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Cristopher Cichocki



Cristopher Cichocki combines organic and synthetic, macro and micro, Earth Art and BioArt to investigate the effects of industrialization on land and sea. His site-specific, multi-sensory environmental interventions suggest strange new floras rising from human waste and hubris. Cristopher's home, in the blistering Southern California desert, is a half hour out of Salton Sea, a saline lake drained out to feed cities and farms hundreds of miles away, that now threatens to make an entire region uninhabitable from the toxic fumes spewing out of its bed. The land is ever-present in Cristopher’s work -- at once arid and dangerously alive.

What is something that I would be surprised to find in your space?
In the back of my studio, I have a room dedicated to immersive installations. It’s completely enclosed and painted entirely black, so when you enter, it’s an unexpected dimension of the space.

Describe your ideal workspace in three words…
Versatile, Warm, Multi-faceted.

What's the best advice you've been given?
I find it super important to work on multiple artworks at the same time. If you focus too much on anything, I feel you actually lose focus at a certain point. It’s critical to have a fresh eye; working, switching through numerous artworks in the course of the day allows for this balance of perspectives, as well as time to digest. Mark Bradford taught me this when I was in a studio  next to him in the early 2000’s.

Where did you find the courage to follow your own path?
I was lucky as a teenager to encounter teachers that had a strong understanding of contemporary art. First off, my middle school art teacher, Karen Wheeler, made me understand that my intuitive abstractions had something going for them. I had no clue, but Karen gave me tremendous motivation from her support, when I was as young as thirteen. Then, there was my next door neighbor, William Hemmerdinger, who happened to be an incredible artist, writer and educator. The stars truly aligned with William being next door. He told me: "the most difficult part of painting is to know when to walk away gracefully.” I think about this every time I’m in the studi
But the bigger point here is that Karen and William gave me courage at a young age. I see so many young, talented artists, and I try to pass along the same support I once received. The sooner a young artist-spirit hears words of support, the sooner they can begin to elevate to the next level.

What is the most productive practical tip you could impart to a fellow creative?
Jules Engel said in a lecture, when I was at CalArts, that you need to have your studio set up and ready to work. Sounds simple, but when you're inspired, and then you have to set up your materials for 30 minutes before you begin to work, the setting-up process can dampen that inspiration, as well as kill your productivity. So, whatever size your space is, you need to find an entry flow that allows you to jump right into the process on a daily basis.

What would you tell your 18-year-old self?
Document EVERYTHING.

cristophersea.com
theelemental.org
@cristophercichocki

TEXT BY RAFAEL WAACK









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