We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Battle and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chris, what role has risk played in your life or career?
The road to being a professional artist is ALL about risk: Putting your artwork out there to be evaluated by prospective employers is the first big risk you absolutely have to take when you’re trying to break into the industry. Once you’re in, from there on out it’s more risks every couple of years if you want to push yourself out of your artistic & professional comfort zones to advance not only your skills, but also your career. Sometimes that means leaving a stable job in order to reach that next level (and maybe also be part of a higher profile project that might further your career and ensure your longevity in the business) Sometimes it means trying out new techniques/mediums that you might not have mastered yet or jumping in w/both feet on a project you’re doubtful you can pull off. I’ve done all of these at various points in my career, and the rewards that come with taking risks are often worth the stress & late nights in the end!
Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I’m a largely self-taught artist who was lucky enough to grow up in Los Angeles surrounded by entertainment professionals, and benefited from combination of supportive parents and schools that featured strong art curriculums. That luck continued when the 90s animation wave hit right after I graduated high school, and I was able to get into the cartoon biz despite having no experience or formal schooling. It was definitely a challenge learning while working (esp while surrounded by Cal Arts and Art Center grads), but through a combination of (again) luck & hard work, I carved out a successful career while working on many well-loved shows of the era as well as famous franchises for major companies. During that time, I’ve learned to follow my heart and work on projects I would want to watch if I wasn’t already working on them, and it’s worked out great — I often say I have the dream job of any 8 year old!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
In a safer, post-pandemic world, we’d definitely have to hit some of the following:
• Catch a movie at the Cinerama Dome @ Arclight Cinemas
• Shop for music/movies at Amoeba Records (Assuming the new location is open by then)
• Tropical drinks at Tiki Ti — It’s an institution!
• Take them on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour — After being free to run around the backlot during my years at WB Animation and seeing the tours rolling by, I can def recommend it for movie lovers.
• Lunch at Malibu Seafood’s patio cafe — A great way to enjoy the coast.
• As a Santa Monica native, coffee & donuts at one of the newer local joints, Sidecar Donuts. Believe the hype — those donuts are LEGIT.
• One of the Summertime Concert series events @ The Hollywood Bowl. Nothing like enjoying a show under the summer sky w/your own picnic basket & a bottle of wine.
• Sawtelle Blvd shops & restaurants in West LA – Esp. Giant Robot & GR2, Plan Check, Beard Papa’s
• Sushi at Katsuya, ramen at Nippon Ramen, tonkatsu at Kagura.
• The LA Farmer’s Market — Not the Grove, but the OG Farmer’s Market!
• Of course, no visit to Cali is complete without hitting In-N-Out Burger. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Scott Jeralds – Almost 30 yrs ago, he took a chance on a totally inexperienced kid & gave me my first job in the biz. I owe it all to him! Toby Bluth – A well-known Disney artist and longtime family friend, he served as an informal mentor to me as a young artist w/dreams of getting into the biz. While we never wound up working together, it was very special that we wound up being professional peers.
Other: Artstation: artstation.com/chrisbattleart Tumblr: chrisbattleart.tumblr.com/