We were thrilled when Chris Crites agreed to join us on the Residency in 2013. You might know him as The Bag Painter. He creates exquisite portraits based upon criminal mugshots from the 30s and 40s, often on brown paper bags, though sometimes on tubes from toilet paper or, well, who knows.
Chris was just completing a printmaking residency at Pratt Fine Art Center when he arrived on the shores of the Duwamish River. While he was the only freshman in the group his enthusiasm was infectious. Despite his initial panic about drawing in public rather than cloistered in his studio, Chris was undeterred. He immediately set up his folding chair on the First Avenue Bridge and got to work. He was, he noted, following instructions from a nearby sign that read, "draw bridge".
Education: BA, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA
AA, College of San Mateo, San Mateo, CA.
Chris Crites painted his first four mug shots in acrylic on paper bag in 1999. Seriously focusing on the subject matter of arrest photographs since 2002, he has developed and refined his brightly colored, limited palette style.
Adding cultural icons, musicians, commissioned portraiture, mushroom clouds, nudes and firearms to his body of work, Crites has shown and been published across the United States and Europe. His art work is represented in Seattle by G. Gibson Gallery and in San Francisco by Jack Fischer Gallery.
He is also an independent curator and lives in Seattle with his wife and cats.
Chris Crites on his experience at the Duwamish Residency.
It was like being a kid or being in school again. Having the permission to go out, explore and play - doing what is available to all of us, but we just don't. The experience changed the way I look at the world. Later, I was driving across the Montlake Bridge and said to myself "I can draw this!". This residency expanded my thinking about mark and image making and has rekindled the fun of drawing anything.