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Chris Chun On Finding Inspiration In Nature, Food, & Rats!


Chris Chun On Finding Inspiration In Nature, Food, & Rats!
Yin and Yang Lucky Water by Chris Chun

The Artling is delighted to introduce Chris Chun - an accomplished artist, textile designer, printmaker, illustrator, ceramicist, and creative director. His Chinese name means jade, so it's not surprising he loves everything green! Also, Chris is a Gemini born in the Year of the Pig which probably explains his artistic and cultural taste.

Inspired by the beauty of nature and all its infinite charms, his lyrical and thoughtful approach to his work has resonated with fans across the globe. We spoke with the artist on the launch of his new collection celebrating 2020 - Year of the Rat. 

The Rat by Chris Chun

Could you tell us a little more about your journey as an artist?

I always loved drawing from a very early age. I knew I had some talent when all the kids in my Grade 2 class asked me to draw their Easter Bunny! My parents were very supportive; I remember during school holidays going to a community centre doing macramé, ceramics and candle making. I got a degree in textile design from RMIT so I have been actively working in the fashion / home / textile industry for over 20 years. I have been practising as a professional artist since 2004 when I had my first solo exhibition in Sydney.

A friend and former colleague told me she was opening a gallery and I casually mentioned to her that I've always wanted to have an exhibition and paint. Like 'some pie in the sky' dream like climbing Mt Everest; it was something that I had thought about doing someday but definitely wasn’t on my immediate radar. But she got out her diary and said 'When do you want to do it?' So I love challenges and I was bored freelancing so I said 'yes' and picked the last possible date on her calendar that year.

It was also just after my father had passed away and he was a chef, so my exhibition was like an ode to him; it was all about food, my childhood memories and family traditions. Luckily for me, the show sold out. I continue to exhibit around the world as well as still do design and commission work for clients around the world. I also license some of my artwork onto greeting cards, ceramics and textiles. I'll always be grateful to my friend Gillian for taking a chance on me.

Image Courtesy of Chris Chun 

Why have you chosen your mode of practice?

Because I come from a textile background, most of my has mainly been2D, either on paper, canvas or fabric. Using a wide range of media from ink, acrylic, gouache to hand embroidery and even sand, I like to mix it up and combine different textures and finishes. I’ve also started working digitally on ipad using Procreate which is incredible though I am very conscious of not spending too much time on devices.

Tea Garden by Chris Chun

What are some themes you find yourself drawn to when creating your works?

The beauty of nature and all its infinite charms is a huge theme in my work. Whether its flowers, plants, animals, insects, the natural patterns, forms and textures that occur. I also like to explore my Chinese heritage and putting my own unique twist on traditional artforms such as bird and flower paintings and porcelain. My work can be quite detailed so I like that having that ‘sense of discovery’ and to bring a smile to people’s faces when they see my work. A noticeable theme you’ll find in my work is the combination and juxtaposition of old/ new, hard/ soft…I love contrasts.

Image Courtesy of Chris Chun 

Image Courtesy of Chris Chun 

How do you find inspiration for your work?

Traveling to new places is perhaps my greatest source of inspiration. I like to visit museums, art galleries and ‘live like a local’ wherever I am. I am always photographing, sketching and taking notes. I can inspired by everything and anything – it can be a scent, walking in nature, cracked paint on a facade or the light in a particular place. This affects the colour differently around the world. I love antique textiles and ceramics. Surprisingly, I actually find a lot of colour inspiration from food, especially some of the pastries and cakes from high end French patisseries. And if I’m lucky enough, I get to eat them too which is a bonus.

Chinese Noodle Bowl by Chris Chun

Metal Rat by Chris Chun

Do you have a favorite piece within this series? If so, why is it your favorite?

I think my favourite piece is ‘The Table Jester’. Rats are always looking for food so I thought this was a fun take on this, using chopsticks as stilts walking across the table. Rats are not the most attractive things to paint so I wanted to add a charm and playfulness.

The Table Jester by Chris Chun

What’s next for you as an artist? Do you have any upcoming shows, or are you perhaps exploring other mediums, materials or themes?

I am having an exhibition in Sydney for Chinese New Year. LUCKY is part of the Sydney Lunar Festival Program and I will be showing a series of limited edition Zodiac prints using gold leaf. And I am also excited to work on a new project with paper cutting and sculpture. And maybe starting that new book on colour that I have been thinking about for the past 10 years

The Rooster by Chris Chun

Captivated? So are we! Click here to check out more of Chris Chun’s stunning zodiac art.
Have a bountiful Lunar New year! 


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