This month we feature a trained architect, a graffiti artist, a beat-box master and a talented artist – believe it or not, these are all the same person! Chris Mac is as gifted as they come and he has hit the ground running this year making waves in all the right circles.
With two very successful solo exhibitions under his belt and amassing a large array of commissions all over Cape Town, the future is looking very bright for this young man…
Where are you based? Why there?
I am currently based in Cape Town. I chose to move here after my studies not only for a lifestyle change, as cliche as that may sound, but also to live my independent life as a young architect in a city that I hope would – and actually has – given me a fresh perspective on the way I carry out my creative life. On top of that, there is an inherent beauty in the Mother City that I can’t quite find anywhere else. The people here have shown me a good hand and as such have motivated me to work on my art.
What started you in your career of art? What sparked your interest in creating art?
From an academic point of view, I’m classically trained as an Architect having completed my Masters degree in Architecture at the University of Pretoria.
However, my passion for the arts stems not only from my love for architecture but also from my love for graffiti, typography, illustration, film, digital design, motion design, graphic design, product design, and industrial design.
Therefore, I can never say that I consciously pursued a career as an artist out of necessity to earn a living, but rather unconsciously out of a lifelong pursuit of wanting to create. It’s always inherently returned to me, my desire to create, and as such has made me more conscious of my abilities as a creative.
Ultimately, I am driven by my desire to share with the people the worlds that dwell within my own mind. I find this has become my only honest means of portraying myself.
What inspires you to create art?
My only true source of inspiration is to create without limitation. Art and the creative process, as with architecture, is a circuitous one – it is non-linear. There is no clear cut means to generating that which you see before you. Furthermore, the creative process has become my meditation. It has allowed me to become centered.
In essence I am inspired by the sensation of being alone with my work – it gives me direction and clarity.
How would you describe your art?
As mentioned above, my art draws inspiration from a deep pool of creative influence. I would therefore describe my art as sporadic, cosmic, and ordered. Sporadic in the unfounded nature with which I explore my subjects and media; and cosmic in the sense that I maintain order and hierarchy in the way I express the various elements contained within each piece. My art is additionally founded in execution, technique and detail – this is where the world of architecture has influenced me. As such my art is less fleeting and more hinged on mastering technique and the abstraction of concepts and ideas stemming from the worlds that influence me.
Who are some of your favorite artists (local and/or international)?
This is an almost endless list and one I cannot simply put in to text. My list of inspiration ranges from architects to software engineers; graffiti artists to entrepreneurs. I’m not directly influenced solely by creatives in my endeavour to create, but rather by a wide variety of humans perfecting their craft.
Do you have any formal training/education relating to art or are you self-taught?
I am a self-taught artist but I am academically trained as an architect.
We see you are big into your graffiti and your work is fantastic! How long have you been doing it and are there any projects you are particularly proud of?
I started painting when I was 16 years old, so 2018 marks 11 years for me as a graffiti artist. I got into it as any writer would: by tagging and “getting up” in Pretoria. My pursuit of wanting to become an architect has meant I’ve had to balance both lives and as such I’m focusing more on commission work and trying to link with as many artist as possible in my free time.
I would say the most interesting commission I’ve completed to date would be the one I painted at Battery Park down near the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. Personally, it really represented a moment in my career where my love for architecture and graffiti fully merged. I’m hoping to work on more projects like this in the near future.
We did a bit of digging and saw that you have also dabbled in some “beatboxing” – how did this come about? Are you still into it?
Yes! I’ve been beatboxing now for well over 15 years. I have used my skills to compete at events around the country and even managed to land a few awesome gigs from the exposure. Over the course of my time as a beatboxer I’ve had the pleasure of beatboxing alongside TomThum (friend and fellow beatboxer) from Australia, performed at OppiKoppi, performed at a TEDx talk in Pretoria and by far my greatest achievement would definitely be performing the National Anthem on SABC 2’s News Room in honor of our late president, Nelson Mandela.
What has been your best memory/experience related to your art?
Hosting my first solo exhibition which showcased my architectural hand styles and ability to capture buildings.
I have recently just held two, back-to-back solo exhibitions with Ground Art Caffe and Unsung Art respectively.
Looking into the future I am hoping to link up with as many artist as possible and expose myself a little more to my new home and the talent it has. There are some insanely talented people I’ve met and read up on and would love to create collaboratively with these as best I can. My only art mission then, for 2019 would be collaboration and strengthening my own style.
As for my professional career, I am hoping to write my professional exams in the near future to transition to a registered architect.
One can definitely see the various influences in Chris’ work and we absolutely love what he is producing!!! All the work from the November Night Shift exhibition is now available from our online store over at this link.
This is definitely one artist to take note of and invest in early on as this artist is definitely going places…