When I was about four years old, I won a baby competition and the prize was a camera. I would take photos of my family dog every month, my love of photography started from there.
In high school I bought a little alien toy from the markets, my friends and I would take the alien with us and place it in different locations, taking it on little adventures, that’s how my love of story-telling began. Then at Uni my boyfriend and I would take naughty pictures of each other, I would go to the darkroom and develop it all, the whole concept of photograph story-telling just built up and up, it became more conceptual and more colourful throughout the years.
What are the major themes present in your work:
My practice has progressed over the years, it started off quite dark but now it’s really colourful and surreal. Some of my work has got this eerie tone to it, but there is always colour in it. I’m inspired by surrealist art, and my major influences are David Lachapelle (i love his work), and David Lynch, I think I fit somewhere in between the two styles.
What would be your dream project to work on?
(Massive dream sigh)… OMG I would fly to Berlin and shot in an abandon hospital that I’ve visited previously. There would be all these colourful monsters everywhere and then I’d stick a rainbow somewhere in the background. I love Berlin, I’m obsessed with abandoned locations. I love it when you go into an abandon place and you can hear every leaf fall and every bird cheep and you sort of feel like you’re in a horror movie. The location would be the Beelitz-Heilstätten Hospital, which is was where Hitler was treated in 1914 and then it got taken over by the Soviets and become abandon in 1993. It’s absolutely amazing, it was built in 1880 and the architecture is just so grand, so just watching this grand old building rot is just incredible, then if I could combine colour with it and make like a horror movie but with heaps of colourful monsters and aliens and… get paid heaps of money for it (haha!) that would be amazing.
What’s the most important artist tool, something you can’t live without?
My cameras are my most important tools. I have 15 cameras; three super 8 cameras, three digital pro cameras, and I have maybe 4-5 film cameras. I love film, I have so much film in my fridge at the moment. On a daily basis I use my Nikon Pro camera, but if I have the budget for it and I am feeling really artistic, I like to use my Yashica with the twin flex lens, it’s amazing for portraiture and the detail that it brings to the photograph.
The last exhibition I went to was David Lynch: Between two worlds, it was in Brisbane at the GOMA. It was a very intense show, which was amazing, it was also very dark, but then that’s David Lynch… he has always been on that very dark side. It was just very interesting to see another side of Lynch’s work, then just being absorbed with his films, seeing him in a different light… he is a very twisted character. The exhibition was made up of photography, some films up and he made these amazing soundscapes that just take you onto another plain.
What was the last exhibition that really surprised you as an artist and made you question everything?
Fuck let me think… I went to see the Damien Hirst show when he exhibited at the Tate Modern in 2012, that blew me away. He is obsessed with life and death and it’s just fascinating. I was actually hung over when I went to the show which didn’t help then I saw his work A Thousand Years, 1990, and I remember the smell and thinking… man that’s fucked. Being a vegetarian it’s quite confronting, seeing his work with all the animals persevered in formaldehyde. But the thing that made me think wow this guy is a genius, was when you walk into this room and there are all these butterflies flying around you and then you see all these white canvases and he put butterfly eggs on these canvases, so in a way he was giving birth to art. He brings life to art and he preserves it also, he asks the question does art die.
If you could own any piece of art what would it be?
Maybe a David Lachapelle piece, or you know what…. maybe even a Damien Hirst piece I love his dots. Actually maybe a Dali, the melting clocks painting could be cool on my wall in the living room between maybe my blue velvet deer head a and the unicorn head on the other side and just under the red dog bone chair, that would be perfect.
To check out more of Chrissie’s work, head to her website: http://chrissiehall.com/
~ Interview by Amy Mills ~