I saw artist Chris Chun's Savour exhibit at the Washhouse Gallery in Rozelle (Sydney) almost a year ago and immediately fell in love with his the subjects of his paintings and the style of composing the canvases. His paintings generally feature his food memories of growing up in a Chinese family in Melbourne, the son of chefs: Afternoon tea, chocolate, cupcakes, sweets, but also fish, rice, and vegetables figure very big. As a trained textile designer, the dishes he paints to 'style' the canvasses are also sensational. The colors are vivid, often pastels, and to add texture, he incorporates elements of the dining experience, like grains of rice, chocolate wrappers, gold leaf, and thread. The end result is some of the most inviting and obsession-inducing artwork I've seen this year (and last!). Unfortunately, I wasn't able to acquire one of his paintings because the show was sold out (as often happens)! Chris is also a riot, a great resource for recipes, and fun to talk to about just about everything! (Photo taken in Hong Kong at Aqua restaurant). Oh and if you're in Australia next spring, Chris will be exhibiting at Washhouse again, from mid-April to early-May. Just a tip though-- if you might be interested in his work you should contact him ahead of time to preview the paintings!
Name: Chris Chun
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia
Studies/year of graduation: B.A Textile Design with Honours 1991
Profession/how long you've been there: Textile designer/ stylist since 1991 in Australia, UK and Italy. Since 2004, full time exhibiting artist also licensing artwork for upcoming products!
Left handed or Right handed: Right
Favorite dessert: Depends on my mood!
Sketch something you remember from your childhood.
Object/Icon you wish you had designed and why?
I wished I’d designed the Anna G bottle opener by Alessi. It not only reminds me of my time living in Rome but it works perfectly. I love the way you push her arms down to pull the cork out; it’s like she’s giving birth to the cork and it makes me smile. Fun, fabulous and functional – all things I aspire to when I design!
Or if you’ll give me a second answer, a foodie one, I wish I had designed the egg! It is simply perfect - the shape is beautiful, it comes with it's own unique packaging, a great source of protein and you can cook with it so many ways. Very versatile. It tastes fantastic on its own - Boiled, Scrambled, Poached, Fried... it's a great accompaniment to things like caviar, smoked salmon and you can make the most fantastic creations - from the lightest souffle to a rich creme custard etc.
The aspect of your work you never tire of?
Working with the different personalities of colour and being inspired by anything in everyday life: from the perfect plate of pasta, the beauty of a peony rose, Marrakech latest holiday, watching Oprah……it never stops. The day it does will probably be the day I die.
One color/pattern we’ll never see in your design portfolio.
Never say never…but I have never done anything with poo brown or camouflage.
You’ll know you’ve made it when…
you see some of your designs being ripped off by companies all over the world. And you get an interview with Kristina from Three Layer Cake ;-)!!
Chris has also designed some very traditional prints for porcelain manufacturer Ashdene. Because I collect tea cups, tea pots, and cake plates, I think variety of patterns/colors is great and am lately into the floral motifs, especially if the shape of the dishes is good!
High Tea, 60cm x 60cm, mixed media on canvas
La Dolce Vita, 80cm x 80cm, mixed media on canvas
(note: these are gelato flavors!)
The Way to Love, 40cm x 40cm, mixed media on canvas
(note: the heart is all hand-stitched)
Turkish Delight 45cm x 45cm, mixed media on canvas
(note the gold leaf and stitching)