FEATURED ARTIST: CHRIS RIVERA
My name is Chris Rivera, I’m twenty-four years old and I’m currently living in the Portland, Oregon metro area. I’ve been practicing photography for five years and videography for the past year and a half, mostly specializing in portrait and self portrait fine art. Being completely self taught, I’ve had an experiment and “trial and error” learning with photography. I would use some tips from other photographers and YouTube videos, especially for Adobe Photoshop tips and tricks as well for the super complicated things I wasn’t able to understand. I draw a lot of my inspiration from things such as film, music, nature, folklore and shapes for the concepts of my photography. For my work, I’ve been recognized and interviewed by certain web magazines and accounts for some of my favorite products, including Adobe Photoshop!
Are there things that inspire or keep your work alive?
Oh man, so many new and exciting movies are coming out nowadays, I feel a bit of inspiration from them! Especially artistic and fantasy movies like Black Swan, Harry Potter, Chronicle, and The Witch. I love to write a story caption with my work, to help immerse the viewer into the world of the character that I’m showing to them and set up a backstory to the scene. Sometimes though, I do love to leave the photo open to interpretation for the viewer.
What are your philosophical tendencies in your art collectively?
I like this question— I would say my philosophical tendencies lean more towards surrealism and the importance of the individual. Most of my photos have a central character and are either involved in a surrealistic situation or something about the subject is curious in itself. It may not even be the most obvious in some of my photos, but its there in a minute way.
Is there any advice you’d share with nascent artists?
Please, don’t get caught up in two things: having the best equipment (whether its an expensive camera or lens or the best wireless tablet) and comparing your work and success to others! I’ve unfortunately fallen for both of these myself and wish someone had told me otherwise. Granted, I did use my entry level camera for 4 years before I finally upgraded to a newer camera body, but I constantly would compare my work to others who clearly had a few years more experience than me and would feel that my art wasn’t good enough. Once I was able to step back from myself and notice that this mentality was hurting my creative process, I started respecting my art a little more and created!
Can you share a little concerning materials, composition and process?
For materials, I go to a combination of places to get items: thrift shops for more inexpensive pieces that I can thrash a bit, craft stores for certain props like fake diamonds, glitter, rope and paint. I use plenty of Photoshop and Lightroom for my edits and have a super handy Wacom Intuos tablet that I use for retouching and composing my work! Whenever I sit down to edit, I always like to make sure I have some sort of music going on in the background: it truly helps me dig deep. Depending on the concept that I have for the photo, my work time is anywhere from half and hour to three hours in different intervals. I love to take a break from a photo for a bit of time to give me rest and possibly new inspiration: plenty of times I’ve found things that I’ve missed or could have retouched a little better.
What contact information or social media accounts would you like to share?
I can always be contacted at the email address on my website, www.christopherj.org, where one can see more of my photos! Other social media outlets I use on a regular basis are Instagram (@chris.rivera), Facebook (Christopher J. Photography), Twitter (@chrsrvra) and Snapchat (chrsrvra)!
Where can your works be purchased?