Christopher Groves | Artist of the Week

Christopher Groves’ love of art grew from his early experiences with nature and the introduction to the master sculptor, Glenda Goodacre, in his youth. Groves was born in Boulder, Colorado, but soon moved with his family to Slidell, Louisiana, where he lived until the age of ten. Those early years in Slidell were spent outside, exploring the woods, swimming in the bayou, boating, fishing, and playing with snakes and other wild animals. It was during those years that he learned to love the outdoors and nature. At the age of ten, his family returned to Boulder and Groves continued his exploration of nature with countless hikes, mountain climbs, and camping trips.

His parents soon gave him a nature-drawing book and Groves latched onto it as a source of awe and inspiration. He would spend countless hours imitating the drawings and enhancing them with his own interpretation. His parents, recognizing their son’s talent and appreciation of art, hired a private tutor to instruct him in basic techniques. Soon, his interest turned from nature to people and their faces. Groves would look to magazines, friends, and siblings as a source of inspiration and draw detailed portraits of their faces.

In high school, Groves met sculptor Glenda Goodacre, the mother of a close school friend. Meeting with her and seeing some of the success she enjoyed as an artist (Vietnam Women’s memorial, Sacagawea US Dollar design) helped to inspire his own artistic aspirations.

After graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder, with a B.F.A. in Environmental Design, Groves spent the next ten years as an art director for two large companies, all the while continuing to study and hone his fine art skills.

He has studied at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy, the Colorado Academy of Art, the Loveland Art Academy, the Cottonwood Art Academy, and the Denver Arts Student League. He also enjoyed a private, two-year mentorship with artist Jay Moore, which he considers a turning point in his artistic career.

An Interview with Christopher Groves

How do you work?

Arrive in the studio around 7 am, put music on, and paint all day until around 6 pm. At the end of the day, I prepare for the following day, so there is no wasted time once I step foot in the studio each morning. I usually work on 10-15 pieces at a time, working them as they speak.

How has your practice changed over time?

Having been trained classically, I have moved closer in-between realism and abstraction, trying to simplify the subject matter, yet still, try to hold a sense of emotion within each piece.

What work do you most enjoy doing?

Large-scale projects that require no reference material. Solving problems on the canvas with no pre-determined end.

Describe a real-life event that has inspired you.

Death and birth. The fragility of life, beginning to end.

What is an artistic outlook on life?

There is always good hidden deep within the bad. The trick is to find it and let others see it within your paintings.

What is your favorite or most inspirational place?

The studio while working. Inspiration usually comes thru working.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Study the classical methods, and once those are developed then exploration becomes endless.

Professionally, what is your goal?

To develop technically and emotionally within the paintings.