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Fade to Black: A look into the aesthetics of Chrissy Brimmage

All photos by Raven Schley | The Signal

 

A large, black octopus waves back and forth, gently dancing through the air. It moves in rhythm with the slender, pallid arm guiding it; the arm of ChrissythaBlack.

To the average viewer, it would seem as if junior managerial science major Chrissy Brimmage were a seasoned expert at the art of painting. But ironically, Brimmage states that in her earliest years she never imagined becoming a visual artist.

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“Looking back, I actually wasn’t very good at drawing when I was young,” Brimmage said. “I’ve always been creative but in different ways. I really liked designing cakes, sewing, interior design, things like that.”

Brimmage has been painting for nearly two years now, but she claims it wasn’t until her latest high school years that she became interested in visual artistry, specifically drawing and painting.

 

The birth of an artist

“My senior year of high school I was grounded for a very long time, so I had an endless amount of time to myself,” Brimmage explained. “I decided to practice drawing to keep myself busy and I’ve loved it ever since.”

Brimmage also talked about how her pseudonym, “ChrissythaBlack,” has origins from high school.

“The nickname came in a random way,” Brimmage said. “A close friend I met in high school asked me what my name was and it reminded him of ‘Chrissy the Black’ from ‘Everybody Hates Chris.’ Ever since then I adopted it as my artist name.”

Although Brimmage started from humble beginnings in the suburbs, she says that her relocation from quiet Kennesaw, Georgia to Georgia State was also a major catalyst for her interest in drawing.

“Once I moved to Atlanta, I met amazing artists like PaperFrank and another friend of mine, Lori,” Brimmage said. “They inspired me to take on painting. That’s where it began for me.”

Although her artistic voice continues to grow throughout the city of Atlanta, Brimmage still believes that female artists lack the recognition they deserve in the community.

“Atlanta has a great music and art scene,” Brimmage said. “That being said, there are still a lot of issues here, like the fact that there are no prominent female visual artists in Atlanta. There’s a lot of potential here, but I believe a lot our generation doesn’t really know how to act on its thoughts and use its voice.”

Chrissy Brimmage shows a natural talent not only as an artist, but also as a model.

Aside from her artistic pursuits, Brimmage is highly involved with the Georgia State community; formerly an Infinite Appeal model and sister of the Softer Touch program, Brimmage is currently the President of Georgia State’s NSCS chapter and founding member of Georgia State’s ‘Wismaker’s’ program. Brimmage says the whirlwind of activities in her life often conflicts with her true passion and impedes her artistic growth.

 

“Sometimes it’s very conflicting,” Brimmage said. “I wanted to be an art major when I first enrolled, but everyone told me it was a bad idea. I decided not to, but now I see it as an advantage. Studying business, I’m learning how to manage myself as an artist, better handle my funds and create my own brand. At the end of the day I’m not getting my degree to sit in an office, so ultimately it doesn’t affect me.”

 

 

 

 

Growing pains

Staying true to her unorthodox lifestyle, Brimmage decided to study abroad in Thailand this past June, citing another young female artist as her inspiration to travel to the Far East.

“I was really inspired after one of my favorite artists, Stella Blu, went to Thailand,” Brimmage said. “I fell in love with the pictures I saw her posting on Twitter and I had this weird conviction that I needed to go, like something was waiting for me there.”

Despite the suspense that was brewing deep within her, Brimmage states that upon her arrival, there wasn’t a singular event that defined her experience in Thailand.

“There wasn’t a specific thing I found or saw when I got there, but I felt like I was gaining the next piece on a scavenger hunt,” Brimmage said. “I was finding the next clue to who I want to be in life and I got to get out my comfort zone; I was exposed to so many new experiences.”

Although Brimmage appreciated the totality of her journey to Thailand, she still could point out several things she enjoyed the most.

“I loved everything there. The people are nice, the food is spectacular and the landscape is beautiful,” Brimmage said. “My favorite thing was how in tune with their culture the Thai people are. Over there, they fight to the death to preserve their cultural identity. Everything they do in society is engrained with their culture; that’s not so much the case in America.”

Despite the comfort Brimmage felt while studying in Thailand, she claims that after returning to America, she feels more lost than ever.

“Ever since I came back from Thailand, I haven’t really had any idea of where to go with myself,” Brimmage said. “That kind of applies to everything, but especially artistically. I’m kind of dissatisfied with a lot of my previous work, but I’m not quite sure why.”

 

“I don’t want my first show to be lukewarm, or to put out pieces that I’m not in love with. You don’t get that first impression back, and I want to find out what I’m trying to say before I begin speaking artistically.”

Brimmage couldn’t identify the source of her apprehension, candidly brushing it off as “being an artist.”

“I can’t really say specifically what it is I dislike about them,” Brimmage said of her work. “One thing frustrating me is the fact that I’m not skillfully able to produce many of the concepts that I visualize in my head just yet. My old work feels stale to me, but the Wireframe drawings I’ve been making recently are giving me new hope.”

“Wireframe” is a form of drawing that emphasizes precise contour lines and straight-edge geometry. Brimmage said that the inspiration for her new style came to her in a dreamlike state, in the peak hours of the night.

“After I finally settled back home, I tried to paint but nothing was working,” Brimmage said. “I was up really late one night and I was half asleep. I was lucid-dreaming and began to envision the entire world in lines. I drew a piece the next morning and I loved it. I feel like I can speak more through the Wireframe style. It’s my own thing, my own look, completely original.”

 

View the slideshow below for a closer look at ChrissythaBlack’s ‘Wireframe’ style.

Among her recently constructed Wireframe pieces is a peculiar drawing of an octopus, an animal that Brimmage claims to be her “spirit animal.” It ‘s hard not to believe her, as an intricate black octopus tattoo covers the entirety of her right forearm.

The move from Kennesaw, Georgia to downtown Atlanta helped catapult Brimmage’s interest in painting.

“I’ve always related to them. Learning about them made me learn a lot about myself, as strange as that sounds,” Brimmage said. “They’re really shy, they love adventure and they have a strong duality to them just like me. I discovered my interest in them around the same time that I started drawing, so they will be forever entwined with me.”

Although Brimmage’s artistic style continues to evolve and develop, she continues to take her time exposing her work. As a conscious young artist, she understands the impact that her artistic expression can have on her surroundings.

“I’m not really pressed to have my art displayed anywhere just yet. I’ve done a few shows, but I don’t want to jump the gun,” Brimmage said. “I don’t want my first show to be lukewarm or I put out pieces that I’m not in love with. You don’t get that first impression back and I want to find out what I’m trying to say before I begin speaking artistically.”

 

Follow ChrissythaBlack’s artwork on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram

twitter.com/chrissythablack

thablackmarket.tumblr.com

instagram.com/chrissythablack

 

All photos by Raven Schley | The Signal

 

 

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