Artist Spotlight: Chris Ghiraldi

January 31, 2019/ by Olivia Ramirez

For our newest location The Yard: South Williamsburg, we were honored to work with New York-based artist Chris Ghiraldi to commission a mural for the space. After chatting with Chris about The Yard’s roots in Brooklyn, the industrial elements of the space’s design, and our proximity to the Marcy Ave. subway stop, Chris created Tube City, a series of shapes representative of the industrial pipes in the space and the systematic connectedness of the J/M/Z subway lines.

We were thrilled to interview Chris to share insight into Tube City and talk about his experience as an artist in New York.

1. What’s the biggest inspiration for your art?

The biggest inspiration? I can’t tell you. But I can tell you this, and I need you to keep it sorta hush hush: I am in a space ship at the moment and my co-pilot is color.

 

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Artist Chris Ghiraldi. Photo by Angela Altus for The Yard.

2.  How did you decide on the design of the mural at The Yard: South Williamsburg?

I was able to see the South Williamsburg space (and some of the others) and get a feel for it. I clearly remember thinking that the timing couldn’t be better. R & D had just finished up our highly advanced “learning” paint. It passed our rigorous testing process, so I dove right in. Quickly I noticed that I should not actually be in the paint, so I stood up, wiped off, and got started on the project.

 

The rooms in the space had a good amount of exposed pipes that looked really interesting to me. They intersect and pass over and through each other and feel very sculptural. I spent the next couple of weeks drafting as many different takes on the concept as possible. I wanted geography, history, contemporary design, and branding to come together in harmony.

 

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Chris Ghiraldi in front of his mural Tube City

Our house looked like a historical visitor center for quite some time with all of the maps and drawings of things that may be maps, but if you followed them you would surely end up in Super Mario Bros. world 4-1. Anyway, I submitted my work to see how everyone felt, and they chose something similar to what’s up there now.

 

3. How does New York inspire your art?

New York is in everything I’ve ever made. It was my first background and my first foreground. I’m lucky and grateful to say ‘I’m an artist’ and ‘I live in New York’, because New York is art. I’ve met people here that have inspired me deeply. I am sure I wouldn’t have met them anywhere else. It’s almost impossible to not be inspired by New York, even if you aren’t from here.

 

4. How do you use art to give back?

I founded the shirt design shop “Reset In Peace” in 2015, and it’s still around doing its thing. A portion of every sale goes to a special place in Nevada that helps people when they are in need. This is a place that has helped me, and that’s priceless. I sell the shirts strictly on Big Cartel. I have about 25-30 designs, and I rotate them so only five are available at any given time.

 

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T-shirt design from the collection “Reset in Peace”

I also get involved in fundraisers and teach painting classes to the elderly on a regular basis. Last night I was involved in a live painting/music event (Cause and Effect), and the proceeds went to the amazing Thrive Recovery Center, where the event was held.

 

5. How do you find a sense of community within the art world?

I don’t know if I can answer this due to the absence of community in my art world. I truly don’t have a sense of it. Whatever projection screen is playing in my head gets filled with the images of events I’m invited to on Facebook. I typically can’t make them, because although Manhattan and Brooklyn are geographically close to me they might as well be 2,000 miles away when you have a one-year-old and another one on the way!
I need to get out there. Where is this community you speak of? I’m not affiliated with any groups, but I’m open to affiliate. Only If they have a cool uniform.

 

6. In another life, what profession would you have?

It’s really hard to think of myself doing anything else. Is David Attenborough a profession? I’d be that.

 


A huge thank you to Chris for his amazing work on Tube City as part of The Yard’s Permanent Collection and for taking the time to chat with us about his life as an artist. Come by The Yard: South Williamsburg to see Tube City in person, Monday through Friday 9:30am-5:30pm, and stay up to date on Chris’s projects by following him on Instagram.