Chris Green-Martinez comes to Imagine Art by way of Manchester, England. She discovered art in kindergarten. The teacher noticed her talent and would send Chris around to the first graders. “Every time I did a painting, the teacher would have me run to the first-grade classes to show them.”
She moved to the states and studied art education at the University of Texas at Austin. Chris does a variety of medium, expressing herself through watercolors, acrylics, and occasionally oil.
One method she practices is Plein Air, which is to paint on site, outdoors, in natural surroundings. Her latest endeavors have been a combination of abstract geometrics and realistic subject matter.
Finally, she has found a place to display and sell her work, where people can experience her art.
She finds inspiration in the Renaissance artists, painters Michelangelo and DaVinci, as well as the Impressionists Renoir, Van Gogh and Matisse.
Her goals for the future are to keep painting while discovering new ways to communicate.
Chris John Shroeder
Chris John Shroeder hails from Valparaiso, Indiana, along Lake Michigan. He has lived in Michigan, Indiana, and Texas.
All his life he’s been an artist. “Ever since I was a little boy. Partly due to my mother's father. He was a painter who painted scenery. So we would go to his place and he would have all these paint materials out. I got accustomed to these oil paints and all the antique smells he left behind.”
Chris identifies himself as a Neo Expressionist, which is a branch of abstract expressionism that was a popular movement in the 30's, 40's, and 50's. Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock were fathers of abstract expressionism.
He found out about Imagine Art through the grapevine.
As an artist “I have creative license . . . I am able to sublimate my demons in an acceptable way on canvas.
“Not making any money, though, and I've run out of room. I have a 10 x 20 storage shed that I pay $214 for each month; there's around 80 large paintings in the storage unit.
“There over 20 years’ worth of work. I'm very prolific, and my production is much higher than my demand. I paint more than my demand because I like it so much.”
Steven Christopher Griffith
I had been in a relationship for 11 years that went south. I had some depression . . . some certain events in my life . . . I just needed to be part of something. I needed to find some friends, and somebody to talk to. . . some community, to be a part of something.
I blow glass, and I was looking for someplace safe to blow glass. I was doing it in the park down in South Austin in the parking lot. I was worried about getting robbed and stuff. I needed a place to do my mobile studio art.
I have a 1975 Dodge step Van that I tore the insides out of and built a Mobile Glass Studio. I had a lot of free time to explore a lot of spaces and Imagine Art was one of those spaces. Coincidentally, I came in and visited and was really shy. I was really apprehensive.
Then somebody at my apartment complex needed some help moving a couch, and it turned out to be the psychologist, Dr Blues, who worked there at the time.
I met Debbie (Kizer), and four years later I got a grant. She's my sponsor. She found me a job as an attendant for an autistic person. Imagine Art has turned into practically my entire life.
I started doing art 4 years ago. I never was an artistic person. I got my degree in law enforcement, then went to work for the Rhode Island State Police. I started as an intern, doing ride alongs, saw the inner workings. I found out I'm not one who can handle stress and don't do well with pressure and blood. I became a firefighter and EMT, thinking that's the skills would transfer over. It took me a little bit to figure that out.
I was working for a Fidelity Investments, investigating money laundering and fraud. I was 220 pounds, fat, depressed, angry and sad. It was right after my divorce when I moved out to Denver, where I became introduced to a substance that was the legal in Denver. For the first time in my life I used marijuana.
My mom sent me a pipe in the mail because she saw how sad I was. I was on a bunch of antidepressants that were making me depressed and overweight. I really didn't know who I was. I was in a zombie state.
The medications really didn't help me. I had to do something different. I was not going to last long this way. So on my 5th anniversary of working at Fidelity, I quit.
I was getting drug tested at work, so I never really got into cannabis. I was a straight edge kid. I never tried pot until I was 26, when my mom sent me that pipe. I went to a legal recreation dispensary to get my cannabis. Went to the dispensary, then to the mountains and had an experience that blew my mind.
I wanted to have somebody have the same experience that I had in the mountains using something I had made.
I don't only make pipes. I make more jewelry than I do pipes.
I thought to myself:
People can take this thing I made and can have life-altering situations.
It helped me in ways that I had not imagined. Maybe that would be more fulfilling than me sitting on a desk for 60 hours a week.
This is All Me!
I went to a craft fair with my mom and I saw this little girl blowing glass. Her equipment was not the kilns and furnaces that I expected glass blowers to have. I looked at her set-up and said to myself, “I can do that.” So I went out and bought all the equipment.
For about the same amount I would have paid to rent a U-Haul, I purchased a 1975 Ford Grumman Olson step Van for $2,500 to get me to Austin. I park the vehicle on the side of the building here and blow glass out of it four to five times a week.
Best thing about being an artist is this is all me! I don't have to fill any orders; I just make what I want to make. It's weird having all this freedom where I get to make all decisions. I have a clothing line where I put my face and my van on a tee shirt, and now I sell t-shirts.
Fake it till I make it! I'll blow this thing up as big as I can make it until people think of me as a glass blower. I did East (Austin Studio Tour) 3 years ago and only had three items. My setup was small, and I was only making about 2 to 3 items. My creations now are all new and different in their own way, and I could never replicate them.
Stop Breaking So Much Glass
I'm a Salesman. I could sit here all day and talk about my glass. I'll stand in front of my product all day and sell glass. Each one of my pieces has its own unique story.
I can remember the pieces because there is so much failure. I broke some glass. My mission is to not break so much glass. Every marble has its own little quirks.
I can’t believe that people spend their money on me, because I don't spend my money on anything. Those people just spent their money on me! That's the best thing about being an artist.
Future? Just Fake it till I make it, man! Just keep going! I'll make another version of the T-shirt. I want the grant to grow bigger. I want to make glass that I'm proud of.
I want to not break so much glass, be successful the first time. I mean most of the stuff on the table is a mistake. I make a piece and it survives. I want to see my glass skills develop. It's still fun to me, and I haven't lost the will to want to do it!