Tell us about the past 15 years. What steps in your career path led you to where you are today?
Man, the last 15 were quite a journey . . .
After I graduated from Walnut Hill, I went to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn to study industrial design (of all things). I wanted to go for painting, but when my parents and I visited for orientation, the school suggested I would fit into the design department due to my 3-D skills. My parents liked the sound of that, and I couldn't really disagree with the practicality of their argument. Also, the design department at Pratt has a unique approach to studying the language of form, which was the only thing that could actually convince me to go into that field.
I knew if I wanted to learn design, then I couldn't paint at the same time. So I stopped painting. It worked, because the stuff I needed to express still had to come out. I became fascinated with the study of 3-D abstract analysis, the language of form, and I felt that was my new medium. As I became more passionate about it, I discovered my love for furniture design.
From there I entered the design world working freelance in a variety of fields, as well as pursuing my own designs. Technically all was going great, but I couldn't shake the feeling that something was very wrong. . . . I knew it was the painting. I tried to suppress it. Then one day after a rough month of being totally overworked with a deadline, I snapped, bought a ticket to Switzerland for a month with the sole purpose to check in with painting . . . and long story short, after a six-year break, found that painting was still it.
Then came the crazy adventure of adjusting the course. At the beginning, I painted during every free minute while I wasn't freelancing. In 2009, I started to share some of the paintings on my website and they got some attention online. I took every opportunity that came my way. Slowly some group shows came, some press, some corporate collaborations, and some sales. Gradually I phased out my freelance design work to a very flexible part-time office job that my bestie and fellow Walnut Kelsey Miller hooked me up with. And finally, finally . . . I found myself back where I wanted to be all along: in my own studio, spending time with paint.
What projects are you currently working on?
Last year, I published my first art book on my current paintings and painting practice called Chrissy Angliker PAINT/ING/S. Now, I'm back to painting for upcoming shows at Craig Krull Gallery in Santa Monica, California, this July, as well as my next solo show in Baden, Switzerland, in October at Galerie 94.
What is your favorite memory or experience from your time at Walnut Hill?
There are so many favorite memories from then—all the adventures with friends and bonds that were made, new things I was learning, the whole thing of living in another country, adjusting to the culture and trying to shed my accent (which I still have, by the way). But hands down my favorite memory is being in my senior studio painting. The moment that I got to Walnut Hill and saw the seniors up there going to town, I couldn't wait to have my own studio. In my senior year, a lot of times it was just me and Jake Fried. He would be going off on a canvas and I would start smelling mint because he was using toothpaste for some of the layers. His paintings were amazing! We would talk a little bit and then go back to work. That busy solitude was my personal heaven, and it felt and was so important.
Do you have any advice for our aspiring young artists at Walnut Hill?
Try to really deepen your connection with your art form and go all the way with it. Be crazy with it, take risks, have fun, get to know it, and have it be the most important thing to you. That's the cool thing about Walnut Hill: it's a place where your art is celebrated as the most important thing and is taken very seriously. You don't really find that everywhere, so nurture yourself with that energy, fill yourself up with it, get strong with it so that when you go out into the world, you can draw energy from that well of strength and confidence in yourself and in your connection to your art from.
A note to Chrissy's peers from the Class of 2002—we hope you will all join us on campus for your 15th Reunion on May 19 & 20!