Q&A Chris Levine



4 min

Q&A With Contemporary Artist Chris Levine.

Thumbnail courtesy of KTW.


How would you describe the art industry today?

It’s changing like everything isn’t it? I mean I’m not with a major gallery at the moment and that’s probably why I’m doing this project at Sotherby’s but you know art itself is changing and evolving as quickly as humanity is.

What was your first experience with art?

Well I’ve always been creative, I’ve always been making things. You know relevant to my work I remember as a kid going through the science museum and seeing a portrait of Dennis Gabor, a hologram and whilst the rest of the kids are walking off and I was just pressing the button on-off it just defied logic. And I mean I like art now, as I guess I was touching on then, that make you question reality.

How did you become interested in light and holograms?

I went to Chelsea Art School and in my final year I was looking what am I going to do for my thesis and my degree and in a week I kept seeing all these things. I was given the hologram, a book appeared and I kept reading everything was about holograms but everything I had seen had been very much the result of laboratory led exercises, a very technical process but it wasn’t really an art form but I felt it had great potential so I used my thesis to look into holography and then from holography the fascination used with lasers to make holography.

Grace Jones, Kate Moss, The Dalai Lama, but how was it to be photographing the Queen? 

It was quite surreal to be honest. You know it was never a great ambition of mine you know it wasn’t rock and roll when I was at art school to do a portrait of the Queen but actually it was a huge honour and it was something I put my heart into.

How does it feel to take an artwork from your private collection out into the public?

Well, it doesn’t really stay in my walls at home too long, I either give it away or sell it that’s what I do and I’m just flattered that people like the work.

Is studying art necessary in this day and age?

Not necessarily. I went to art school and it was a good creative and fertile bit of time for me to experiment with but art is about expression and I think that can be born out of all kinds of circumstance.

How did this project with Sotherby’s come about?

They’ve sold a lot of my work over the past few years, mostly on the secondary market – stuff I’ve had nothing to do with but it’s just one aspect of my work, invariably the prints or maybe the light boxes but my practise is a bit wider than that. I was approached by Sotherby’s with the idea of putting a capsule collection together which was a good cross section of my practise you know from the light-works through to the portraiture through to silk screens. For me, it’s that creative work that has a sensory experience to it.

Sotherby’s auctioned a rare sneaker collection by Virgil Abloh. What are your thoughts on the merging of art and fashion?

I think fashion is a really highly creative field and the synthesis of fashion and art I think can be really exciting.

Which artwork of yours here is your favourite?

I think probably the piece ‘Light is Love’ which projects the word love into midair. You look at it and then it’s gone, you try and hold it, you can’t but it projects an image into your peripheral vision and light is love.

Name a person, dead or alive, that you would love to photograph.

I reckon Björk I think it’s been too long.

What impact do you want to leave through your art?

If I can lead people towards stillness then you know in this crazy world we need that. The real peace is inside we don’t have to look for it outside there are ways of meditating to really find peace and refuge inside.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Well, I’m very excited to say Glastonbury next year, it’s the 50th anniversary, I’m doing a laser installation that will go over the whole site something that we’re developing called the eye project. My collaborators Robert from Massive Attack, we’re doing something that uses sound, not music, this is about sound and light as energy and literally you can stand in the middle of this installation and it changes the way you feel.

Thanks for watching. It’s been a great honour and I’m really pleased to share my work with you.

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