Alive with rhythm and movement, Christopher Huff’s saturated and vibrant works are characterised by twisting and swaying tendrils of sickle cells.
Draping hypercoloured brick walls, archways and prison bars that frame these compositions, the tendrils reflect the struggle between structure and fluidity. Huff immerses the viewer into a universe that serves as the perfect reflection of a life with sickle cell anaemia and the constant battle between balance and chaos.
In Huff’s practice the brick wall serves “as an abstract representation of the human body. It embodies the stability one must have in order to maintain repetition, a necessary component in an individual’s ability to progress through life.”
The sickle cell, causing cracks and fractures in these brick structures, represents the long term side effects and damage that the body endures when fighting an illness.
In these works the artist brings to the forefront abstract realms of uncertainty, desire, faith, perseverance and fragility. Huff observes “how traumatic pain, moments of loneliness and desire for better days has shaped me not only as an African American male living with a blood disorder but as an artist as well”.
Having received training in classical art, Huff turned to street art to challenge his creativity.
Experimenting with graffiti and pop culture, such as cartoons and anime, allowed him to develop a keen sense of appreciation for the emotional power that stems from the interplay between colour and shape.
Stylistically referencing the graphic quality of 90’s anime like Cowboy Bebop and two-dimensional video games such as Marvel vs Capcom, Huff developed a familiar cartoon-junkyard aesthetic. Akin to Kenny Scharf and Chris Ofili, Huff paints in a flat perspective, with bold and illustrative lines.
Broken Chamber #1
102 cm x 76 cm
51 cm x 41 cm
Three Cells in a Desolate Place
122 cm x 92 cm
As Above So Below (Balance #1)
76 cm x 61 cm
Altar of Sacrifice
91 cm x 91 cm
Ray of Hope
51 cm x 41 cm
Though the paintings seem visually flattened, they are dense with six layers of gesso followed by multiple layers of acrylic paint, applied either with precise brushstrokes or with the gentle touch of an aerosol spray.
Working in a mostly intuitive fashion, the artist implements the use of a masking tape and white charcoal pencil to outline his compositions, relying on his preliminary sketches. Once the last layer of paint is applied and tape is removed, Huff proceeds to introduce more detailed shapes and forms that begin to resemble recognisable elements. The result is kaleidoscopic patterns, well-crafted layers of medium and vivid chromatic variegations that demand contemplation.
About the Artist
Christopher Huff is a Baltimore-based artist who received his BFA in painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Huff is a 2024 MFA candidate at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). His work has been exhibited at the Gateway Media Arts Lab, Mt.; Rainier, MD; The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), Baltimore, MD; Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Baltimore, MD and is featured in New American Paintings upcoming southern issue #160. Huff’s 2022 group exhibitions include New American Painting Online Group Exhibition at NAP Gallery and Charm City at Asya Geisberg Gallery, New York.
Sickle Cell Disease Foundation
Founded in 1957, the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation addresses the needs of individuals, as well as their families, with sickle cell disease by providing educational and support programs that meet their physical, psychosocial and economic needs. Their recent Networking California for Sickle Cell Care Initiative aims to expand the network of adult clinics for SCD throughout the state.