Chris Cole creates moving creatures and surreal images of avian and aquatic life that are inseparable from the industrialized and mechanical world we live in. Smooth plant-like shapes are connected with heavy bolts; tendons, seed-pods, and seaweed seem to be screwed to washers and bearings; fins and wings are animated by bicycle chains and motors, melding nature with the mechanized world.
Most of his life has been spent in the small towns of the Northwest. Proximity and the abundance of wilderness heavily influenced Chris’s subject matter though he always gravitated toward the abstract. He began painting as a teenager and, uncomfortable in the classroom, has developed his self-taught style of abstract surrealism.
As a kid, Chris was fascinated with machinery, especially anything he could take apart and alter or refashion. The attraction was initially based in physics and mechanical potential rather than aesthetics. In the late 1970’s, his family moved to Omaha and Chris started hanging out with kids who tricked-out their bikes- covering them with reflectors or fur, chain steering wheels, etc. This early exposure to the integration of aesthetics with mechanical function had resounding effects on him.Bikes continued to play a predominant roll in Chris’s life – he was 12 when he got a job repairing bikes after school and as an adult he went on to spend nearly two decades as a professional bike mechanic. Working on bikes dramatically shaped his understanding of machinery, and became the basis for his kinetic sculptures.
To see his work: www.chriscoledesigns.com
Sweet Pea Cole had dabbled with print making in school and for the occasional xmas card. Sweet Pea’s brother gave her a vintage printing press, which collected dust, served as a stereo table, dining sideboard, etc for years. After seeing a Chuck Close retrospective at the Portland Museum of Art, her interest in printmaking was renewed and the press was cleared off.
She is drawn to reduction style linoleum print making and she finds pulling each print after a new color is inked is a very satisfying experience. All of her prints are hand pulled from hand carved blocks.
Recently, Sweet Pea has been inspired by the craft movement and has created a line of plush dolls and soft goods in addition to her prints and cards.
To see her work: email@example.com