We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Dellorco and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chris, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I was fortunate enough to grow up in Laurel Canyon, during it’s heyday in the ’70’s. Everywhere that you looked were interesting, creative people that had chosen unique life styles. Everything from their careers to the unusual homes that they lived in expressed their individuality. We were surrounded by actors, artists, musicians and writers. It wouldn’t be unusual to see Joni Mitchell, or Mickey Dolenz buying milk at the local Canyon Country Store. My parents were friends with many famous folk singers, including Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Lee Hayes of the Weavers. Though, they themselves were not in creative fields, they understood and respected those that were. So, between my surroundings and the unusual friends that my parents had, choosing a path of artistic expression seemed more like the norm and not the unconventional. I imagine that becoming an accountant would have seemed more extreme in the environment that I grew up in.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I actually graduated with a degree in Developmental Economics from U. C. Berkeley. I know that it seems strange that I transitioned from an academic degree into a career in art. I had very little experience and training and am essentially self taught. I did enjoy my studies at Berkeley, but I felt that I was finished with the academic world and wasn’t willing to pursue a Masters degree. While I wasn’t really remarkable at art when I graduated college I did have some nascent talent and had been doing posters for campus events and really enjoyed it. As you can imagine, actually getting work as an illustrator without any training or a decent portfolio didn’t exactly go smoothly. At the time, I had a lot more drive than talent. So, I would spend every weekend that I could creating samples and adding to my portfolio, constantly asking art directors what they wanted to see as an example of my work. One of my best sales tools to the art directors was to ask them to give me any job with a terrible budget and a tight deadline, that no one else wanted. Doing that, at least, got me in the door. Then, if I proved that I could do the work, they would call me back for more. My work as an illustrator lasted many years, and I was fortunate enough to have done many major movie posters, including Revenge of the Nerds, Conan, and Coming to America among others. I also became the main illustrator for almost all of Disney’s animated titles video and DVD covers. But after many years of painting what others asked me to paint, I eventually transitioned into fine art. Initially, the work was just for me as personal exploration, but soon I started to approach galleries. As the work started to sell, I began to move away from illustration and focusing more and more on fine art, which was more challenging and interesting on a creative level. Ultimately fine art is much more satisfying, because it represents my own personal expression. My many years as an illustrator and movie poster artist has lent itself to creating powerful fine art oil paintings. I still hear the many excellent art director’s voices inside my head, pushing the work to be even better. I also feel that the strong composition, and emotional impact that is required for a movie poster are the same elements that are needed to make an fine art painting. My work is powerful and impactful. When I exhibit, no one walks by without stopping for a second look. Whether it appeals to them or not, it always produces a response. I think that it what good art does. It creates a reaction from the viewer.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Westlake Village, on the lake. So the first day would be spent taking a cruise on my boat on the lake, followed by dinner and wine at my favorite local place, Stonehaus. It is a wonderful outdoor restaurant/winery that feels like you are in the heart of Tuscany. I love Downtown LA. So a visit to MOCA and a stroll to Olivera St. to appreciate the culture is essential. And a walk across the street to see the architecture of Union Station. Any trip to LA, has to include a visit to the beach. Personally I prefer the pristine beaches of Zuma, but I would also include a stroll along the boardwalk of Venice. Venice is like walking through a circus with all the different sounds, music, smells and strange characters. It represent the ultimate insanity and character of LA. A hike up Ferndell all the way to the Griffith Park Observatory would be fun too.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like throw the shout out to my parents. Not only did they live unique lives themselves, which showed me by example that there were other choices, but they encouraged they unique path that I chose.