Portraits by Chris Come to Life

One night at a dinner party, it was suggested that artist Chris Harris draw a portrait of someone at the table.

Using a black Sharpie from someone’s handbag and square-shaped paper napkins from the restaurant, Chris took to the task without hesitation.

As soon as one portrait was complete and shown off, others at the table couldn’t wait to be next in the queue. Chris completed six portraits in mere minutes. The only portrait that was missing was one of Chris himself.

Artist Chris Harris. Photo by Rob Cox

Artist Chris Harris. Photo by Rob Cox

In a stroke of genius, dinner guest Mike (Chris’ brother) suggested that Chris create a self-portrait by using a photo taken on a mobile. In the rather challenging lighting conditions, a photo was snapped, and Chris completed his self-portrait.

Dinner party portraits by Chris Harris. Photo by Rob Cox

Dinner party portraits by Chris Harris. Photo by Rob Cox

Extending the Project

The portrait project was simply too much fun not to continue beyond the dinner party.

It was then suggested that we have a tea party to celebrate Chris’ feat and bring the paper napkin portraits to life.

Simon Hemsley’s Tree Street studio was chosen as the venue. It’s a centrally located working studio completely lacking in pretence.  It’s friendly and relaxed and, at the same time, productive.  And, Chris had previously spent some time creating alongside Simon in his studio.

Simon prepares for the tea. Photo by Rob Cox

Simon prepares for the tea. Photo by Rob Cox

As host of the tea party, we needed a portrait of Simon, and Chris willingly obliged.

Each participant in the portrait project was then invited to pose – either in or around the studio – with their portrait. Later on, we met with Chris and showed him the portraits again and asked for his thoughts.  We documented what Chris had to say.  We also gathered the impressions of Chris’ subjects.

Putting on a Terrific Tea

But first, a great tea needs, well, great treats. We decided on cucumber sandwiches, and found welcome tips on how to make them right here.

Amazing cucumber sandwiches. Photo by Rob Cox

Amazing cucumber sandwiches. Photo by Rob Cox

We also whipped up some terrific oatmeal cookies along with some totally amazing chocolate delights called densities.  You can head to your kitchen to get creative, but we encourage you to enjoy the rest of the post.

Oatmeal cookies, cucumber sandwiches and chocolate densities. Photo by Rob Cox

Oatmeal cookies, cucumber sandwiches and chocolate densities. Photo by Rob Cox

Special Thanks

Before we introduce you to Chris’ subjects, we say a big thank you Rob Cox of oxy images for accepting our invitation to tea and documenting our antics.

Meeting Chris’ Subjects

Linda

From Chris:  “This doesn’t look like Linda at all.  Her portrait looks like a prison guard.”

From Linda:  “Our impression of a person is often based on previous experiences and what they look like on the outside. In fact, if we take away the facade – the uniform or the mask perhaps – we may be pleasantly surprised with what we find.”

Linda with her portrait. Photo by Rob Cox

Linda with her portrait. Photo by Rob Cox

Wanda

From Chris:  “This doesn’t look much like Wanda.  This portrait looks like a prisoner.”

From Wanda:  “I’m thrilled that I was wearing a beanie and scarf when Chris drew my portrait.  They help keep me warm in prison.”

Wanda with her portrait. Photo by Rob Cox

Wanda with her portrait. Photo by Rob Cox

Simon

From Chris:  “It looks like Simon just got out of jail.”

From Simon:  “We all get locked into doing things we don’t want to for too long.  But, now that I’m out of jail, I can do whatever I want.”

Simon with his portrait. Photo by Rob Cox

Simon with his portrait. Photo by Rob Cox

Mike

From Chris:  “I’ve made Mike look like a pirate.”

From Mike:  “I’m thrilled to look like a pirate.  After all, I get to act like one while doing my day job when I’m living a life of grand adventure.”

Mike with his portrait. Photo by Rob Cox

Mike with his portrait. Photo by Rob Cox

Barb

From Chris:  “I’ve known Barb for about ten years.  She’s helpful.  I remember she was there when I moved house.”

