July 21, 2015

Q&A with Artist Bryan Christie

Artist and illustrator Bryan Christie answers our questions on his artwork, work, and how his worlds collide.

by New York Spaces

"Everything is Clapping Today" 2015. Silk and encaustic on panel. 36" x 96".
"Willem" 2014. Silk and encaustin on panel. 24" x 24".

NYS: You are an artist and an illustrator. How do your two worlds collide and overlap?

Bryan Christie: I began as a scientific illustrator at the magazine Scientific American. It was here that I fell in love with the visual explanation of science, in particular the depiction of the human form and its anatomy. As I continued to illustrate the body I began to realize that I was approaching the work with aesthetics and emotion in mind. Information was beginning to take a backseat. Both the illustration and painting live in the visual realm; illustration lives in the world of explanation. But art is about mystery, and people have different interpretations of every painting they see.

NYS: Your father was an illustrator and your mother an artist. How did this influence your career?

BC: People seem to either follow in their parents' footsteps or rebel against them. I spent much of my life rebelling against both my mother and painting. At first I embraced my father's world of illustration. But as the years have gone on I've realized that I also want to make art. Art was imprinted on me, and it's an exercise in futility trying to deny this.

"Untitled Figure Study" 2014. Silk and Encausing on paper. 40" x 30".

NYS: What did you learn as a young art director at the magazine Scientific American? Why do you think science and art are so intertwined?

BC: I began to understand that art and science are branches of the same tree. They both are an attempt to give meaning to the world we live in. They do it from different perspectives, though; art for the most part is an intuitive process, whereas science approaches things from a more logical and rational perspective.

NYS: When did you start your scientific illustration studio, Bryan Christie Design? What does your studio specialize in?

BC: We specialize in medical and scientific illustration and information graphics.

NYS: How do you divide your time between your artwork and your studio?

"Every Dancing Atom" 2014. Silk and encaustic on paper. 30" x 22".

BC: It can be challenging. I have one area of the studio for my painting, and the illustration studio is in another room. I go back and forth throughout the day, looking at what the team is making and then going back to painting.

NYS: Why did seeing Michaelangelo's Pieta in Rome shift your point of view so much?

BC: I saw how Michelangelo could transmute inert stone into something else, something greater. Looking at stone, flesh, and spirit simultaneously was a spiritual experience. I experienced how art could be a channel for profound human truths and cosmic law.

NYS: Can you explain your painting technique to us?

BC: Using 3-D software I create renderings that are visually similar to MRIs. To create the imagery I pose an

"Elaine" 2012. Silk and encaustic on paper. 20" x 16".

anatomically correct human model with its internal system in virtual 3-D space. These models are the same I use for the medical and anatomical illustrations my studio creates. I composite multiple layers of these images in Photoshop. From there I print each layer on silk. Covering a panel with encaustic I lay the layers of silk on it and then weld them to the encaustic using a blow torch and heat gun.

NYS: How do you equate creating art to searching for your hidden infinite nature?

BC: When I'm making art I'm trying to make concrete our energetic divinity. I'm searching for an inner Truth. I'm trying to give form to the formless. Infinity is something my finite mind can never truly grasp. The search is all I can do. There is no "finish" line. Art is infinite—it is ever changing. So being involved day-to-day in this world I try to plug into this infinite world.
NYS: Where can we find you for either an illustration or your art?

BC: My painting website is: bryanchristie.com
My illustration website is: bryanchristiedesign.com

I'm currently in a five-person exhibition at The Curator Gallery in Chelsea that is up until August 15th.

NYS: What is on the horizon for you?

BC: I've begun making scarves that are based on my recent series of paintings "Laughing At The Word Two." I'm printing them myself in the studio, in limited editions of 50. The scarves are for sale at bryanchristiecollection.com.

"In Myriad Chords" 2015. Silk and encaustic on panel. 22" x 28".
"Permanence Lost" 2014. 14" x 11".

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