Colin Christian: Confronting Confrontation

Colin Christian is both an artist and sculptor who is not afraid to push boundaries. Boundaries regarding art, politics, religion, etc. His inspiration is a mix up of pin up girls, supermodels, old sci-fi movies, anime and H.P. Lovecraft.

He uses exaggerations paired with meticulous detail to create his larger than life 3D creations. Even in his smaller works, they read as flawless in design. I was taken by his kindness and sincerity upon meeting him at AFA Gallery only a few months ago.

First,  let me say that your work strikes me as erotic, frightening and beautiful all at the same time. Is that often how your audience reacts to your work? How do you want your audience to react? Do you even care how we may respond?

Your reaction is understandable and seems to be the general response to the work and it’s certainly what I’m aiming for, a feeling of uncertainty, of confrontation, it’s just a reflection of how I am feeling myself, the world is in transition, and that is often scary.

You often depict women in your work. How do you choose your subject matter? Do you relate to women more than men?

Apart from my grandfather, I was not fond of the men in my life growing up,they tended to be violent and abusive and never shared my interests as a kid, in fact they often went out of their way to show disapproval, where as the women, my mother, grandmother showed extraordinary kindness, compassion and thoughtfulness to those around them, and those are qualities I admire, so in that respect, yes, I identify more with them than men, both my father and stepfather were violent. One was from a military background who very much enjoyed the more violent aspects of his work, I could never find common ground with someone like that, so the women were the only ones I could identify with, so consequently, they are the focus of my work.

I admire that you are not afraid to show a very sexually overt side in your work. When did you first feel that freedom to do so and do you remember what your first piece looked like since having that freedom? 

My art hero HR Giger has a very sexual nature to his work, and I have always found the subject to be fascinating, both in its physical aspects, and the feelings it conjures up, it’s strong stuff. Nature designed us to feel that way, so it’s perfectly natural. Of course the fact that through indoctrination over 2000 years we are told it’s shameful, dirty or at the very least private, well, that’s just showing a red flag to a bull! lol ! I want to tear that down, it’s my first impulse,  you tell me I cannot, I will do the opposite.

How did you get involved with designing clothing for Miley Cyrus? Was she already a fan of your work? Have you collaborated with other musicians? 

I had been making a series called ‘Lipsex’ it was still early days in Instagram, and so many people tagged her in those pics that she finally noticed them and contacted me right away. After speaking to her, it was obvious we both shared a sense of the mischievous, and a need to tear down some walls, so I quickly made an outfit for her, designed to cause as much upset as possible, but to also blur the lines between male and female, and force social media to confront things like nudity, what constituted art and expression, nipples and nakedness.  People got outraged over foam rubber, glitter and some lights, it’s ridiculous, which was the point.

What you did for Vlada was both genuine and kind. What made you both join forces to create these pieces for AFA Gallery? 

Simply put, I don’t like bullies, and I have a very strong sense of right and wrong, Vlada was an artist just like me and I offered her my support, later on as I was preparing for a show at AFA, Sas and I felt she would be a perfect addition, it would introduce a new element into a normal gallery scene and offer an artist of a different creative persuasion to show in an art gallery and have her work judged on those terms.I had wanted to be a makeup artist myself, so I saw it as perfectly natural. And you would have to be blind not to see all the young people being creative with makeup on Instagram, some of them using my work as inspiration, something was happening, I could see it clearly, and thought Vlada was a perfect representative of this upsurge in creativity.

Can you kindly talk about your work in the MoMA here in NYC? Do you also have work in the permanent collection of the MoMA in Venice?

Well, several years ago I made a number of very large pieces, one of which was a very large head called ‘Gaia’, 8 ft high, she was bought by Kimdotcom, the Internet entrepreneur,  who was then raided by the US government. I was then contacted by Simon Denny who was putting together a show at the MOMA in Venice, based around all this, so I donated a smaller version to the Museum, which they then took on tour around Europe. When it came to the US, MOMA PS1 contacted me, asking for the large, original version, luckily I knew of a piece available, and it got installed for the summer, was used for a lot of the advertising, very cool.

Your Social Media feed is very opinionated and colorful. I feel as if I know you even though we have never met. How do you approach letting your audience know your every feeling and expressing your strong social commentary surrounding current events? 

Some say that art and politics don’t mix, and I say that’s rubbish, it’s Arts job to reflect society in every way, for me, it’s impossible to separate one from the other, which has lost me some followers, but gained others. I have always been passionate and feel strongly about a good many things, and that is part of who I am and what I share on certain platforms. As with Art, I think it’s important to speak up, I despise willful ignorance, stupidity, cruelty and unfairness, and am unafraid to say so. That ruffles a few feathers.

Can we address Shoeporn Sunday? When did that start to become a feed feature?

Lol!  I’ve always enjoyed fashion, there is no more a sexual piece of clothing than a shoe, so I started showing some of my favorites, then I realized the sheer variety and weirdness of some might inspire creativity in those not usually inspired, so I started putting a selection up on Sunday mornings and it took off, #shoepornsunday became a thing, rather surprising.

What is next for you? 

Some dramatic changes, I’m scaling down, and want to create smaller figures, one offs and focus on nature, which has always been my great passion, there is still lots of room to explore that relationship, not all of it is safe or pretty.


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