similar to The Soloist, but it really is sad that so many beautiful pieces are overlooked simply because they are done in spray paint and draw inspiration from the streets.

Bryce Chisholm

 

Which is why I’m glad there are people like Bryce Chisholm to change all of that. Bryce takes the skill and practice that it often used in artworks on the streets, and puts them to a canvas, blending the spontaneity of oil painted backgrounds, with the crispness of hand drawn stencils. What comes out in the end are intricate works of art–with small details, complementary colors, and great variety–that harness the badass personality of general graffiti, as well as the class of formal visual arts.

Each piece is unique, drawing on different subjects, and colors, and shapes, and I was so surprised to find out that we had something like this here in Reno–it’s times like these when I feel lucky to be from somewhere that’s cultural enough to take interest in things like art, but small enough that artists don’t have a complex when it comes to the public.

I couldn’t wait to pick yet another creative brain from big-little Reno, and as usual, Bryce did not disappoint. If you haven’t come across his work yet, it will be on display at Reno Art Works May 3 through the 31, and I highly encourage you to go check out his street art innovation.

Bryce

Lets start with the first question, why stencil?
I was going to UNR at the time, doing big oil painting with Michael Sarich. I started painting these things that were two, three colors that were basically stencils and I started wondering why I wasn’t just doing stencils. It started with small things and then expanded. I do brushwork and stuff too, it’s not just stencil.

Do you have schooling, or are you self-taught?
I went to UNR, I never really graduated. It was my minor, and Spanish. I’m self taught with the stencil part. It’s online, with banksy and whatever, but I didn’t know anyone that was doing it.

Where do you find your inspiration?
I did a series of kids, one is my daughter, so that was some of it. I did a bunch of native Americans, and a bunch of animals. I’m really into, obviously, females. I’ve sent prints to Germany, Canada, [etc], and pretty much every state in the US.

Have a favorite artist?
I would have to say maybe like C215, he is a stencil artist as well. He does a lot of street work. I went to Europe and saw a bunch of his stuff. I like Banksy, but I wouldn’t say I do things like him.

Dream job?
I would like to be doing this, of course. I did a Colin Kaepernick piece, and this guy called me to design for the NFL. If I could do what I’m doing, and work it with the NFL or MLB that would be great. I could pick my favorite athlete and design shirts and stuff. I want to go to New York and have a show, and San Francisco and have a show.

What do you aim to do with your painting, other than making money?
I guess I just try to like, portray street art in a beautiful way. Street art and graffiti get a bad name. If I could do murals on like graffiti covered walls and incorporate other graffiti into my work it would be really awesome. If I could just get people to see it as a beautiful artwork.

Bryce

Best experience painting?
I would have to say, doing the Nevada Fine Arts mural. I had wanted to paint with those guys for a long time. It brought together a bunch of really great artists, it was a big space and a really great learning experience. Learning that you can make a living doing what you want.

Worst experience?
Probably when you get commissions, and then don’t get paid. So you paint something for someone, spend a bunch of time and money, and then they tell you they don’t want it. I always get half up front now.

What do you find most rewarding about it?
Well I mean I love to do it, and have people see it. But it’s something that I have to do. The background are like a therapy to me, I mix colors, and paint. When you start cutting a piece, it looks like nothing, and then as you go on it comes together, that’s always rewarding, finishing.

What do you find most difficult?
Maybe people undervaluing it. Everybody wants something for nothing. That’s why I started making prints, it’s cheaper for other people.

How would you describe your style?
I’d say mine is a street art high graphic. I try to make my cuts nice and smooth. I just do it by my eye, not Photoshop like a lot of people do, so I get smooth lines.

Do you think your painting could change the world?
I wouldn’t say in any great way. If I can effect the people around me that like them–I have like 300 followers from Brazil, maybe I can change Brazil?

Do you want it to?
If it could make people see things in a different view or different light… Everyone is going to see something different and it could change the world that’s awesome. If it could change a few people that’s enough for me.

What other kinds of things do you do?
Well I have a kid, so that takes up a lot of time–gymnastics, swimming, etc. I pick up side jobs when I have to.

