Despite the smoke caused by the High Park Fire, many people were about Old Town this weekend to enjoy many Streetmosphere performances. Chris Bates, a local artist, set up just outside of Austin’s on Saturday evening and mesmerized many community members with his unique artwork.
Bates specializes in pen and ink portraits, acrylic paint, mixed media, and murals.
Chris spoke with me about the process he goes through to create his pen and ink portraits. He begins his work by working with a given picture, sometimes several, and plays with them so that the images will work with a grayscale. He will project his image onto a piece of paper and outline the shadows and edges of his image to create a sketch. After identifying the darker and lighter sections, Bates will plan out his background images so that they work with this grayscale effect.
Chris will spend much time with the commissioners, learning about their main life events, hobbies, habits, and even taking note of things displayed in their home environments. These small details make up the background of his pen and ink works. The finished product not only displays a main central image, but also displays many images, almost like doodles, in the background to create a truly unique work of art specialized to the commissioner.
The work of art in the lower left hand corner of the photograph is Bates’ “Let the Ink Drip” finished in 2005. The piece Chris is currently working on displays fire, his inspiration coming from the High Park fire.
Chris also paints murals around the Fort Collins area. He just finished painting a mural in the alley just East of Enzio’s with local Poudre School District high school students.
To learn more about Chris Bates and his artwork, click here.
For more information on Streetmosphere and the schedule, click here.
Written by Alina Osika, Intern with Streetmosphere