Artist of the Month: Christopher V. Hawkes

Pondering (oil, 16×20) by Chris Hawkes was a Portrait finalist in the 24th Annual Art Competition. Hawkes is our October 2008 Artist of the Month.

Residence: Bountiful, Utah

Start in art: I graduated from Utah State University, then traveled to New York City, where the real education happened. I started working on my own and did freelance illustration and had the chance to study under Burt Silverman as well. I’ve been creating concept art and content for video games for 15 years while freelancing and teaching on the side.

Media and genres: Primarily oil, but I use virtually every medium when I draw in my personal sketchbooks. Figure work is my main focus in fine art and illustration. I’ve worked in the comics industry mainly because the figure is so prominent. I love it.

His process: I work from life if I have the chance, but mostly from photos. I paint directly on the surface instead of using pencil. It saves time and ensures the pose is never rigid. I don’t have a set palette; I use my intuition. When I asked him about color, Burt Silverman once told me, “Who cares about color? Just paint the picture.”

Difficulties along the way: Dry brushing can be frustrating because I just like to bash a painting out as fast as I can. It was also challenging because the photo I used wasn’t color-corrected and was shot in low light.

What he’s working on: My gallery and frame shop, Borderline, in Bountiful, Utah, opened about a year ago.

Surprise! There have been several instances where I’ve been in religious groups and mentioned that I regularly paint from nude models—jaws dropped in surprise; people were aghast. What amused me is that several of the speechless people were doctors and surgeons.

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