You’ve lived in Reno pretty much you’re whole life, what are the ups and downs, artistically and otherwise?
I would say as far as ups, there’s a good crowd, good people, positive outlooks, good artists. For the downs, it’s a lot of the same people over and over. There are places like Stremmel that can sell painting for like $20,000, but there aren’t a lot of big buyers, and if there are they only go there. A lot of people love it, they’re into it, they like it, but there’s no market.

Are you methodical and by the books, or impulsive and random?
I’m kind of random on what I work on and how I do it, but I definitely like my method. There’s no set schedule so a little bit of both. My backgrounds are random, I grab colors, do brushstrokes, I add stuff until I like it. There’s no method, just madness, it’s my therapy. I try not to think about it or worry about it too much.

Bryce was great to talk to; he’s a very friendly guy that shares a love of art and a desire to increase its appreciation. He has pieces up in the gallery, as well as on his Facebook page, Abc Art Attack, and as I said earlier I highly encourage you to go see it. Meeting an artist like this reminds me that the practice of art is changing, and what it comes down to is someone caring deeply about their craft. There is a lot of work and effort that goes into Bryce’s paintings (you don’t win RAW Reno Artist of the Year and Visual Art Blast Juror’s Choice for nothing)–my hope is that people really do begin to see the beauty he tries (and succeeds) to convey.

Gallery being set up at Reno Art Works

Gallery being set up at Reno Art Works

Monday Night Mash-up: 5 Favorite Artists

Okay, so first and foremost–this list was surprisingly hard to make. Not because I struggled to find five artists worthy of deeming my favorite, but because I limited the number to just five. One of the beautiful things about art for me is that it has the ability to impact my life in a variety of ways, and the range of art only adds to the range of areas in my life it inspires and intrigues. Another things I love is the magnanimity of what falls under the umbrella term of ART. Each artist has a style, and a form, a medium and a message, and each one has come into my life at just the right time, filling in some gap in my world that needed a bit of creative filler. These artist draw materials that range from canvas to skin, with colors drawn from all ends of the spectrum. These are my fave five, which are yours?

1. Banksy. A very well known street artist out of Europe (let’s be honest, is there anyone who hasn’t heard of him?), who specializes in political works–generally stencil but sometimes free-form–that most often convey some kind of bold message. I think the style is passionate and raw, and comes from a daring, yet coy creator. I believe it is still a mystery as to his (or her?!) true identity–though speculations have recently been made.

To me Banksy is just highly visually appealing. The pieces are simple, and yet very masterfully created. I have The Girl With The Balloon, a very popular Banksy piece, tattooed on my forearms, as well as printed on large formatted canvas on my bedroom wall.

banksy

2. The French tattoo artist Xoil. It is my life goal to get a tattoo by this man. The works are unlike anything I’ve seen before–just beyond imagination. He mixes regular images with geometric shapes to create pictures that invoke feelings of wonderment, mixed with a slight feeling of being disturbed. The colors are mostly primary and black, the topics of interest usually something slightly circus-esque.

I stumbled across the work of Xoil while browsing tattoo websites on the internet, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I love the statement pieces he creates, and you can really feel a sense of personality–he obviously puts a lot of his own heart, soul, and ideas into his tattoos, which for me adds greatly to the feel.

xoil

3. This art is from a Japanese anime film called Five Centimeters Per Second.
The film is directed by Makoto Shinkai, but the art itself is done by various people. It is both animated and drawn-out art, which is what helps create the immense beauty. The color scheme is breath-taking, and the choice of scenery and natural content is unsurpassed. Honestly, the first time I watched this film (I have a tendency to latch on to anime films and watch them again and again), I was nearly moved to tears by the work of art.

5cm

4. Brian Viveros: female painter extraordinaire. Another artist I have been familiar with for many years, Viveros portrays women in very provocative ways, challenging gender stereotypes while at the same time highlighting others. His paintings are very similar, yet each of them holds its own certain charm. The women look tough yet coy, seductive yet intimidating to every degree.

