Chris Leib examines our precarious path started long ago, through his cast of wise, tolerant bonobos and rambunctious astronaut children. While seemingly whimsical, the paintings are laden with hidden meaning and explore themes of heroism, Western folklore, and the schism of instinct and control. Weaving through the meticulous detail in these paintings, threads of symbols and narrative point to a collision trajectory of power, privacy and technology that threatens our delicate position in the evolutionary scheme.
Chris Leib is an American fine artist and graduate of anthropology, renowned for his iconography of bonobo chimps and astronauts and cosmonauts, often juxtaposed, with exquisite technique and scrupulous attention to detail. Transcending whimsy, his paintings are imbued with meaning and intellectual contemplation. Leib’s work explores themes of heroism, human endeavour and the sensitivity of human hopes and ambitions for possible realities of science-fact. His work challenges us to contemplate a collision of science fiction, reality and religion, this three-car pileup viewed from the vantage point of our evolutionary ancestors, who have quietly continued to evolve themselves.
Chris Leib was born in the San Francisco Bay Area and splits his time between Berlin and California. His father, an artist and teacher, encouraged him to draw from an early age. His love of science fiction and Star Trek was incubated in the 1970s in a dark basement while he watched black and white TV; his interest in primates began at the University of California Berkeley, where he studied anthropology. After college, while working as a furniture mover, he answered an ad seeking people who could sketch. Four months later, he was offered a job as an illustrator. He later studied at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, after which he apprenticed with the Italian portrait painter Roberto Lupetti. During this time he also began working as an illustrator for McGraw-Hill Publishing and exhibiting paintings.
Leib has exhibited his artwork across the United States as well as in Germany, France, Denmark and Australia. His art has been positively reviewed in Hi-Fructose magazine, Huffington Post, Kunst Magazin (Berlin), Supersonic Electronic, Village Voice, Beautiful Bizarre, and HEY! magazine. Leib has twice been an Artist in Residence at the De Young Museum in San Francisco and has received competitive grants from the George Sugarman Foundation and the San Francisco Arts Commission. His work can be found in important public and private collections in the United States and Europe.
At a very young age when I had only a vague idea of the meaning, it was predicted that I was an artist. This was from observations by my elementary school teachers and encouragement from my Mother, who not only appreciated art but was also a talented painter. The title of artist tended to give me a kind of identity…a suggestion that I was gifted in a certain way. With only that assumption as my guide, I pursued drawing and painting without academic training. My earliest attempts were produced by my sense of awe when pouring through books and art magazines. The works of a famous surrealist caught my eye at age twelve. From that time forward I would say that I was basically self-taught. That is not necessarily a compliment. There are areas I will never be proficient in yet the simple love of creating art drove me to figure things out along the way. It wasn’t until I was 31 that I availed myself of some formal art training but by then I had already spent many years working in commercial graphics, technical illustration, animation, photography, and film production. Those earliest accomplishments tutored my creativity but did little to satisfy my urge to paint large meaningful works. That would have to wait a while. A very fortunate aspect of my career in the earlier years was the wide variety of artistic areas I managed to find work in. In each decade from the seventies, I augmented commercial art with a few fine art paintings. Results were slow at first, I was yet to emerge from all the strict confines of commercial work to the freedom of just painting for imagination’s sake.
I partnered in a three-man show in 1988 and hung a one-man show in 1990. After a serious painters block in the mid-nineties, I re-awoke determined to attend to a lifelong desire…that of large canvases with more serious intent. As the turn of the century approached, I couldn’t escape a distinct feeling that something big was going to happen. I began painting futuristic images inspired by the notion that entering the third millennium should be punctuated by some visionary artwork.
I’ve always remembered the words of my favorite art teacher; ‘produce a sense of light direction’. I have only reached that lofty goal on occasion. In some of my recent works, I’ve attempted to capture beauty in the midst of calamity to produce a sense of wonderment and emotional response. And of course, there’s often a curiosity about symbols present and their interpretation. So after a significant time spent in seclusion, I offer a few pieces that came into being in the past 6-8 years. These four canvases are connected; Surrealistic Quadriptic. There’s more from the past and hopefully from the future as well.
Waone is an Artist / Muralist from Kyiv, Ukraine.
The main goal of my art is to find out who am I and explore the outside world.
Viewing through the lens of the creative process gives me the possibility
to shift the focus away from the vanity of common life and tap into stranger invisible world, the origin of the entire existence…
It was a long way started back in 1999 when I stepped on the streets with a spray can. During the next 18 years, I developed a fairy tale visual language, a visual storytelling with a transcendental ethereal form of contemporary muralism.
Inspired by the old master’s art I continue my evolution, I like to imitate the esthetic of antique book illustrations and old engravings in my murals, canvases, and drawings.
During the last 2 years, when street art became a mainstream, I decided to shift my focus on studio work, now contemporary and fine art scene looks more appropriate scene for my art.