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242 N. 7th St. Carbondale, CO 81623 U.S.A.
Chris Hassig grew up in Carbondale, CO with a pencil in hand. At the age of thirteen his fascination with maps fostered an idiosyncratic personal project to invent and map a fictional country he called Saiopor. The project continued in a secret notebook throughout his high school and college years, as the pages became ever more detailed, sophisticated, and palimpsestic. The ambition to fit entire cities within a 9x12 page incidentally honed a uniquely fine and miniaturized drafting technique, which he occasionally turned toward nature during backpacking trips into the Colorado and Wyoming Rockies.
An offhand sketch of a mundane patch of grass ultimately led him to more conscious art making. The new project used the commonplace subject matter of grass to delve into the complexity and inexhaustible detail of nature. As the ink grass drawings became a studio project and grew in scale, Chris came to view them through the lens of abstract pattern making rather than botanical illustration, although the subject remained clearly evident. The composition of the drawings evolved from simple horizons into geometric forms intended to revolutionize the aesthetic impact of the work from a distance. This achieved a simultaneous feat of calm minimalism and evolving complexity, depending on how close one came to the drawing. The drawings pointed a way forward from the ever purifying arc of minimalist art--embracing the complication inevitably discovered within apparent simplicity.
A printmaking apprenticeship at Mixit Print Studio in Somerville, MA in 2012, 2013 and 2014 finally cracked open the sketchbook and let its subject matter out into a more public format. One culmination of the apprenticeship was an ambitious 4’ x 6’ map of Ralesis, the capital city of Saiopor, composed of eight etched copper plates. During a 2016 printmaking residency at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass Village, CO, Chris expanded the map to 4’ x 9’ and began developing a project to describe and illustrate the neighborhoods of Ralesis in an increasingly novelistic way.
Side projects with cyanotypes, painting, and collage during the Mixit apprenticeship allowed Chris to explore looser, more wabi-sabi processes that would find their way into both the drawings and printmaking techniques used on the maps. Chris also began using sewn elements in some of his printing projects as a way to reintroduce the direct hand into the work.
Most recently Chris has been pushing his drawing practice beyond grass into a more abstract, evocative realm, using diverse mark making, watercolor, charcoal, and India ink to create horizontally banded drawings that simultaneously suggest strata, landscape, and atmosphere.
This site is an informal gallery of selected work. Much of it is for sale--please contact me if any particular piece interests you.
All images are copyright Chris Hassig and may not be used without permission.