French as Transit Man.
Christian French is a talented and extraordinarily generous artist,
curator, and arts activist. He pushes boundaries, connects community,
facilitates excitement, and shakes things up. From spandex-suited
crusading on public transportation to shipping container concerts, his
eclectic and non-conformist gestures deliver on the promise of art's
ability to conduct and disturb.
“My practice and my relationships operate outside of givens, and it is in this way that my work is challenging, and has the potential for disrupting operative norms. I don't make work designed for a marketplace, and I don't aim to enter into a stream of gallery-collector-museum relationships. I take my work to the streets, sometimes in shop windows, sometimes in the middle of the road, and insert it into unconventional conversations. I work at a range of scales, sometimes humble, sometimes massive, and look for ways to upend people's assumption of what art is, and how it connects us to our world.”
Originally trained in photography and experimental cinema, French moved to Seattle in 1994. He cut his artistic teeth as an early member of SOIL and has served as a board member of Allied Arts, the Executive Director of the live-work advocacy organization ArtSpace Seattle, a founding editor of Red Headed Stepchild, and Artist-in-Residence with Sound Transit, where he developed the Link light rail station pictograms. He has a long history of exhibiting work in artist-run and alternative spaces, as well as showing in and programming non-traditional venues. Using everything from disco balls to lottery tickets, found objects and cultural memes, French’s humorous yet omnivorous, medium and media-spanning approach equally delights and mystifies.
Currently maintaining a studio at Hiawatha Lofts, French continues to explore photography as well as sculpture using items gathered at nearby thrift stores, and is working toward his dream of turning his 1976 VW microbus into a Japanese-style tea room for two, in a project titled, “Zen Van: The Wheels of Dharma”.
Visit the artist's website.