From the Editor:  Barb’s been scarce since the tea party.  Word on the street is that she’s crossing the Nullarbor.  Maybe she’s evading jail.  Let’s hope she can tell us in the comments section!

Barb with her portrait. Photo by Rob Cox

Barb with her portrait. Photo by Rob Cox

John

From Chris:  “I think I drew my dad’s portrait from my memories of him.”

From John:  “I look a bit lean in my portrait. Maybe I looked like that when I was twenty.”

John with his portrait. Photo by Rob Cox

John with his portrait. Photo by Rob Cox

Robyn

From Chris:  “This portrait looks more like Nurse Ratched than Robyn.”

From Robyn:  “I’m delighted to look even a bit like Nurse Ratched. After all, she won an Academy Award, didn’t she?”

Robyn with her portrait. Photo by Rob Cox

Robyn with her portrait. Photo by Rob Cox

Chris

From Chris:  “I’m like a surfer – physically fit”

From the Editor:  Chris is the greatest of combinations:  a sporty artist!

Chris with his self-portrait and painting. Photo by Rob Cox

Chris with his self-portrait and painting. Photo by Rob Cox

Thanks for being a virtual guest at our tea party!  Did you enjoy yourself?  Tell us in the comments section.

For more on the antics of Art Partners, you can subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter right here.

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See you next month!

21 thoughts on “Portraits by Chris Come to Life

  1. waferal

    Certainly does look like nurse Ratshed. I think she was a wee more ‘cuckoo’ that her patients. Looking through her eyes I see the:

    Faces
    Vacant
    Staring
    Haunted eyes
    Hearts dying with the horror
    Rights taken
    Freedom gone
    Running from oppression

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Great words and phrases waferal. Yes, nurse Ratched was something else. We read that she was voted the fifth-greatest villain in film history by the American Film Institute!

      Reply
  2. Johanna

    What a wonderful idea. I can only imagine what fun it was in real life. Glad that you’re all enjoying life much more ‘out of prison’ (Lol!) and hope you enjoyed those cucumber sandwiches (my favourite). Great stuff you oh so talented peeps 🙂

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      So lovely to hear from you Johanna, and delighted that you are back in our neighbourhood! The portrait project was a wonder. Yup, I’m in jail, Linda is making sure that I don’t escape and Simon got early release for good behaviour. What a journey!

      Reply
  3. Rob Holmes

    Terrific concept and some great impressions and photos. Loved the black and white photo of Chris. Such talented people around and lovely to see them getting together. Congratulations.

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Thanks Rob for checking out the post. Yes, great work by Chris. And, that black and white portrait by Rob Cox is terrific. Rob has done a series of black and whites of the Art Partners artists. It would be fun to see if we could do something more with them. Please stay in touch.

      Reply
  4. Mark Sadowski

    An absolute joy to read….a great story by Wanda to cover this creative project that sprouted at the dinner table. The blogpost is supported by superb photos. Well done to Chris for churning out the sketches and to those who took part in the fun.

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Thanks Mark for stopping by. This is such a great story as we managed to capture a little of Chris’ voice and incorporate it into the story. Kudos to everyone who participated!

      Reply
  5. Irene in Canada

    I love this series of sketches and the prison theme – in such sharp contrast with the liberating fun spiritedness of the series. A hoot! Thanks so much for the pics and humour. Treats as delicious as tea!

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      We knew this one would make you laugh out loud! This was such a fun tea party, and the fact that we managed to capture Chris’ voice – what a bonus! Thanks so much for staying in touch.

      Reply
  6. Elizabeth & Louis Ariano

    The project is very original and captures the imagination which makes for lively conversation. The portraits are associated with very interesting thoughts!

    Reply
  7. André Pilon

    D’après ce que je vois, Chris est un artiste qui trace ses portraits du coeur !
    And that way of showing each person with their own portrait is very creative.
    BRAVO !

    Reply

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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