I fantasize about being a painter. Small caveat, I can’t paint. Or draw. Even my stick figures look a little “off.” How can a stick figure look “off?” I don’t know. But I promise it does.
So you can imagine how much I was hanging on Chrissy Angliker’s every word when we met for coffee. I was entranced by her paintings before meeting her, but after — wow. This lady is a creative I aspire to be.
She takes risks and even relishes in the chaos of creativity, all while producing art that she wants everyone to interpret and enjoy for themselves.
Friends, meet Chrissy!
Can you talk a bit about how both chaos and order are found in each of your paintings?
The paint and I have become equal collaborators. Paint became my greatest teacher once I stopped rendering it into submission, and invited it to work with me. A big focus of my process lies in creating a balanced relationship between control and chaos. For every intentional mark I make, my medium challenges it. This theme arose from my own realization that life itself is a balance between control and chaos. As people we have intentions, but we must anticipate the intervention of outside forces beyond our power. Each painting gets created out of the back and forth dialogue I have with paint about my subject.
What’s your relationship to paint in three words?
Mentor, Collaborator, Muse
Where did you get the idea to start manipulating the paint with the back of plastic spoons?
As most of my shifts in my painting style, that came out of an accident. I was working on a subject that I was getting frustrated with and the paint was just building and getting so muddy in color in the process. I grabbed the plastic spoon that I was using to scoop paint from the big jar into my mixing cup to basically mark the end of that failed piece, I flicked whatever I had left on that spoon onto the canvas. And there was my answer! I started moving that multi-colored paint blob with the tip of the spoon and saw how it maintained the layers of color. That’s how the new exploration with the spoons began.
You were originally in a more corporate environment, what do you love and hate about being your own boss?
I studied industrial design in college, and practiced that for 2 years after graduating. I was a freelancer for basically all of that time, except for the one time I tried to be an employee to get health insurance. That attempt lasted just shy of 3 months. The reason for it was that full time used up all my time, and I couldn’t get the balance to work on creative endeavors I found meaningful and stimulating. It was during those couple months where I was squeezed too hard and in rebellion I started painting again.
So for most of my time as a practicing designer I was my own boss. I love when you’re boss, every choice you make feels personal and important. There is none of that vanilla commitment to what you create or how you conduct business. You mean it and you own it and you live for it. There is a huge sense of personal responsibility, which I love. But at the same time that responsibility is a double-edged sword, because you are also stuck with all the worries, the risk-taking, disappointments, letdowns and insecurities…
Also just because you’re boss doesn’t mean you know everything—that’s something that I lovingly embraced into my painting process, but grapple with when it comes to tough business decisions outside of the studio.
As a boss you can’t be a complete island; in the studio yes, but on the outside you need consultants and mentors. I’m constantly learning from the wisdom and knowledge of others. And New York is an incredible place to pow-wow with fellow hustlers.
What I do miss from the corporate world are the water coolers. That scene was just so good! Most of my days at the studio I’m in complete isolation and don’t talk all day. Over the years I got completely used to it and now miss the isolation if I go too long without it. But maybe one day I’ll get a water cooler for the floor and see what happens.