We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Greenwell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chris, why did you pursue a creative career?
Honestly, it felt like I had no other choice. This is who I am and I’m not one to settle for fitting into the mold of desk jobs or corporate America. I don’t do well with taking orders from others when I don’t feel a sense of passion behind it. My driving force is passion and if I spend too much time doing something I’m not passionate about, it takes a huge toll on my well being in all aspects. I am here to collaborate and to create. I find art and inspiration in literally everything and I have to get it out of me to share with the world! Everything we consume has an artist behind it – music, television and movies, magazines and newspapers, advertising, clothing – EVERYTHING! I want my life to be full of joy in every facet and being a professional artist is one of my many ways of cultivating that in my life. Not to mention it brings about such beautiful connections and relationships!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
It definitely was not easy to figure myself out as an artist, and it’s an ongoing process, but most things that are worth doing are not easy. I started on this journey when I was 12 with a bootlegged version of Photoshop that my 6th grade best friend lended to me and the rest is history. My main inspiration is music, both in photography and in rollerskating. Early on as a photographer I found myself inspired by the art that publications like Paper, Dazed, Fader, and Nylon would promote. Cover art for singles and albums is another place that I have always been so electrified by and was probably where I found myself the most. I love the concept of taking something auditory (music) and giving it a visual identity (cover art). I pride myself in providing a friendly and relaxed environment to take photos and am skilled in both the picture-taking aspect as well as the post-production aspect. I owe my success to my relationships and networking. I was so SO social when I first moved to LA and I didn’t even realize what a great foundation I was building for myself in doing so. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is the value of authenticity. LA is a place where authenticity can sometimes feel elusive, but in staying true to myself, I’ve attracted relationships and clients that are like-minded and allow me to put out my best work. Lastly, GRATITUDE. It’s the key to attracting more of what you already value! I’ve seen it happen time and time again in my life to the point that it’s truly divine.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite place to bring visitors is Venice Beach. I feel so at home there amongst the unapologetic weirdness and grunge and there’s so much talent and art everywhere you look. Not to mention one of my favorite things about the west coast is the beach because I find is the meeting of all four elements – we have day in and day out of fiery sunshine, endless water in the pacific ocean, breezes from the cool air, and earth descending the mountains to water level. I find so much peace there. I also love bringing friends up to the mountains to experience our hiking with a view of the city. Downtown is my favorite place to go for nightlife (Clifton’s on the weekend is TOP TIER!) since as a native upstate New Yorker, DTLA reminds me of the vibe of Manhattan when I’d take a weekend trip to the city when I was younger. Lastly – we have amazing vegan options here in LA so I love taking friends to vegan spots to show them how far its come in recent years.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
It’s too hard for me to narrow it down specifically to one person so I’ll do my best here – Los Angeles has gifted me with so much love, support, and inspiration through my relationships and connections. One of my closest friends here (@reesetea) is someone I met within my first few months of living here when I moved over 4 years ago and she’s a phenomenal artist and a beam of light in the world. Also, I also am beyond grateful for the rollerskating community here in LA. It is the most diverse community I’ve ever seen and I value that dearly because there is so much we can learn from each other. Rollerskating is the deep authentic bond between many of us and I find that to be a beautiful thing because it’s something we all find genuine joy in and it brings us together in a closer way than if our bond was just through being coworkers or something where we don’t find as much passion. My friend (@disht6) was the driving force in getting me to join her on skates and I’ll be forever grateful for that.
tie dye bucket hat photo by @bumlickety