A Story Teller // Chris Clor
We asked Indigo team member Chris Clor about his work as a CGI Artist and Photographer.
Q: Your work is really outstanding and highly unusual. In addition to your personal artistic style, what do you think sets you apart?
A: The main thing I try to do with my work is tell a story. My goal is to invoke some sort of response. So even if I have a specific assignment in mind and follow the creative brief, I interpret it using my own “lens” and often leave space for the viewer to fill in the gaps and make it their own too.
Q: Your medium is mostly photography – along with CGI and illustration. Have you always been interested in photography?
A: Photography has always been a huge part of my life. I got involved with it when I was around 12. I grew up in a small house in Detroit and made our tiny, cramped bathroom into a makeshift darkroom with trays on the sink, and so forth. Then my dad and I built a darkroom in our garage. My first job ever was assisting a portrait photographer, and in 1990 I opened my first studio.
Q: What kind of equipment do you prefer to work with?
A: Believe it or not, I mostly shoot using actual film for my personal projects and landscape photography. Resolution is fantastic for digital but there is a dimensional quality to film that you really don’t see in digital; the nuances of color and depth. I had gone to digital in the late 90s and after several years I just felt that something was lacking so I switched back to film. It’s crazy that I had to purchase a lot of the same type of camera equipment that I had gotten rid of years before. I do use digital for other grab shots but the bulk of my personal work is with film.
Q: Tell me about other techniques you use and your process.
A: I do a combination of CGI and photography and sometimes a bit of illustration mixed in. Ultimately it comes down to getting all of the elements to play nicely together; balancing the various disciplines. I try to capture as much as I can in a photo and then I create my own fantastical elements so I don’t have to compromise.
Q: Where do you find backgrounds for your compositions?
A: Some of them are CGI and some are photos that I find anywhere. Back in Detroit I had a friend who was a police officer and he’d ride with me through run down, industrial and residential neighborhoods. A lot of those scenes are in my compositions. He warned me once to make sure I got a shot from a very specific angle because there was a drug deal going down in a car around the corner, and it wouldn’t have been smart to point my camera in their direction.
Q: What are some of your latest projects?
A: I just finished a series called Behind Closed Doors. Each scene is one striking character within an environment, and visual clues to let the viewer make up their own story. I start with an idea but then add sub details to encourage people to see something new every time they look at it. I also just finished illustrating a kids’ book called Emmy and the Whale about a little girl’s magical journey back home after reuniting a whale and its mom. And a sci-fi series called In the Year 2025 shows a new look I’m exploring right now.
Q: What do you do in your spare time or for fun?
A: I have had a long list of activities that I have delved into over the years – cycling, racing track bikes, martial arts, and flying small planes. Now I spend a lot of time doing landscape photography. My wife and I live outside of London near the countryside so there are lots of wonderful scenes to shoot. I’m also into vintage cars and am currently restoring a 1989 Jaguar XJS.
Q: Any words for aspiring artists?
A: Look for the light…there is always a photo in there worth taking!