We were lucky to catch up with Christian Feneck recently and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Christian, thanks for joining us today. It’s always helpful to hear about times when someone’s had to take a risk – how did they think through the decision, why did they take the risk, and what ended up happening. We’d love to hear about a risk you’ve taken.
Making the decision to leave the professional architecture world and focus fully on art was quite a risk. Growing up, and all through school, I had never really considered being a full-time artist. I had my sights focused on architecture as I have always been interested in building things. After graduating with a Master of Architecture degree I began building a career in the field and finding some success in doing so. But, there was always something lacking.
I enjoyed much of the work in an architecture firm and, of course, the financial predictability. However, I loved the design aspects of the jobs most. Pulling that out and taking it into the art world afforded me the design freedom I was craving. It has been quite a few years and I have never looked back. I still see my painting and installation work as creating architectural spaces, though much more abstractly.
Christian, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I am visual artist interested in exploring the relationship vision holds in our understanding and creation of places. I have lived all over the country from Hawaii to California to Massachusetts, but have resided in Fort Lauderdale since 2004. I am architecturally trained and studied color theory under a student of Josef Albers. The majority of my practice is painting where I create interactions of colors and layered perspectives that move our vision through imaginary spaces allowing us to occupy them. As much of what we see can drift into the background of our attention, my work seeks to reveal the spectacle of our experiences and highlight the fundamental role perception plays in our engagement and understanding of the world.
The world is so luscious and our senses are the primary way we come to know and understand it. Vision, being chief among them, carries us through cities and up mountains, traveling to places we will never touch filling our minds with information. But the immediacy of our vision is not always necessary. We can remember past scenes and even picture entirely imaginary spaces. The distinction between experienced and fictive spaces is often blurred in our minds, allowing us to position ourselves within them and be surrounded by a familiar creation. The ambiguity of our memory is sharpened and made real by our senses. My work is a combination of these conditions. I blend them to create places for the mind.
In your view, what can society to do to best support artists, creatives and a thriving creative ecosystem?
The best way to support artists and more broadly a creative ecosystem is to expose yourself to their work. Become part of the ecosystem. (Reading this article is a good start!) South Florida has an incredibly diverse artistic culture and there is an opening or event nearly every day. Going to these events, if even for a short visit, supports the creation and development of culture. Not only do the artists really appreciate it, it also gets their message out into the world. Sometimes it’s life-changingly profound; sometimes it just plants a small seed; sometimes it’s comically terrible. In any case, it causes a change in the viewer and advances our society.
Beyond that, buying artwork is also vital to the ecosystem. Become a patron of the arts. Most artists offer work at a variety of price points allowing for casual patronage to more substantial works for the serious collector. I would suggest starting with buying what you like or at least find interesting.
Looking back, are there any resources you wish you knew about earlier in your creative journey?
The most valuable resource I have found to advance my work and creative journey is other artists. Over the years I have gathered a group of artists I trust and respect and we discuss each other’s work.
During my academic years, I was surrounded by creative people to talk to and discuss ideas with. As a professional artist, it is actually much more solitary and you have to work much harder to find quality critical discourse. But slowly over the years I have met and assembled an inspiring and challenging group of artists. We try to gather monthly and critique each other’s latest work and share the experience of our individual successes and failures. It has been incredibly helpful and I would highly encourage any creative person to keep building connections and learning from other artists.
- Website: www.christianfeneck.com
- Instagram: christianfeneck