Updated: Nov 18, 2019
Chrilz's art practice focuses on human nature, our experiences, our emotions and our relationships. His approach follows two distinct phases: development and execution. Usually he writes down his idea in a few words to avoid losing connection with it.
"My work is conceptually-driven, so there is often a lot of writing that goes into the early phases"
He refers to his writings as conceptual statements: sometimes it is spoken from his vantage point, other times from a more omniscient perspective, but more often it is some sort of voice from within a piece itself that materializes the compositional elements. Using photography to capture the right reference leads him to begin sketching. "When I have the right image, the execution period begins, which is the way I describe the point of breaking ground on the finished piece."
Chrilz finds inspiration through countless forms. Sometimes just a few words, a sound, a color, a shape, a small idea, and occasionally the composition becomes clear before the concepts are fully fleshed out. "I am always growing in regards to process and that evolution always invigorates me."
Chrilz is constantly keeping a balance between the conceptual and the expressive in his art. "I don’t think I could have one without the other in my work, and I think that speaks to who I am as an individual. Internally I am both a very rational thinker and highly emotional, so I regularly moderate between the two."
Since his earliest days of drawing, Chrilz was always pulled towards the human form. He finds it to be one of the most powerful and inherently expressive elements in artwork. His use of the human form is as a vehicle for expression rather than a study of the figure itself, "I prefer describing it as Neo-figurative. I do believe the figure is more than a mere element of my composition, but I also acknowledge that its place in my process is subordinate to the ideas." Studying the work of artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Francis Bacon validated these initial feelings of identifying with that style. Like them, Chrilz uses the figure in his work to serve a new, more divergent end than what might be considered traditional.
Chrilz's use of expressionism is primarily to describe artwork that seeks to express something greater. The compositional elements within his work are tools to further the ultimate end of the ideas, the concepts, the emotional connection. No piece is ever meant to be soaked in at face value or at a purely aesthetic level—a quality he shares with the expressionists—in spite of his frequent use of realism and very representational elements, unlike traditional expressionism. "This is why I prefer to use Neo-expressionism, although this could be interchangeable with the idea of intentionalism."
Despite using his own image for much of his work, Chrilz actually doesn't consider any of the pieces he created to be self-portraits. Since the ideas initiate within him, expressing them through his own form is easier at a fundamental level than trying to communicate them in words to another model and asking him or her to take it from there. Likewise, since the work is so intimate for him, it can be difficult to have the vulnerability to share the ideas with another and ask him or her to step into the ideas at the same, personal level. "The select few models who do work with me are very close in my life and have very lovingly come to value and understand my process. For that I am very grateful."
Another reason for using his own image really does come down to expenses and availability. "I am very open to the idea of gradually working with others and trying to form new bonds but I’m not very social, which makes it difficult to connect with new people. Likewise, I strongly believe in compensating models fairly for their work, but that isn’t easy on an artist’s budget. I certainly think it’s all in good time and when the opportunity arises I’ll be branching out more."
Chrilz is also a member of EEZY SLEEZ, an independent art fringe collective based in Australia that produces group projects, like the upcoming This Is Life Now magazine. The director, Adam Plant, primarily focuses on satirical humor and avant-garde works but his love for art makes him very open to a wide variety of artists and disciplines. "I first connected with the collective in April 2019 and was eager to join. The EEZY SLEEZ family of artists really is a wonderfully diverse crowd and offers something for any viewer. Despite the variance, I think what links us all together is our passion for whatever work we each produce."
The collective is international, facilitated by the internet, which in itself serves as an excellent arena for disseminating visual culture in this fast-paced era of consumption. If contemporary art ever wants to become truly relevant in the public conscious again as it was decades ago, it needs to break down the gallery walls and adapt to the ways the youngest generations consume media, which is exactly what Adam Plant is doing with EEZY SLEEZ. Likewise, the effort of this collective to offer an audience to the work of more underground and fringe artists cannot be discounted. "These voices that wouldn’t necessarily find company in most contemporary spaces deserve to be shared, and it’s so great to see that happening and to be a part of it."