From collaborations with artists in Bangkok, Thailand, to commissioned work from São Paulo, Brazil, Chris Valentine has the world at his fingertips. His obsession with illustration started when he first copied Albert Uderzo’s The Adventures of Asterix at a young age. This trend formed the basis of Chris’s anatomy as an artist as he later drew mock-up album covers of his favourite bands which eventually led to him illustrating the album covers of the German band Annisokay.
Chris has since furthered his career to a point where he can do what he loves for a living. This all started when he created a profile on the artist network Bēhance where he collaborated with Thai artist Tarin Yuangtrakul. Together, the two landed a feature on Bēhance’s front page and caught the attention of many important people in the art world.
Aside from dedicated platforms such as Bēhance, Chris has found that social media makes the world a very small place, and all it takes is a few shares and you can access an exponentially larger audience which is otherwise unreachable. “It still amazes me to think that I can be sitting in my studio working on an oil painting, and in the space of five minutes I can post a picture to social media and get a commission from someone in another country,” Chris says. His work has been exhibited all around the world from Johannesburg to New York. And all this at the age of 25 (at the time of publishing).
To Chris social media has its downfalls, though. Artists often overstep an invisible moral boundary and allow their self-promotion to become narcissism. This, in itself, detracts from their art and the work starts to lose its intended purpose. As Chris puts it: “Our gifts were given to us to serve and help others… I’m not exactly sure how that would play out in the art world yet, but I think it’s a good starting point.”
His biggest heroes among artists have always been those who will take time out of their day to reply to admirers. Following their lead, he is known for granting makeshift interviews to journalist fan-boys through a combination of text messages, emails and voice notes whenever he gets the time. Thanks, Chris.
By Shawn Greyling