Chris Natrop: I am, for the first time in a long time, focusing on studio work. Usually my studio work is driven by forthcoming site-specific installations, so I spend my time creating work to fulfill those projects. I’m enjoying the freedom of not having any impending projects and losing myself in the process. I have several large pieces that I’m working on. One is shaping up to be one of my largest wall-hung works to date.
What are your upcoming projects/exhibitions?
In May 2012, I am going to put up a temporary installation in Terminal One of The Los Angeles International Airport. The installation will be housed within an 18 foot glass case sandwiched between a McDonalds and a Brookstone–should be interesting. In June 2012, I have a show with the University of Maine Museum of Art. It will comprise of all new work and hopefully represent a new direction. Ideas for that show are dancing somewhere deep in my head–micro-projectors and mirrors keep emerging–we’ll see.
Describe your style
A mixture of the fantastical and mundane; urban and rural; industrial and organic; utopian and dystopian; flaccid and rigid; pretty and pink–all jumbled up into a three-dimensional immersive experience that will hopefully slow your sense of time.
Why did you become an artist?
I don’t think I ever actually “decided” to be an artist. I’ve had it in my head for as long as I can remember that I was going to be an artist. I think I was barking out “artist” as a kindergartener. However, for years I tried not to be one. The ’90s were very confusing because I thought I should attempt a career in the corporate sphere. I was mistaken and came crawling back to the studio.
What inspires you?
Seeing the natural world reclaim its space from human encroachment–weeds in a pavement crake, ants in the bathtub, coyotes in the garden, the LA River. Seeing Europa through my own telescope, although I haven’t done that for years, I still think of the pin-points of Jupiter’s moons often. Mise-en-scéne. Awesome dance music coming through my headphones. Butterflies. The meanings of words like: transubstantiate, atemporal, or evanescent.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
I really wish I got more inspiration from other contemporary artists. It seems like I should, but I’m usually kinda underwhelmed with other art–very little really catches my eye. However, I do like other maniacal installation artists like Sara Sze, David Altmejd or Tara Donovan. Other artists that utilize cut paper that I love are Tram Van Tran and Swoon. I was enamored by the Charles Burchfield show at the Hammer. I also go back to older landscape painters like Corot, Courbet, Friedrich, Fragonard, etc–painters that understand what air looks like.