Christopher Pothier

Born in: Chelsea, Massachusetts, USA
Lives in: Columbia Gorge, Oregon, USA
Describe your art in three words: Honest. Narrative. Figurative
Discipline: Painting
Education: BFA- University of Massachusetts at Amherst
See More Work:

Lilliputian Crossroad - Oil on Panel 22 x 35 in

"I feel that my main responsibility, as an artist, is to be true to myself and to make images that are honest and involve my thoughts completely without pretense or segmentation. I seek to tell my stories as I can only do, not to make images in an attempt to please others or to garner favors. I want to leave this world knowing that in my lifetime, I didn’t leave anything on the table."

What themes does your work involve?
Themes I use include: human behavior, societal trends, social pressures/norms, dreams, life/death, conformity, sexuality, etc. I'm obsessed with the way humans operate and behave, especially in modern society.
Describe your creative process.
Almost every painting I make starts with a vision that enters my mind. That is the way it has always been. I try not to force my ideas, I let them flow as they would, naturally, without pressure. This never stops. I sketch these in my notebooks and add some written notes so I can remember the themes and recall them from my mind. These sketches will sometimes remain in my notebooks for many years until I get to them. One thing I have an endless supply of is ideas. In fact, I have so many ideas that it would take hundreds of years to get them all out. I feel incredibly fortunate to have this problem.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
I spend a lot of time listening to books and podcasts about history, mostly ancient history, in order to understand how societies were formed and people behaved. I also follow the current news, foreign and domestic, so I can stay on top of things that are happening currently. Philosophy is also a major love of mine and has been since I was a child. I'm very interested in how we, as people, act. All of these things, combined with my own personal life experiences, are fuel for these visions and the images just pour out of my head and eventually make it to my paintings. That is the reason I became a painter, because I had to relieve myself of all the visions that would invade my mind. It became my lifelong outlet. I make art to tell my stories to the people.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
We all know that art is very subjective but, that being said, there are a few rules which apply. Art can be good if it hits one one or two of these rules. Great art hits all of them. Rule 1: Art must be honest. Art that is not honest is not art at all, it is merely creating a thing according to a current trend which is nothing more than a commodity. Artists should not make commodities. Rule 2: Art must have balance. Balance, while subjective, is universally human. We all agree that a giant waterfall is a thing of beauty, or that a tiger is wondrous, so, therefore, balance is a shared human trait. Rule 3: Art must tell a story. Whether real or fake, good art has a narrative quality which take us on journeys, short or long, stupid or brilliant, but a story is told.
What is the role of the artist today?
I really didn't seek to be an artist, it really discovered me. It sounds a bit corny, but it is true. When I was a young teen, I just got bombarded with thoughts and philosophies that were vivid and formed pictures. I needed to get these out of my head, so I tried to use writing to release them. This did not work, my words did not do the job sufficiently. Painting was the only option for me to release these ideas. Coming from a military family, I did not know about art. It was the furthest thing from me. I was introduced to painting later in my teens by an incredible teacher, a philosopher of sorts. I sank myself into this world and became obsessed from the start. Having loads of catching up to do, I dedicated my whole life to the practice of oil painting. That was in 1994.
Hank's Fever Dream - Oil on Panel 30 x 40 in
The Distorted Nature of Daydreaming - Oil on Panel 21 x 36 in
The Resurrection of the Cowboy Kid - Oil on Panel 33 x 60 in
La Revolucion de los Ninos - Oil on Panel 30 x 38 in


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist