A Get Together With Chris Ritson
The work of Chris Ritson, 23, is seductive. It is at once both confusing and intriguing. It is visually and intellectually stunning. It is also, more often than not, alive.
Which is why Chris and his work are so suspicious. Are his creations art or just…creations? Is he an artist, or a mad scientist in sheep’s clothing?
Honestly, if I knocked on the door of his studio and Frankenstein or Captain Nemo came to let me in I wouldn’t be surprised enough to bat an eyelash. Chris works primarily in organic materials, including plankton, plant, animal bone, crystal, and sea creature. Sometimes, he incorporates recyclables or kinetic and motion activated electronics. “I’m really opposed to using intense art supplies or manufactured goods,” he says. “I want to create a system of creating objects that have a commercial value, but that are beneficial to the communities and environments that they’re in.”
His Coral Sculpture Proposal is an outline for such a system of creation, which Chris describes as an “artistic business model for production.” The proposal is a little creepy, but a lot cool. It begins with using living pieces of coral to fuse together the bones of a human skeleton and ends with open water coral sculpture gardens. When I first read the proposal, I seriously considered sending an ignited, flaming pitch-fork wielding mob after Chris, but, to be fair, before crying mad scientist and making him the object of a full-fledged witch hunt, I put him on trial. He took the stand and we talked about the proposal, what inspired it, and his thoughts on the nature of art and science.