“Stay diligent. No one is going to achieve your dream for you” – artist Chris Duda

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Chris Duda is an artist, musician and writer from Ohio.

The clientele are mostly apart of the global nerd / fantasy loving community. I sell to a lot of hippies, video gamers, young people, table top gamers (custom painted figurines), and just anyone who enjoys abstract / non-reality subjects such as creatures, monsters, aliens etc.

All of my works whether they are canvas or figurine / sculptures are very vibrant, considering I exclusively work with the neon color spectrum (highlighter colors), and use a heavy black to do my lining and detail work.

This gives the aesthetic of a cartoon or comic book to the subject… vibrant and edgy. Depending on the subject, this can cause quite a lot of dissonance. For example, a vibrantly painted smiling monster with one eye and fangs.. certain aspects of the subject such as the color give the viewer a reason to believe the subject could be nice, playful or kind, while other aspects such as the teeth give the viewer a reason to be afraid of the subject. I try to capture that discord in all of my works. 

My art business started at a very young age, in the form of drawing and sketching anything I could in pencil. When others in my life started to take notice of my seemingly constant sketching habit, they began to prompt me to draw pictures for them. I would then exchange those sketches for Pokémon cards, or small amounts of change to buy chocolate (My favorite treat).

I’ve always excepted commissions, but find the most joy when I am creating a new type of monster or a new breed of animal. I love creating strange creatures, aliens and subjects of an “other worldly” nature.. subjects that are alive in my reality and no one else’s. That desire to create something new has been one of the main driving forces behind my work which started before I was 10.

So far in my career I have learned that regardless of your product, if you are a genuine person and are nice to people more than just the norm, you will be more successful.  You’d have more success being nice and painting one line on a canvas, than an artist who is mean but can paint better than DaVinci. Being an artist is about establishing relationships and providing people with the special experience of getting to know you. You want to bring your customers on a life long journey of owning your work, not just make money off the sale and move on.

Other than social media posting, most of my clients come to me because they want something special and they heard about my work and who I am as a person through one of my existing customers.

In short to be successful, you have to learn to be content making art even if the money is low (because it will be low sometimes) and you have to share that passion with as many people as possible by being a decent person and establishing long lasting friendships with your customers. 

I never have a plan going into an artwork unless it’s for a commissioned painting. Even then I only request a vague idea from the customer of what they want so that I can allow my mind to just run while the brush is in my hand and that’s how I get my best results. I mostly paint on canvas with neon and black acrylic paint, with old brushes. I have been expanding my resume though by experimenting with spray paint in the form of large scale murals, custom figurine painting and various other well known processes such as splatter painting, paint pouring etc. I mostly work at night into the early morning between the hours of 11pm-3am. There is just something about that time of night that really clicks for me. I turn on some music and just paint. I work out of my cold, dark and dingy basement most of the time, except for when I’m working on an art process video, in which case I just paint in my kitchen for the lighting. 

Other than the advice I gave about being a good person and establishing friendships with your customers, I would say the next most important piece of advice I would give would be to stay diligent. No one is going to achieve your dream for you. You really need to work on your craft in some capacity at least once a day, even if it’s just a quick doodle. You have to keep that part of your brain active and used to being “turned on”. The more the better. The old saying of “practice makes perfect” somewhat applies to creating art in the sense that “practice makes product”.

No artwork is ever perfect because perfection is subjective. But the more you practice and create tangible product, the more people will know you are an artist through and through, the more likely you will be to inspire others and sell your works and so on and so on. Lastly like I said before and I’ll say it a million times, BE A GOOD PERSON / FRIEND!! Establish those life long relationships and invest time in getting to know your customers.. you won’t regret it. 

I have several long term goals for my art career considering I never plan to stop creating (lol). Some of those goals include designing new Pokémon and being immortalized as an artist / trainer in a Pokémon Game (with my specific Pokémon party) because I am an absolute fan. I also want to become known for my custom table top figurines as well as my painted sculptures.

I plan on doing at least one large scale spray paint mural a year for the rest of my life (as long as I can get permission of course). Another goal is to have some of my works end up in an art museum after I pass away, or before, that’d be cool. I’d like to meet some famous people I admire, perhaps do some commissions for them. I could go on but I guess the overall goal for my career is to gain enough notoriety in the world so that I can advocate for things I am passionate about from a much larger platform.

I want to urge others to advocate as well for topics such as mental health awareness, equality for women and people of color and beyond. I want people to know I am a good person and I want to establish friendships with as many people as I can. Help as many people as I can. Do as much good as possible. Not only do I want to be an artist who uses paint and a brush, I want to be an artist of the world who helps create a brighter future for humanity.

Follow Chris on Instagram.