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Interview with Chris Drange – the artist who marries social media with renaissance splendor
Inspired by Old Masters, Chris explores the self-expression of social media culture in a traditional...
Art Stuff 28 Feb 2023
Chris Drange
Portrait of Chris Drange via Artist

Meet Chris Drange, a German artist who marries social media with renaissance splendor.

Best known for his large-format post-digital portraits and realist oil painting artworks, he commonly depicts well-known contemporary influencers and social media symbolism in his work.

Inspired by Old Masters, Chris explores the self-expression of social media culture in a traditional oil painting fashion.

We chatted with the pioneering contemporary artist to get to know him and his practice better. 

CHRIS DRANGE Kendall With Sad Roses, 2020 oil on canvas 114 x 90 x 4.6 cm courtesy: private collection
CHRIS DRANGE Kendall With Sad Roses, 2020 oil on canvas 114 x 90 x 4.6 cm courtesy: private collection

Can you tell us about your background and what made you want to become an artist?

My father was a painter, and his mother and father were as well. I mainly grew up with my grandmother. She was teaching art to children in school, and I was also one of her students. She taught me a lot about painting and painting history; hence I guess I always wanted to become an artist.

What are the key themes/inspirations in your artwork?

To me, art is about self-affirmation. When you develop a positive mental attitude, you naturally create a spiritual connection to the universe. It provides you with freedom and lets you receive endless possibilities, success, and abundance. Everything is a result of that affirmation, whether it is working with objects or images.

CHRIS DRANGE Butterfly, 2021 oil on canvas 220 x 190 x 4.6 cm courtesy: private collection

Are there any artists, either historic or contemporary, that have influenced you?

I always get inspired by the luxurious abundance of Baroque paintings, particularly by Vermeer, Dyck, Velázquez, Rubens, and Caravaggio, because there is so much declaration to live. I feel the same lightness toward Pop Art and many contemporary works e.g., by Takashi Murakami, Nick Doyle or Daniel Arsham. I also enjoy watching Peppa Pig with my kids.

What do you do to become inspired again when you face a creative block?

I love to spend time with my family.

Music or silence when working? And if music, who are you currently listening to while creating your art?

I am very much a visual artist. When I work it is mostly without music and my work often involves talking to a lot of people. But I often listen to music before I start working on something to let my mind wander for inspiration and while driving in my car. Currently, I like to listen to Taylor Swift.

CHRIS DRANGE Puppy With Pink Blossoms, 2023 oil on canvas 160 x 132 x 4.5 cm courtesy: the artist
CHRIS DRANGE Puppy With Pink Blossoms, 2023 oil on canvas 160 x 132 x 4.5 cm Courtesy: the artist

Are there any other tools or mediums that you would love to experiment with? Or any other themes or ideas that you are hoping to engage with next?

One day I would love to release a work of sculptures. I am currently still experimenting with several technics and approaches.

Can you share with us any exciting future plans you are currently working on?

I am working on a new series of pattern paintings that I will show in 2023.

You can find out more about Chris Drange and his work via his website and social media channels here:

chrisdrange.com

@chris_drange

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