Friday, December 28, 2007

Fresh Paint: Chris Rahn

Back to my series of mini interviews with illustrators fresh(ish) out of school.

Chris Rahn

I forget if it was Donato Giancola or Jon Foster who first emailed me and said I should keep my eye on a student named Chris Rahn. (Maybe it was both.) Four or five months later Chuck Pyle emailed me to say that a Chris Rahn would be in the Society of Illustrators’ student show and I should watch out for him. A few days ago Todd Lockwood emailed and said there was a real nice guy with some good chops coming up through the ranks named Chris Rahn....Honestly, I would have listened to any one of these guys,
and for good reason.

Where did you go to school and how do you feel they prepared you for your career, both artistically and in business?

I attended the Academy of Art in San Francisco and graduated last spring with a BA in Illustration. Aside from the usual jitters about striking out into the 'real world' I felt very prepared by everyone at the Academy. It's a big school and while you have to work hard to stand out, there are a lot of talented working artists teaching there and many of them were kind enough to take me under their wing.

What has been your biggest challenge post graduation?

I'd say it's learning to deal with the lack of structure that comes along with being a freelancer. It's a world without weekends so I'm learning to pace myself and to take the free time when it comes.

Do you feel as though you've had your first break yet?

Actually yes, last month I did my first piece for Wizards of the Coast. I've wanted to do work for them since I was like ten years old so it was really wonderful and surreal to finally be able to.

Do you think you have a breakthrough-painting in which you made a leap in your abilities?

The first to come to mind as a breakthrough painting is one of my older paintings called 'DragonFlower'. It was the first illustration I did that really tapped into the mood that I was looking for in my art.

Favorite painting that you have done in the last year?

I think my favorite is this little portrait study I did recently called 'Disciple'. [Top painting shown] It's definitely not my most finished painting of the year or the most well planned out but I touched on something there that I want to explore further. Plus, there's just something about a monster with a mustache...

A favorite painting by another artist?

One of my favorites is a painting by Jon Foster called 'Shamer's Daughter'. I'm a huge, I repeat huge fan of all of his work- but the colors, paint application and mood in that piece are especially staggering to me.

Do you have a five year plan?

In five years I'd love to be getting into book covers, aside from that I'm really just enjoying painting for a living.

Any advice to younger artists still in school?

Figure out what you want to do and get as good at it as you possibly can. I've seen a lot of talented young artists fade away either because they can't decide what they want to do or because they can't focus enough to achieve their goals. If you can get that stuff figured out you're most of the way there, the next thing you know you might just be doing an interview on Irene Gallo's blog!


Lana Gramlich said...

Interesting interview--thanks for sharing. The "Dragon Flower" painting reminds me of Whelan's covers for McCaffrey's Pern novels. I love the one of the hulking figures in the clearing.

Tom Scholes said...

OoOoo, thanks for letting us know too! Has he a website?

Rachel AKA said...

my earlier comment didn't post- Hmmm... let's test my memory. I think I said: Chris, you're in for a great time, among the best paint-slingers around. "Redisconvering" the SF&F art scene & showing at World Fantasy this year, I got a tantalizing sense of the warmth & connection among the artists. A great community! Thanks, Irene G. for spreading the joy (& giving me a chance to babble... enviously babble...). Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

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