Chris Pig has been printmaking almost ever since he can remember. He made his first etching plate when he was about fourteen or fifteen and little else has interested him ever since. Since childhood as well, he has been interested in representing the world around him; specifically narrative situations that sum up the human condition. His work vacillates between these narrative images and those that are devoid of narrative and concerned with aesthetics.
Chris Pig's lectures & workshops are popular with printmakers on both sides of the pond, from Atlanta Printmakers Studio to East London Printmakers.
linocuts & engravings
"Artist Printmaker Chris Pig is a master of his art. His depictions of the dark underbelly of London life follow in the footsteps of Hogarth, while his more romantic and humorous work sits close to Masreel; yet he has, over the course of 30 years, developed a unique voice of his own. A dedicated and consumate craftsman, Chris Pig is a printmaker's printmaker." - Mark Graver
Outcasts Come out of the Dark; Tiny Vistas Tower
- by Catherine Fox for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
It is fitting that British printmaker Chris pig works in black and white: The world he creates in his recent prints evokes film noir.
The linocuts at Vinson Gallery feature characters like the brazen gypsy who stares down the viewer in The Whore of Destiny; and the shadowy guy who keeps his cards and his gun on the table in Who Killed Sugarbaby?; The old soul in the romantic Papuna seems to be hiding a mysterious back story behind his careworn expression. There's even something slightly menacing about Pig's print of an artichoke.
Pig is a master of stagecraft. Sugarbaby plays homage to a murdered British anarchist, but the other characters are his fiction. The gypsy is a friend playing dress up, and Papuna is a Russian born musical instrument salesman in Decatur, whom Pig befriended at a bar.
He accentuates the drama through lighting and set design. In Sugarbaby,for example, he reduces the composition to simple shapes, largely circles and ovals. A single searing ceiling light illuminates the man and the table. The Whore of Destiny is a bravura orchestration of patterns.
The crisp lines, bottomless black planes and complex details in these prints demonstrate his technical command. His play with figure/ground recalls M.C. Escher who's prints are also on view in this group show, but is also related to the Moorish decorative elements he fell in love with in Cordoba , Spain.
Making his Mark
- by Felicia Feaster for Creative Loafing Atlanta
Making art isn't supposed to be a risky business, but British artist Chris Pig says that on several occasions, his sketches have led to ugly confrontations.
Sitting in cafes in London or Spain , Pig generally works on three sketches at a time, turning his attention from one subject to the next when someone senses his gaze is lingering too long.
At times, his subjects have grown wary of his lingering appraisals and confronted him, suspecting something perverse and sexual in his intense concentration. Those people Pig chooses as his subjects may have good reason to feel uneasy, though not for the reasons they might suspect.
Pig has a gimlet-eyed, jaded knack for capturing the peculiar vanities and brutalities of the human animal.
The people eventually transposed from these sketches into linocuts are caught between the crosshairs of Pig's scathing, often misanthropic read on human specimens, such as the bald and pendulously gutted man sitting in a Spanish bar in "Name Your Price." Pig's prints are packed with information, from his elaborately detailed textures of woodwork, skin and other surfaces, to the telling gesture or physical feature that sets his psychological stage. In "Name Your Price," he conveys the man's aura of peacock macho vanity with his shirt provocatively unbuttoned and his Vienna sausage fingers laced with numerous gold rings gripping a ludicrously dainty wine glass.
A resident of Cordova , Spain , for the past four years, Pig's previous haunt was the London borough of Hackney's Murder Mile, where he watched assorted thug wars from his terrace above the street. Two of the most striking and memorable works in his show Jealousy, at Vinson Gallery, are portraits of career rabble-rousers. "Made in England " features a tattooed, shaved brute resting a baseball bat on his overinflated biceps. "Vigilante" features another street fighter with an oft-broken nose and a well-seasoned machete at the ready. Pig's best work is psychological and dark, with shades of Lucian Freud and the 18th-century satirist of human malfeasance William Hogarth. Pig's less appealing work fugues on art history convention: still life prints of artichokes, zaftig female nudes and two lovers locked in a stylized embrace.
