The Artist & The Internet: Chris Valentine

The age of the Internet has brought a new platform for artists and illustrators to further their careers. We hung out with Joburg’s top artist and illustrator Chris Valentine to find out how the World Wide Web has changed the game for those in his line of work.

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From collaborations with artists in Bangkok, Thailand to commissioned work from São Paulo, Brazil Chris Valentine has the world at his finger tips. Before his artwork started to ship all over the world, Chris’ obsession with illustration started when he first copied Alberto Uderzo’s The Adventures Of Astérix at a young age. This trend formed the basis of Chris’ anatomy as an artist as he later drew mock-up album covers of his favourite bands – which eventually lead to him illustrating the album covers of the German band Annisokay.

Chris has since furthered his career to a point where he can do what he loves for a living. This all started when he created a profile for himself on the artist network Bēhance where he collaborated with Thai artist Tarin Yuangtrakul. Together the two landed a feature on Bēhance’s front page and caught the attention of many international figureheads in the art world. Apart from dedicated platforms such as Bēhance, Chris has found that social media makes the world a very small place, and all it takes is a share or two and one can access an exponentially larger audience which is otherwise unreachable. “It still amazes me to think that I can be sitting in my studio working on an oil painting, and in the space of five minutes I can post a picture to social media and get a commission from someone in another country,” Chris says. His work has been exhibited all around the world, from Johannesburg to New York. At the moment Chris is preparing for more exhibitions later this year – and all this at the age of 25. Chris 2

To Chris social media has its downfalls, though. Artists often over-step that invisible moral boundary and turn their self-promotion into narcissism. This in itself removes from their art and the work starts to lose its intended purpose. As Chris puts it, “our gifts were given to us to serve and help others… I’m not exactly sure how that would play out in the art world yet, but I think it’s a good starting point.”

His biggest heroes in the art world have always been those who will take time out of their day to reply to admirers. There is a fine line between self-promotion and vanity and Chris Valentine tends to tread lightly around this by granting make-shift interviews to journalist fan-boys through a mixture of text messages, emails and voice notes whenever he gets the time. Thanks, Chris.

If you would like to check out more of Chris Valentine’s work, head over to his Facebook page here or check him out on Instagram here.

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By Shawn Greyling

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