Chris Sedgwick – Oil Painter

Jay Billups

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Fine Art Oil Painter

A classic case of the mistaken workaholic. Hmmm, I know this well. A workaholic, as defined by, is someone who works compulsively at the expense of other pursuits or someone who is obsessively addicted to work. That doesn’t sound good. What about someone who is focused and dedicated to their craft; spending exorbitant amounts of time dedicated to their art, expressing their inner soul and creativity? Well, that is something completely different … Let me introduce you to fine art oil painter Chris Sedgwick.

The Alchemical Divination of Soul Synthesis

Chris paints on gold leaf in the Old Master style. To my eye, his paintings have a spiritual and mystic feel to them. His work reminds me of something I would see in an old church or very old, significant buildings.

In high school, with some assistance, Chris felt very connected to the earth, as if it were one big organism. This is very similar to the Gaia Hypotheses (kind of like the movie Avatar and the associated planet, Pandora). His first paintings were very surreal, emphasizing rituals and strange poses. When Chris moved from home, he became increasingly interested in religion and spirituality, which were also reflected in his work. He’d make up magical rituals for his paintings, but he didn’t have a lot of direction.

Chris studied sculpture and painting at Florida State University. He so completely immersed himself in his work that the staff gave him keys to the painting and sculpture labs. In addition to his talent, Chris became a professional artist through pure drive and determination.

As his art and career progressed he was still looking for a direction. A collector of his work gave him a book called Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception by Max Heindel which had an immense impact on his art and philosophy. The book is heavy in esoteric symbolism and it was right up his alley. From there, Chris began to educate himself on traditional esotericism, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, and old Master Style.

Something that many artist struggle with, initially, is finding their own style. Artists find inspiration in the work of others and grow from there. Chris was no different. From early on in his career, one of his biggest influences was Maxfield Parish. Maxfield was an American painter and illustrator known for his saturated hues and neoclassical imagery. It’s easy to see the effect in Chris’ artwork. His impact was so great that Chris named his son after the painter.

Another strong influence is Norwegian figurative painter, Odd Nerdrum. He paints in the Old Master style. Unbeknownst to Chris, his style was very similar to Nerdrum’s. It wasn’t until one of the last days in college that someone asked, “Hey, have you ever heard of Odd Nerdrum?” In short term he went to the library to look up his work and found that he has done everything that Chris wanted to do. From that point Chris slowly changed his path to differentiate his work and set forth in his own style.

Chris began painting on gold leaf, which was heavily influenced by Gustav Klimt, and Austrian symbolist painter. He starts by covering the canvas, Baltic birch, with gesso and gold leaf. He then paint directly on the sealed gold leaf which gives his painting a wonderful texture. You have the impression that his work was taken off of an ancient wall and preserved in a frame. You truly get an old-world feeling from his paintings.

Chris splits his work into three different types of subject matter. The first is realistic painting, what you see is what you get. Beautiful work, but not intended to represent any deep meaning. Second is esoteric symbolism, in which he takes a concept from something, like freemasonry, and turn it into his own symbol. The third form, and most difficult, is using his inner emotions and expressing them through his work. He takes his own feelings, the full range, and translates them into esoteric symbols. Chris literally puts himself deeply into his work for all to examine.

His paintings are largely enjoyed by different sets of people, those who know and appreciate the symbols and those who simply enjoy the high level of artistic value and emotion of the human condition.

You can find his work in the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center and, most notably, in the high-end Grand Bohemian Hotels, owned by Richard C. Kessler. The Grand Bohemian hotel have galleries and high end art in their rooms which is available for purchase. A great venue which supports artists.

You may view Chris’ constant drive as being a workaholic, but nothing could be further from the truth. A workaholic is someone who is addicted obsessively to work for works sake. Chris is driven to create and express for a desired outcome. His “work” is enjoyable and fulfilling. ➢ |  |

Read in print issue 2016-09

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