This month we spoke to psychedelic visual artist Chris Dyer about melting crayons, stinky garbage robots, art in the grave, living with no regrets, and the type of Aussies he expects to find at Earth Frequency 2018!
D: Tell me a little bit about yourself, what sort of family have you come from and as a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
CD: I grew up in Lima, Peru. My dad was a dirt bike racer and my mom an English teacher, nice people. I grew up skateboarding and surfing. I also became a big soccer fan and was part of a hooligan style street gang. So, by 17 years old, my parents sent me to study art in Canada, to make sure I’d stay out of trouble.
D: The way you have turned your passion into a career is quite inspiring. Did you always believe this was possible or was there a moment you realised you can be a professional artist?
CD: Thanks! I was always an artist and expressing myself is pretty much the only thing I’m good at. I didn’t plan to be a professional artist I was just trying to continue doing it and hopefully not die of starvation. But I guess the world is slowly appreciating art more and more and I’ve found many ways to make a comfortable living off it while traveling this beautiful planet learning about all its cultures, and about myself in its reflection.
D: Do you plan every large piece you do, or do you freestyle your creations?
CD: Yeah, I definitely make a lot of sketching before I spend months painting a solid piece. That allows me to work out the kinks and say exactly what I want to say. For sure there are areas that are spontaneous, and I can change certain things, but overall I like to make sure the drawing structure is super solid so that I can achieve perfection.
D: What is the biggest struggle you face on a day to day basis?
CD: I guess I struggle with finding total confidence and self-love for myself. There are moments I do, but certain traumas of my life, combined with a busy complicated mind, make me doubt myself too much. But I’m working at it, with my art expressions and different shamanic practices. Overall my life is super blessed though, so I have no complaints! I do what I love, make the world a little bit brighter, make people happy, travel tons, meet a lot of great people and am generally healthy. I have nothing but gratitude and my inner struggles are a way to learn more about the human condition, so I can be a better healer and server to others.
D: Do you have any routines that help nurture your creative flow?
CD: I am naturally creative, I can do art every day and be happy. But I have routines like chi gung stretching in the morning to keep me in better shape and the occasional skate sesh. When I’m at home I go to the gym to keep my body strong for all the murals I have to paint on the road. Then I try to have a bunch of mini-meditations throughout my day, to be reminded that I am a soul experiencing this physical level, but hopefully not get caught up by it too much.
D: What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
CD: I wouldn’t give myself any advice. All I did when I was young, good and bad had its lessons, which helped me be who I am today, so I bless those good and bad times I gave myself, and still do. I was always good at following my heart though, and that is something that is important for anybody, regardless of age. Living a meaningless life is good for nobody.
D: Do you have a most memorable fan moment?
CD: I’ve had a lot of really good fan moments. Too many, it trips me out a bit. People really connect with my art so when they meet me it’s like this big thing, but I’m just Chris, another skater dude who happens to make art. So, I try to be in that zone that they are in, when I meet them, to honour them, but try my best to remind them that I am not higher than them, that we are all equal and can just be human and friends, no nervousness or crying needed. Happy to sign anything and get pics together. Love it when fans live my art through the clothing of mine they wear. One fan that died got buried with a skateboard with my art once. Then this one kid got run over by a car, while wearing one of my t-shirts. He had no ID, but when they posted the pic of the broken-up t-shirt, his friends knew it was him and went to the hospital to back him up. He got better in the end and I sent him some new clothes and a book. Trippy stuff like that.
D: What is the weirdest medium you’ve ever used to make a piece of art?
CD: I don’t think any medium is weird. Once I tried melting crayons, but it totally didn’t work out, just melted all black and shit. As a kid I liked making robots out of garbage, like milk cans, but then it would get all stinky. I do like working with many mediums though. Acrylics mostly but spray paint for murals, ink for drawing, etc.
D: Have you been to Earth Frequency before? What were your impressions of the event/Australian doof culture?
CD: I have not been to Earth Frequency before. But I did meet the organizer, Paul Abad, at the Eclipse 2012 Festival I performed at. That’s my only ozzy festy experience but it was cool. Lots of people, but enough space to breathe. In general (and maybe I shouldn’t generalize) I’ve found from travelling that Australians are either super cool awesome dudes, or the biggest a-hole bogan jerks ever, ha-ha. Luckily my artwork attracts only the good kind and communities, ha-ha.
D: Are you looking forward to this year’s festival? Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ll be doing there?
CD: Yeah! Everybody is telling me that Earth Frequency is hella cool! I’m excited about my whole Australian Tour. I will start by live painting at Rainbow Serpent, then teach a lil workshop in Melbourne, then Earth Frequency and then I do a 9-day art workshop at Paradise One, with Adam Scott Miller. It’s gonna be a rad month, super stoked on all the nice places I’ll be at and beautiful people I’ll meet!
You can check out Chris’ incredible, deliciously colorful and undoubtedly trippy work on his wesbite.
Or, to see him creating in the flesh, get tickets to Earth Frequency 2018 here.