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It’s not news these days that Calgary is a land of opportunity, attracting many an adventurous and ambitious Eastern Canadian to carve out a life in this city.
Chris Kavanagh, twenty-six, grew up in St. John’s, NL and made the drive across the country to Cowtown a little over a year ago, determined to reap all the benefits that Calgary has to offer.
“I moved to Calgary with my girlfriend in September of last year,” says Chris.
“We drove here from Newfoundland in eight days; it was pretty cool driving across the country, taking in all the sights along the way.”
Chris says Calgary actually reminds him of his hometown but on a much larger scale. "With its size and wider variety of activities and entertainment, Calgary was a good move for me."
In University, Chris studied Literature. As an English major, he's had the advantage of gaining an ability to understand and analyze the effects of changing media.
Reflecting his passion for the complex, multinational and transcultural world of English is also Chris' love of music. Well known back home for playing drums until his fingers blistered, he's a former member of a popular St. John’s punk band.
With a devotion to artistry in his blood, Chris knows art is his life; something he's committed to building his life around. “I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. The earliest drawings I’ve found I think were from age four. They were just heads with arms and legs – no bodies, so nothing impressive! But I would just do pages and pages of them. Having parents who fully supported my creativity gave me the confidence to hone in on my own ability." Chris says his parents have held onto every single drawing and craft he’s ever done as a child. They provided him with art books, paint sets, and sketchpads over the years which has helped foster Chris’ talents. When it comes to the type of art he prefers to make, Chris says he doesn't limit himself. “I guess the thing I do the most is small, silly doodles in pencil, but I’ve dabbled in almost everything. I tend to do a lot of things on my graphic tablet so that I can draw something and then digitally manipulate it. “I really like to use paint as well, but I’m quite impatient; I like immediate results and the ability to easily fix mistakes. The closest thing to that would be watercolour because it’s pretty forgiving, so when it comes to paint, that’s the medium I use most often.”
Along with pencil and paint, Chris has been trying his hand at tattooing. “I’m not a professional tattooist by any means, but I’ve been practicing for about three years,” says Chris. “I practice on grapefruits and sometimes on myself. My girlfriend has also been my guinea pig quite a few times so I’ve gotten to practice a lot on her, too.” When it comes to inspiration, Chris says it comes from everywhere. Ideas for art can come from any place at any time and he’ll just run with it.
“It’s pretty cliché, but everything inspires my art regardless of what type of medium I’m using. One thing I like is referencing pop culture and putting my own spin on it.” If money, time, and education didn’t play a factor, Chris says he’d love to either play drums for a living or make money from his art. “For the longest time, I’ve loved the idea of playing drums professionally. I’ve played some festivals and have been lucky enough to meet, practice with, and eat lunch across from some of the biggest drummers in the world. Nowadays, I think any job in which I could just draw all day would be awesome.” But right now, Chris is taking a bit of a break. After having just finished a seven-year stint in post secondary school, he plans on laying off the academics for a while. “There are a few things I’d like to do; I’m always jumping between ideas. If I had to choose right now, I think I’d pick something that allows me to be creative – I’ve been interested in marketing for quite a while and I’d really like to be involved in the creation of advertisements and logos and things of that nature.” While he misses his hometown, Chris says he’s in Calgary for the long haul. “I miss my family back home, but I feel extremely lucky that I get to talk to them often,” says Chris. “I also miss the convenience of everything being no more than ten minutes from my house. But Calgary still feels like home.” To see some of Chris’ artwork, you can follow him on Instagram or check out his Redbubble page to purchase apparel featuring his designs!