I think the women are all very lovely, and the mixing of American memorabilia, tattoo art, and natural elements creates very impacting art to me. Plus, who wouldn’t want to be a badass woman with awesome plant-hair?

viveros

5. Minjae Lee: aka, my newest obsession. She is a young South Korean artist who mixes paint and illustration to create some of the most amazing pieces I have ever seen. The precision of her work pairs with the intense color-black and white mix to make insanely beautiful pieces. Always a portrait of a woman, always conveying some sad, or brooding, or mysterious emotion, always mixed with geometry, and color (and did I mention it was intense?!) What else can I say? This. Is. IT. 

lee

It is very important for an artist to be able to appreciate another artists work; in fact, I would argue that it is one of the greatest ways to gain inspiration and motivation. As I stated, there are so many other artists who could have made this list, but what’s important is that a little bit of the beauty that the world has to offer can be spread and appreciated, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Do It mYself: Decorating on a Budget

In just under two months I’ll be moving to Seattle (new food, new people, new ART!), and in light of that, I’ve been brainstorming on some home décor ideas. I currently have a theme started that centers around a grouping of Banksy canvas prints I have hanging, which inspire the rest of the room to follow a palate of essentially grey, black, and red. Now, if it were up to me—or should I say if it weren’t so up to my dwindling bank account—I would run out and order a few more street-art prints, maybe some ironic pillows from Urban Outfitters, and call it good; but, that’s not the case, and I’m stuck designing on a budget.

It sounds horrific at first (queue dramatic thriller music), but with the Internet, and an imagination that never really grew-up, I’ve become quite proficient in everything Do It Yourself. I love the movement—and I think Pinterest proves that it is definitely moving—I love what it stands for, and I love what it inspires people to do. You see, it’s not just the idea of having trendy-chic items in your home; it’s all about making them.

What I think this does (beyond just giving us freaking awesome looking houses), is remind people the value of hard work, dedication, and a final rewarding payoff. Technology has inspired in the world a sense of entitlement; an instant-gratification-generation of people who have forgotten the importance of the craft, of art. Even a simple home project (like the one I did today!) can exercise the artistic side of the brain and offer a creative outlet; all the while being a blast and giving a handmade, self-made product that you can be proud to show in your home. So why not? Go out and DIY!

As I said, the project I did was simple, cheap, but above all fun and rewarding. Allow me to introduce, the Tissue Paper Pom Pom. Now this is by no means a new craft (in fact, I did the same thing a few years ago in pink!), but it is always a favorite of mine, because these things look great when they are finished. A few tools, a few steps, and one super new décor item.

Photo: Flikr

The first thing you need is materials. You’ll need:

  1. Tissue paper, any color.
  2. Floral wire (as you can see my desperate lack of resources resulted in me using twisty-ties, it worked just the same).
  3. Scissors.

materials

Step one: stack eight sheets of tissue paper, cut to size (I recommend downsizing; I left mine as-is and they were really big!). Make 1 1/2 in accordion folds hamburger-side, making sure to crease with each fold.

step2

If your folds don’t line up perfectly, don’t worry! Mine were a bit uneven but at the end you can’t even tell. Make sure you are creasing well, because it adds to the charm later on.

Step two: take your floral wire (or in my case, produce ties), fold it in half, slip it over the paper to the center and twist.

Ties

Step three: cut the ends of the paper into either rounded, or pointed edges, depending on the look you desire. Mine are rounded, but I like pointy just the same.

Edge

Step four: this is the slightly challenging part (for me at least), but now separate the layers, pulling from the center one at a time. Just make sure to be gentle, because this stuff really tears!

Layers

Step five: fluff and finish; you’re all done! Now you can take some string, attach it to your wire, and hang your new custom decoration from anywhere!

Finish

These look great alone, but I like to make a few and hang them in groups, because it allows for variation and added color.

The whole project takes maybe twenty minutes, but what you get at the end is a lot more than just a new item; you gain a sense of satisfaction that can only be achieved through working with your hands, exploring your own talents and abilities, and coming out with the confidence of knowing that you are able to make something cute, artsy, and all your own.