An Artist's Manifesto: Christopher Mudgett - ONS Manual
In the current “on-demand” zeitgeist where everything is based on the concept of instant gratification, even Art has developed a somewhat duplicitous persona. But there are still a handful of dedicated artists who believe in perfecting one’s craft, and upholding the integrity of the creative process. Los Angeles artist, Christopher Mudgett, soaks in the abundant inspiration of his surroundings, and uses his intricate works to trace a meaningful dialogue with humanity as a whole. It’s always refreshing to engage with an individual who nurtures and appreciates his/her innate talent, and for this particular artist, the pursuit of transcendent art is an all-consuming endeavor.
How did you develop your artistic process and painting style?
Playing it safe is not something I’ve ever been comfortable with. So, when it came to making art, I just went for it and never looked back. My desire to keep pushing the envelope with each new painting has helped me to achieve real mastery and proficiency over my medium. Once I learned how to let go I was able to communicate my ideas more poignantly and effectively than ever before…. and that’s when the real fun began.
If there was one main motivation for the art you create, what would that be?
Paintings and drawings are proof of life. We’ve only got one shot at this thing and creating art is my way of making it count. Each new creation is another indispensable piece of the larger puzzle. With it, I gain a better understanding of myself and the world around me; and If others are compelled to experience my work and it sparks a dialogue, then by all means. Even better.
Let’s go back to the beginning, before you started your career – were you an artistic kid? Did you always know you’d be an artist?
I got lucky. I was born with a burning desire to express myself through art and my soul was on fire. I began writing music at a very young age and was making pictures well before. No matter the discipline, the key for me has always been imagination and thankfully, I’ve been blessed with a lot of it. There is just one catch – you gotta use it, or you lose it.
Living in Los Angeles, what are some of the most inspiring things about the city that spark your creativity?
LA’s got it all, but it’s the people that really inspire me. You’ve got folks here from all walks of life, chasing a similar dream: to succeed at their life passion. This energy can be felt in the streets, and in the cool night air, it’s electric. It’s unlike anywhere else on earth.
Is there a bigger message to humanity as a whole that you’re trying to deliver with your work?
My work is all about relationships. Most revealing, my relationship with myself. Using art as a means to examine my deepest thoughts, dreams and desires gives me a one-of-a-kind glimpse in to who I am and a greater sense of self-awareness in this new digital age.
Who are some of the artists you really look up to and respect – both present and past?
To me, an artist is anyone who creates and invents, regardless of their field. I’m inspired by those who, in the face of great adversity, stayed true to themselves and overcame the odds. When someone goes for it in a major way it truly moves me. The names may change, but the story stays the same. I have learned and will continue to learn a great deal from these accomplished individuals; their wisdom becoming an ever growing part of my own personal and professional philosophy.
Most artists have distinct fashion styles and specific ways for presenting themselves — how would you describe your own style?
Confident. When you’re comfortable in your own skin, the clothes become secondary.
What are your favorite things to do when you are not creating in your studio?
I spend a great deal of time in the studio, there’s just no way around it. These canvases won’t paint themselves. So since I have such limited time outside of work, I really try to make the most of it. I enjoy spending time with friends and family, with those whom I share a mutual respect & admiration. I also appreciate being alone, and renewing my inspiration. I do so by reading books, playing and writing music, traveling, going to the beach and being outdoors, wining, dining, riding motorcycles and playing with my dog.
What would you count as some of your biggest successes to date as an artist?
Being an artist is my biggest success to date…man, it really doesn’t get any better than this.
Most critics of art today talk about an over-commercialization and lack of real artistic depth in today’s artists – what do you make of this assertion?
There’s some truth in it. It seems that both lack-of-depth and over-commercialization in art are becoming more common in our new instantaneous, attention-spamming, social-media-driven world. Sadly, instead of dedicating to craft many prefer to skip this vital step and instead place all of their efforts on keeping up appearances, faking it, rather than buckling down and putting in the work necessary to become proficient. We’re now seeing too much putting the cart before the horse. It can take years for an artist to discover the inner wellspring from which their creative genius flows, it rarely happens over night. I’m no exception. In order to produce anything meaningful, we must be completely honest with ourselves; and I’ve learned the only way to reach that level of awareness is through continuous hard-work and discipline.
Lastly, for all our readers, are there any projects or exhibitions on the horizon for you that you can tell us about?
Yes, lots of exciting things. If you’d like to know more, please visit me online for all the latest updates.
Interviewed by Geo Hagan for O.N.S Manual. Click here for original article.