Question 1: When did you decide that you wanted to be an artist?
Honestly? Probably on a conference call with the marketing team at Subway.
I should back up a little bit…
Growing up I always painted. As a really young kid, I remember wanting to be a painter like my grandfather and uncle. In my teens and early 20s, that idea faded away into more practical professions. After university, I spent 5 or so years bouncing around in corporate jobs, eventually finding myself as an account manager at a digital marketing agency. Suddenly I was spending a lot of time thinking about clients (like Subway) and email marketing programs and databases. That was when I had my first "how did I get here?" moment. I realized that I was incredibly stressed about things that, in the end, I didn't actually care about. During that time, I started to paint more often and with more intent - refocusing my energy on something I truly enjoyed. As I did this more and more, I realized that painting was the first and only type of work that I had ever actually felt passionate about. Soon after, with some affirmations from friends and family, I decided to pursue a real career in painting.
Chris Firger, Summer Light in Newport, acrylic
Question 2: What inspires your artwork?
Some combination of the world around me and other artists’ art. I find the two times I'm most psyched about getting back into the studio are (1) after a trip to a beautiful place or (2) after a trip to the museum. In the first case, I'll be hiking, or camping, or driving to who knows where, and I'll see the light hitting a certain spot or the waves crashing on some rocks and think, "I need to share this.” I love the idea of bringing those moments from the outdoors into people's homes. In the second case, I'll be walking through galleries, checking out work by Sargent, or Homer, or Hibbard, or Harris, or whoever, and I'll think "I need to get better.” Studying great work only makes me want to get home and throw some paint on canvas in an attempt to recreate a fraction of those masterpieces.
Chris Firger, No Guard on Duty, acrylic
Question 3: What are your other hobbies?
Anything outdoors. I'm very into rock climbing. My wife and I climb a few times a week. I'm also fairly passionate about cooking.
Chris Firger, Winter Sunrise (Coolidge Corner), acrylic on canvas, 24” x 30”
Question 4: What do you consider your most important tool when it comes to making art?
For me, having a dedicated studio is incredibly important. I try to limit any friction when it comes to painting - meaning I want it to be as easy as possible for me to pick up a brush and start painting. Having an easel and palette constantly at the ready allows me to dive in as soon as I feel inspired.
Chris Firger, Mt. Vernon Street, acrylic, 12” x 16”
Question 5: How do you know when a work is finished?
When I feel as though I'm getting close to done, I'll step back from the canvas and look at the painting. If there's some part of it that's annoying me, it's not done. If nothing is annoying me, it's done.
See Winter Sunrise (Coolidge Corner), in the Upper Gallery until April 28th and see Mt. Vernon Street, in the Fresh Paint 2019 Auction and Gala which takes place on Thursday, May 16th from 6:30-8:30pm! Get tickets here: freshpaint2019.eventbrite.com.