Born, 1979. Chatham is currently the Art Director at Smith Optics. He was born and raised in the Seattle suburbs. He describes leaving for school as “narrowly escaping” the suburbs. He has a degree in Fine Art, Painting from Colby College but also made journeyman stops through RISD, UC Berkeley, and Syracuse University in Florence, Italy. Chatham moved to Ketchum in 2002. With friends Chatham co-founded Wize Design in 2003. He accepted the fact he is a design nerd in 2007. He lives, works, and creates chaos with his wife Charlotte and their 2 dogs.
What is your earliest memory of art making?
Definitely something that I’ve always done and was encouraged to do. I know I was drawing long before I can pull an actual memory of doing so. It was difficult for a while as a kid in middle school – being an art kid can be tough. Really didn’t help that I was also a smart ass. So I had to adapt. Even the meanest kids with the quickest fists like comic books, skateboard art and drawings of nude girls.
The concept of Death to Day Jobs has been a long-time vision of yours. Why do you feel its important to do this show?
If our town is not careful we’re going to drown ourselves in stagnant art and an even more stagnant mind set. Galleries and banks shouldn’t really be mentioned in the same sentence…ever. But they are in this town. Part of the problem is that ostensibly art in Ketchum feels like it belongs to one economic-class, and that gets under my skin. There should be all types of art in this community. So simmering on the back burner for a while has been this idea to have an art event that was all inclusive, my friends would be excited to go to, and all the work on the walls would be created by younger creatives of the community. Consider it a “pop up” art show. There are some really talented people in this town and there’s no reason we shouldn’t celebrate it.
How do you describe your work to others?
I think sometime after school was long over and I no longer thought I was going to save the world with fine art, I embraced my love of the drawings that I did in the margins of meeting agendas, on the back of unpaid bills, and on countless sticky notes.
For this show I wanted to reinterpret Western Art. So combining a designer’s division of the figure ground, half-tone graphics created on the computer, and my drawing style I’ve created studies of skulls of western animals. I like to imagine these are all skulls you could come across exploring the mountains of Idaho.
Where do you see the crossover between art and design in your work?
I think that progressive culture has moved beyond a separation of “design” and “art.” The post-modern art world did a tremendous job of alienating itself from a generation of future artists. Kids chose to make street art and become graphic designers, the images they were making were relevant. Look at the rise of Banksy or Shepard Fairey, these guys aren’t fine artists in the traditional sense. For my own work I see making art as a chance to have fun, and to be physically involved in the image making. On a computer you sit there and control every little aspect of a visual space – on a canvas that drip of paint has a mind of its own.
Poster designed by Chatham Baker
hand silkscreen on heavy weight vellum
Edition of 100
12″ x 18″
order it at www.ochishop.com, or pick one up at the opening, Friday, June 22nd 7-9 PM