The work is undeniably best when the slightly antiquated, ornate style of Pig's prints rubs up against his astute and humorous observations.
BORN: 23 March 1965
- Hertfordshire College of Art and Design, (foundation course)
- Exeter College of Art and Design – BA(Hons) Art and Design 2:1
- Winchester College of Art – MA (Soton)
- Winner of the Guangdong Museum of Art Purchase Prize, China, 2009
- Originals 09, Joint-Winner of the Society of Wood Engravers’ Award (with Hilary Paynter)
- Winner, “Drawing the City” Open Exhibition for the residents of Hackney, London, 2008
- 75th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wood Engravers, Victoria Gallery, Bath, 2013
- 74th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wood Engravers Bankside Gallery, London, 2012
- Linoleum: The Cutting Edge. Hemingway Art, Oxford, 2012
- Press Freedom, The Station, Richmond, Yorkshire, 2011
- 73rd Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wood Engravers, Bankside Gallery, London, 2011
- Dreams, Freud Museum, London, 2011
- Big Ass Linocuts and Linomations, Pushing Print Festival, Margate, 2011
- Atlanta Print Biennial, 2011
- Third Annual Printmaking Open, Chengdong, Quijiang Province, China, 2011
- Stephen Mumberson and Chris Pig, Art at Wharepuke, New Zealand, 2012
- Ambit Covers. The Originals Gallery, Hornsey Library, London, 2010
- David Hockney, Ralph Steadman, Edward Paolozzi, Mike Foreman, Peter Blake, Ron Sandford, Posy Simmonds and Chris Pig, 2010
- International Printmaking 1, Art at Wharepuke, New Zealand, 2010
- 72nd Society of Wood Engravers Annual Exhibition, 2010
- The Print Collective, “For One Night Only” group show, Shoreditch Town Hall, 2009
- Second Annual Printmaking Open, Chengdong, Qijiang Province, China. Winner of the Guangdong Museum of Art Purchase Prize.
- Royal Western Academy Open Print Exhibition, Bristol, 2009
- Smokey’s Tangle Expo, Oakland, CA, USA. Group Print Show, 2009
- Society of Wood Engravers 71st annual show, 2009
- Originals 09, Joint-Winner of the Society of Wood Engravers’ Award with Hilary Paynter, 2009
- Winner, “Drawing the City” open exhibition for the residents of Hackney, 2008
- IMPRESSED - group show of original prints with M.C. Escher, Anne Desmet, Fernando Feijoo and Chris Pig, Vinson Gallery, 2007
- Workshop at the Atlanta Printmaker’s Studio, 2007
- Lecture: The Life of a Printmaker at SCAD Atlanta, 2009
- Jealousy a one-man show of engravings, etchings and linocuts, Vinson Gallery, 2005
- Made in England: 4 British Printmakers, Vinson Gallery, 2004
- ATLart, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta GA, USA, 2004
- Ambit Magazine, contributing illustrator every issue from 2007 to the present
- Printmaking Today, Kip Gresham, October 2011
- Non-toxic printmaking by Mark Graver, contributing artist, Jan 2011
- Printmaking Today, Art at Wharepuke, December 2010
- I couldn’t Paint Golden Angels, autobiography of Albert Meltzer
- Despite Anything, short stories and other writings by Mark Whittaker
- Printmaking Today, featured in Bringing Print to Atlanta, winter 2006
- Printmaking Today Starting From Scratch, Article about setting-up a studio in Spain, Summer 2005
- Making His Mark, review by Felicia Feaster for Creative Loafing, Atlanta
- Culture Surfing, interview, Creative Loafing, Atlanta
- Beautifully Revealing, Concealing, by Jerry Cullum for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
- Ambit Magazine, summer 2006, front cover and five-page spread
- Ambit Magazine, autumn 2006, five page spread
- Outcasts Come out of the Dark, review by Catherine Fox for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution