Chris Tanis, Only be one, 8x11, Mixed Media (watercolor, marker, ink,), 2015

Chris Tanis, Have Guts, 8x11, Mixed Media (watercolor, marker, ink,), 2015

Chris Tanis, King Samo, 11x12, Sharpie marker, 2013

Art is all I’ve ever seen in my life; it is the greatest gift I’ve been given and I no longer want to waste the talents I’ve worked so hard to sharpen. I used to spend all day sketching in front of Saturday morning cartoons as a young child meticulously remembering each detail of every show Cartoon Network had to offer. Now I walk around all day trying my best to remember cloud formations, watch the way clothes ruffle in the wind, and the way the corners of a mouth curve when one smiles. Trying to remember each detail the universe has to offer.

I realized I was better than most at drawing at an early age, I would say 5-6. Since then I’ve taken it upon myself to create and explore these abilities. I’ve spent my whole life developing a pretty steady hand at painting and drawing everything from still lives, to portraits, to cartoons, to graffiti, to surrealism and even abstract work. My love for the art in Japanese anime arose around the age of 7-8 and I’ve been hooked ever since. The animation, erratic movement and masterful composition of the Japanese animation drew me in, but what kept me focused was the originality in design and style that anime possessed. It wasn’t until about middle school when I took an interest in older painters and realized how far I had to go on my journey to be an artist.

Upon discovering the works of Norman Rockwell and Michelangelo, I made up my mind by 12 years of age that I would be an illustrator by 25(Ha!). Gone were the days of cartoons and anime, I spent hours flipping through art textbooks all throughout middle school and high school trying my best to imitate other artists. Experimenting with different materials like charcoal, pastels and oil paint to try and discover my “style”. Studying value and perspective, filling up sketchbook after sketchbook with work that didn’t really, mean anything to me. Random portraits of friends long forgotten, pages and pages of hands posing, I remember spending a week drawing noses on all my homework. I was never excited to pursue commissions or take on work because I felt I wasn’t good enough, I was hellbent on perfection.

It wasn’t until I sold my first original piece at 18 that I realized when someone buys your art they are buying what you bring to the table and what you have imagined. No matter the style or concept, they are purchasing their dream or their idea translated through your very capable hands. I still don’t believe I’m good enough, but after years of doing away with sticking to traditional methods and no longer imitating others, I’ve discovered a style I love. It may be a mixture of all the influences I’ve named, and all the studies I’ve done but in the end its 100% my own.

In conclusion, my entire existence is spent studying the details of this universe we live in and applying it to the imagination I was lucky enough to not lose. I would say that art to me isn’t about depictions of other individuals or things, its more about representing yourself in everything you do. It’s not about developing a style you’ve seen somewhere else it’s about stumbling and falling across paper and canvas until you discover your own style and stand tall behind it.

I’m ready to stand behind my work.