How I see light: Photographer Chris Stark

Recently, we sat down with San Francisco based architecture and interior photographer Christopher Stark and talked inspiration, SF and under-the-radar art. Read below to hear what Chris had to say!

Image of Christopher Stark

Tell us about the artwork you printed with LightSource SF.
As a photographer I was recently invited to participate in an art showcase at DZINE Gallery, a furniture and art showroom in the Design Center in SF. I created a big portrait piece to be showcased through October 28. Working with LightSource SF is the first time I’ve trusted someone else to print large format. I was very reliant and confident in their expertise.

What was the concept for the piece?
My piece is titled, Olympus (referencing the famous Olympia painting by Edouard Manet). The theme of the show is called Burning Bright and aims to inspire artists to create work that somehow reflects peoples’ authentic selves. In the age of polarizing politics, the gallery aimed to create a provocative show without being overtly negative.

My work references art history using the classic ode du lessee pose – instead of a woman, it’s a man. I combine masculine and feminine, a way to transcend binaries and our traditional roles. I am naturally drawn to feminine aspects of myself but it was forbidden by society, so this was the idea behind the two panels. They are off kilter a bit intentionally – creating a disjointed and disorienting feeling and highlight the polarity and oneness of genders.

Who is your favorite artist or piece of artwork? 
I have so many favorite artists it’s really hard to just name one, but some of my favorites are Nan Goldin, Peter Hujar, Diane Arbus, Alice Neel, Henri Matisse, Helen Levitt, Bruce Davidson, Mark Morrisroe, Jack Pierson, Ryan McGinley.

These are the big artists that I look too and have influenced my work over the years. Nan Goldin, I interned for her during art school in New York City at the SF Art Institute. I was always a huge fan of her work and it was such a treat to meet and directly work and learn from her.

What current exhibition or museum should everyone see at least once?
I love Casemore Kirkeby in the Minnesota Street Project (Suite #102) in the Dogpatch historic arts district and Pier 24 Photography is a city gem. Featuring the permanent collection of the Pilara Foundation, it’s a national treasure and so under -the-radar.

Any art in your home that is particularly special to you? 
I was gifted a Nan Goldin print from my time as an intern, and another from artist and friend Mickeline Thomas. We were just in Barcelona and Marrakech Morocco; it was like stepping into a totally different reality. It’s magical, totally chaotic and intense. The French influence is beautiful and interesting – a combination of fancy and authentic that I love. And we recently picked up prints from a few local artists that we adore.

Check out Christopher’s artwork and photographs on display at DZINE Gallery (128 Utah Street, San Francisco, California 94103) until Oct 28. For more information about his architectural and interior photography visit christopherstarkphoto.com.