David Cunningham
David Cunningham

Christopher Ganz: Interview with a Contemporary Master

Christopher Ganz: Interview with Contemporary Master

I had the good fortune of meeting Christopher in 2010 at the Fort Wayne Museums Contemporary Realism Biennial.  His amazing drawing Self-Checkout II(see below) and my painting Upon Meditation on the Infinite were both $2000 prize winners.  His drawing’s compositional complexity, innovative narrative, and exquisite rendering of the human form left me feeling very humble that my work would be put in the same class.

We kept in touch after that first show.  I’ve since had the privilege of seeing several of his massive charcoal drawings in person.  Focusing primarily on self-portraits, Chris weaves together narratives that combine raw visual power and yet are smart leaving the viewer pondering what exactly they just witnessed.   They have a post-apocalyptic feel, or maybe it is Hitchcock. Either way it’s psychological and a little unsettling. Yet the way he flawlessly renders even the most complex spaces in charcoal is so beautiful and seductive leaving the viewer simultaneously startled and charmed.

As a man, you couldn’t meet a nicer guy.  Humble, smart, and generous you would be lucky to call him a friend.  Fortunately for me, he has agreed to exhibit his work at Franklin College February 5-21 with an opening reception from 7-8 on the 5th.  If you can’t make the show please take the time to check out his website.


What inspired you to become an artist?

I was inspired to become an artist by looking at comic books, for the most part. I was in sixth grade. Everything just grew from there and my interest expanded to other artwork eventually.

What do you love about the process of painting and drawing?

It’s that it allows me to put all of myself into it. My brain, my heart, and really my whole being. There’s nothing else I’ve found that I can do this with, and it’s a very satisfying feeling when things go well. When I lose track of time and place while working, it’s like I’ve left this world for a while and that’s exhilarating.

What do you want your audience to experience when they see your work?

I want audiences first to enter into the world I strive to create with my work. I hope they forgot the here and now and enter into my piece. After that, I hope to communicate an idea, which is usually about my relationship to the world; how I both feel like I belong and am also something of an outcast. I think we all experience these conflicting feelings which shape much of our sense of self and others.

Where do you sell your work?

I sell my drawings at a gallery in Chicago, Ann Nathan Gallery. I sell my prints through juried and group exhibitions, which have audiences that really appreciate the media. I also sometimes sell my prints through interest generated from my website or other online sources.

Name two of your artistic heroes (one living and one dead)

If I had to pick one artistic hero that is dead, it would be Rembrandt. His work always inspires me, and he was also one of the greatest printmakers as well as painter and draftsmen.
A living artist who is a hero is William Kentridge. He works in drawing and prints as well, and the ambition, the imagination, and the invention in his work is something I hope to achieve in my own.

What advice would you give an aspiring artist?

I would tell aspiring artists that if you really want to become an artist, you need to be 100% committed. Not only through working, but through looking and learning. Don’t create expectations for your work other than being ambitious. A sense of humility is necessary to learn to become an artist but take pride in yourself and don’t let others detour you from your goals. You will not be understood. And most of all be very, very, very patient.