A frequent traveller and man of the world, Chris Dyer has made it his mission to explore the positive energies that are possible within the artistic strata.
Raised in Peru, he has used his experiences to manifest vibrant, fantastical pieces that attempt to translate the ineffable. Despite his skill-set and talents, he recognizes that he is a conduit or vessel for these universal sparks to express themselves.
A practitioner of ancient shamanism and student of the legendary entheogenic brew, Ayahuasca, Chris does his part in raising the consciousness of those who are subjected to his work.
Despite residing in Montreal, his busy schedule keeps him on the move, absorbing new ideas, and meeting fresh faces in the thriving art scene.
We spoke about his work and message in this poignant interview.
Prox: There seems to be a deep admiration for South American aesthetics in your pieces. What are some of the most important artistic flavors you gathered during your upbringing in Peru?
Chris: Growing up in Lima, a big polluted, violent, chaotic city, as a white kid was not easy. Yes, I was in a privileged position (going to a private British school), but everybody (rich or poor) seems to live by the “stomp or be stomped” mandate. I was too sensitive for that, so I had to build big armors and become negative myself. When I moved to Canada it took me years to unravel all of that, and every time i’d return to Peru i’d be too vulnerable and it would hurt me. I hated Peru for years and didn’t want to deal with it. Any South American influence in my work was just subconscious, but I certainly didn’t admire it. Many years later, in 2013, I took the wife I had then to meet this country but dropped the need to be “Peruvian.” I allowed myself to be a tourist again, an outsider, an observer. Then I was able to stop focusing on all of the negative things that tormented me in my past and enjoy all the beautiful cultures it had to offer me. I realized it had influenced my previous work, so I made the conscious choice to dive deeper into reinventing these things in my work. It was then that I first went to meet my shaman in the jungle and start working with the medicine of Ayahuasca. All of a sudden, Peru turned from a place that traumatized me to a place that could heal me. Now I go there every year to visit my family and do my jungle cleanses, as well as offer a retreat for others that are looking for that healing experience.
Prox: How has the culture of Montreal influenced your artwork? What are some elements (if any) that you try to consciously inject into each project?
Chris: Montreal is just a great city for creators and dreamers. It’s a melting pot of cultures. Its nothing that has specifically influenced me as a place, but a place that holds a variety of expressions that influence me. It is an island city that is cheap enough for these people to exist, so there is lots of artists and many of a high level, which push you to do your best. I am able to afford a good home and studio, be in a beautiful place full of nice open-minded people and some great friends. Not that i’ve been home so much in the last couple of years. The world calls me now, and I am of international service for the moment.
Prox: I’d like to touch on spirituality if you don’t mind? Are you attempting to pay homage or tribute to any particular religious or theological discipline with your work?
Chris: I am spirit and that expresses, mostly, through me, via art and my actions. Religion is a human cultural expression that is supposed to unite spirit with the creator. The intentions and symbols from their roots are there, but much got lost with time because collective ego gets in the way and creates division. I can’t align myself with that or with any one culture. I want to use the symbols that are still pure and mix them together as to create the unity and oneness they where intended to make. I am of nothing, but I am of everything.
Prox: This one might be a bit tricky but what do you think your art would look like aesthetically if you didn’t have such a strong affinity for spiritual concepts?
Chris: I don’t know. I can only do the art that I do, I don’t think of what I would do if I was somebody else, there’s no point in that. That said i’d like to believe that my art can be many different things depending on how I feel and what I need to express at that particular moment.
Prox: How does traveling and multiculturalism improve your creative mission? What have you learned about yourself throughout these travels?
Chris: Traveling the world has taught me so much. I feel cultures can divide us sometimes, but they are also beautiful expressions of soul through humanity. I like to observe them and enjoy them and feel inspired, without letting myself get caught up with them, or be identified with that surface expression to much. But I identify with the ineffable source that produced it all, and is the same everywhere. I learn so much about myself in the reflection of these things and places. The experiences I have are both good and bad, pleasurable and hard, and that all helps me grow. The better of a person I can become, the more the pure art I can create, and in that way produce visual medicine, and bring forth a new culture that includes them all.
Prox: Any new artists, books, music, or shows you’d like to recommend?
Chris: I don’t have time to read books anymore, I am uber busy, but I get them in audio form and listen to them as I paint. Some I listen to them over and over as to help me identify my negative side, my confused mind, and be able to go past it. A couple of my favorites are The Four Agreements, The Power of Now, Siddhartha, and The Alchemist.
As for music, I am a record collector and its varied. I made some mixes on my Soundcloud (Positive Creations) if you wanna listen. I also recommend the music of my shaman, Herbert Quinteros, which is free up on Spotify.
Prox: Would you like to share some information on any upcoming releases you have on the horizon?
Chris: These days I am mostly doing workshops. I still get hired to live paint at music festivals, like Rainbow Serpent and Earth Frequency in Australia and then Ozora in Hungary this next year. But I am enjoying more calmer places, teaching young artists, and getting to do some studio paintings myself. Upcoming workshops will be going down in Peru, Cuba, Australia (Melbourne n Byron Bay), Thailand, California, and CoSM (New York). Info of that on the internet.
Prox: Final Thoughts?
Chris: I wish you all happiness! Thanks to those who use my art as a way to express themselves and keep on spreading the good vibes. Let’s keep on doing the work to save this planet from the collective selfish ego that is destroying it! Much Love to everyone!
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