This Peruvian artist now lives in Canada and is best known for his street murals and visionary art worldwide, particularly on skateboards. His work is totally unique and completely awe-inspiring which makes his Creation Skateboards instantly recognisable and appreciated by many.
With an introspective mind and a profound love of life experiences, Chris Dyer is a soul on a quest to deliver positive imagery to the masses and create a happier reality through his art. We love Chris’ work here at Surfdome and were stoked to catch up with the man himself.
What are you up to at the moment?
Right now I am at the end of a 2 month long trip to Peru. I grew up here but I haven’t visited in 8 years or seen my parents, and I haven’t shown the country to my Belgian wife Valerie. I was offered a solo exhibition in Lima and that was a big success. The rest of the time I spent travelling the country to get in touch with my cultural roots and drop murals here and there if possible too.
Check out the video of Chris’ exhibition in Lima.
You’re obviously a keen traveller, but where’s the most inspirational place you’ve visited so far? Did this particular trip have a big effect on your style of work?
Yeah, for me travelling is what it’s all about. I work to be able to travel and the travels enrich my work in a upward spiral. I’ve been to almost 30 countries of all 5 continents but it’s difficult to single out any location as each place has its own gems.
Though this present trip to Peru is a place I know too well. I started it with a different intention of healing and outsider perspective, so I’ve been able to enjoy it more and find all of the positive sides of this rich culture that in my youth had also hurt me much.
How would you describe your style of art?
It’s difficult to use words to describe images that try to describe feelings. But I guess what I do is expressing my soul, which is colourful, real, multicultural, and positive. I try to use my art as a bridge between different cultures that sometimes can seem opposite but are all one in the infinite body of God, which is everything. I want to use my art to heal myself and to heal the world, to have fun, travel, learn, teach, enjoy and pay my bills.
Where do you find inspiration? Are there any other artists or designers you look up to?
Inspiration is all around me and is inescapable. The list of artists that inspire me is too long. There is so much quality out there, it’s humbling. The world is a giant art-piece, from nature to cultures to those special human beings. I want to surround myself with more of these so that I myself keep striving to step up my own game as a person and as an artist, and at the same time be able to inspire others to do the same. That is how the world upgrades its software and becomes a better place.
What’s your favourite or most meaningful piece?
That is a super difficult question to answer, it’s like choosing a favourite child. You love each one for different reasons and have a different relationship with each. I leave it up to my viewers to decide which ones resonate the most with them, because I try to have a wide range of flavours to choose from.
Do you have a preferred medium to work on?
It depends on my mood and the weather. When it’s winter I love being indoors, cosy, painting (with acrylics usually) away my days of drawing up graphics for different companies. Canada’s cold so that helps with that.
When spring arrives I want to be outdoors and spray painting. Bigger, quicker things are way more enjoyable! Same for when I am travelling. I can drop big visual gifts wherever I may roam without feeling like I’ve lost too much time or paint in such investment. But yeah, medium is just a medium to what I am trying to express at the time, so it changes as my moods do.
Describe your perfect working environment.
In my studio I usually work alone and listen to my record collection, speeches or movies. I do enjoy painting with others but it’s complicated to leave the studio or to have guests over. That is where spray paint jams are more condusive for collabos with art friends.
What made you decide to start working with skateboard decks?
Well, I’ve been skating since 1986 and still do today. Your skateboard becomes your friend over many adventures, but it has a lifetime. I just don’t have the heart to throw it in the garbage as if that relationship didn’t mean anything. So I would keep my broken boards, which ended up making a huge pile, and by 2000 the inevitable recycling of these energy-full pieces of sacrificed trees started becoming the canvases of my paintings for many years to come, hopefully giving them a way longer life.
I’ve also been able to work for the skate industry for the past 10 years and presently direct California’s Creation Skateboards, as well as doing freelance graphics for a bunch of other brands worldwide.
Creation Skateboards are recognised everywhere thanks to their unique graphics. How does it feel to see someone skating around on something you’ve lovingly designed?
It blows my mind when I notice how far and wide my art can reach out to the youth of this world, particularly as a skate graphic. To travel far away from home and see somebody rolling on your art makes your life have importance, especially when you are trying to say something meaningful in that graphic. Seeing your art flying through the pages of skate mags and under the feet of talented skaters is pretty surreal too. It just shows me that the art isn’t mine, it’s the worlds and I was just a brush in the hand of God transferring that vision out to physical reality.
When did your love of skating start? Is this what you do for some downtime when you’re not working?
The first time I skated was sitting down on a board going downhill in summer 1986. Later that year I got my first board for Christmas. I never really got good at it, but I have a lot of fun on my board and never stopped doing it or loving everything about this unique, artistic rebel culture. I do it when I can, hopefully once or twice a month if I’m not busy. Sometimes it’s everyday if I’m on a trip that conduces for that, sometimes it’s months I rest off it because Canadian winters are very cold and snowy. But I hope I can continue hitting up a mini ramp or roll around my hood till the day I die.
Finally, what’s next for Chris Dyer?
Well, I look forward to getting back home to Montreal and catch up on some graphics, commissions, paintings and projects. New exhibitions and trips are scheduled for the year and people can check that out on my Facebook or blogs. Though I feel I have already accomplished so much, I also feel there is a lot more to come and to grow and to step up, but I will only know what that really means once I actually realise it, so stay tuned!!
Keep up to date with Chris Dyer’s latest work on Official Website / Facebook / Documentary
With a huge thank you to Chris Dyer. Surfdome wish him all the luck in the future.