Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Artist Interview: Chris Hajny

Artist Interview with Chris Hajny
by Lindsay Nohl


Meet Chris. He’s the stealthy part of Light Grey Art Lab—the behind-the-scenes guy. He works for Paper Bicycle LLC and Light Grey Art Lab, and spends his free time playing video games, making artwork, petting pets, and hanging out with friends. He is a funny, quick witted, and super tall guy.

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Chris, can you describe what you do at Light Grey?

I am the photographer, podcast producer, press contact, dog walker, errand boy, Dungeon Master, and IT support. I also move all the heavy things that need moving and reach all the high things that need reaching.


What are your other claims to fame? (What else are you doing with your days?)

I’m not sure fame is the right word, I try to keep a pretty low-profile. I work as a product designer at Paper Bicycle with all my bestest buds (both of them!). That consists of concepting, design, illustration, pattern making, and production-work.
Cowboy up.

Tell me a little bit about the art you make? Any favorite subjects? Materials? Themes? Do you have some defaults?

I love drawing, although everything I do ends up digital in the end. One thing I’ve found, which took some time to actually come to understand and appreciate, is that I value mark-making and spontaneity over refinement and precision. I don’t differentiate between sketching and a finished rendering; it’s all just drawing. I try not to treat anything precious. Material-wise I don’t really have any special tools, I’ll draw with (and on) whatever I can find.

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Eye of smashing.
Conversely, I also love working with illustrator, where I mainly use the pen tool and mouse. It’s obviously a very different experience than putting pencil to paper, but I enjoy them both.

Subject-wise I tend to make things that are very cute or very ugly, but lately I've been really into on-site observational drawing. People, architecture, nature; it doesn't really matter. I find it soothing and rewarding, which is only odd because I didn't enjoy it much in my younger days.

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When you travel, what do you like to do and where do you like to go?

Traveling is a love-hate relationship for me. I hate to plan ahead and think about the bad things that can happen, and all the work I’ll be falling behind on while I’m gone. So getting out the door is the challenge. But once I’m there, I usually fit in and get lost in the experience pretty quick.
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I’ve traveled a fair bit and there’s definitely a theme to what I like. I like cold climates. I’ll take mountains, glaciers and bulky jackets over beaches, oceans and swimsuits any day. I also don’t like schedules and plans. I’ve been to Japan a couple times, and I spent my days on the trains without much of a plan (apart from hitting all the arcades) which was great. In Iceland, we rented a car and hit the road with no plans or places to stay. My favorite thing about vacations is discovery; coming across things you didn’t know existed, and you feel like you might be the first to ever see it (even though you are most certainly not).

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One of the things that I think is really interesting about you is that when you get into something, you get really into it. For example, the podcast. Or D&D. You also have an encyclopedic knowledge of what’s going on in the videogame industry and encyclopedic knowledge of movies before 2000. How often do you find a new obsession? What kinds of things have you obsessed over in the past?

I’m not sure. I don’t find a new obsession often and I don’t actively look for them, either. I don’t have enough time to spend doing the things I love as it is, so adding more to the mix isn’t something I usually seek out.

But when I do find something I actually care about, I tend to research and learn as much as I can about it as fast as I can. It’s not something I consciously do, I just can’t help myself.

Previously I've been obsessed with Printmaking, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Film & Video, Street Fighter, Hip Hop, and musicals.

Skill skull

I also know that you are a pretty good dancer. How did that happen?

It did not happen. It is a gift. I do not dance, I am but a conduit for the jams to express themselves visually.

What is your favorite song to sing in karaoke?

It was ‘Every Rose Has Its Thorn’ by Poison, and that song still holds a special place in my heart. But it’s so cliche that some karaoke places won’t even play it. So I guess Meatloaf’s ‘Paradise By The Dashboard Light’ or RUN DMC’s ‘Tricky’ if Ryan Michlitsch will duet with me. Or anything from any musical ever.

Name something that is intense.

Camping. Circuses. Boners.

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Thank you, Chris!

You can see more of Chris's artwork on his hilariously out-of-date website here and follow his slightly more up to date blog here



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