Chris Uphues

b. 1971

Born in Berwyn, Illinois; lives in Chicago.

In 1983, I was twelve years old. I spent my days reading comic books, fanzines, and listening to punk rock. I did not know then that I was being hard-wired with what would be the basis of a visual vocabulary. Even with some Surrealist connections, I still feel most comfortable with popular and cartoon culture. I understand the fantastic energy, force, and formal variety present everywhere in the material products of everyday popular culture.

My own vernacular is personal, not polemical; it embraces an idiosyncratic visual vocabulary that includes toys, robots, popular and anonymous objects, graffiti, video games, animation, comics and fireworks. While part of my intention, by relying on homely sources, is a sly mockery of ‘High Art,’ the vernacular itself is not used in an ironic way, but rather one of wry affection. What is most important for me is playing within the conventions of the comic strip illustration where the simplicity of the language partly veils an underlying comment on contemporary culture.
--Chris Uphues