Interview with Chris Suhre
Interview with Chris Suhre. US artist Chris Suhre is rightly respected for his many award-winning display and diorama pieces. As ‘chris_suhre_miniature_art’ online, you can see his amazing and detailed display pieces. He also has a Kickstarter campaign soon for an artbook! At Redgrassgames we always strive to promote incredible artists, so Chris was a no-brainer! Read on for more…
1. Interview with Chris Suhre – When did you start painting at what you would consider a serious level?
“I started painting “seriously” about 9-10 yars ago when it became more and more difficult for me to find time to spend with friends playing warmachine. I wanted to stay connected to that community so I turned to doing more painting because that could be done when I had free time. I started doing local paint competitions and then the P3 paint competitions. After a while my interest started moving away from gaming figures and more into storytelling and art.
A “Pro” painter in my opinion is someone who has reached a certain level of mastery over the craft. Someone who understands lighting, color theory, and volumetry to a certain degree. I think it can be noted here that, at least in my opinion, there’s miniature painting and miniature art. The two are intermingled but yet also separate in some ways. In miniature painting it’s about the smoothness of a transition, the texture created by the brush, the skills applied by paint such as cast shadows, OSL, NMM, etc. All difficult techniques to master. But Miniature art also includes the elements of storytelling, scene building, atmosphere and mood. Those are aspects that appeal to me. So I guess I try to excel the best I can at my “art” component while doing the best “paint” I can.”
2. What words describe your painting?
“Hmmm Atmosphere, Story telling, and “Painterly” I’m a fair technical painter but evoking emotion, atmosphere, and storytelling are the things that really appeal to others in my art.”
3. Do you have any formal artistic background or qualifications?
“Not really. I took a single painting class in college and got a B. My education is mainly in the sciences. As a child I was often creative. I would make toys out of the scrap wood my grandfather had like a dragon or monster. As a Teen I did enjoy drawing and comic books a lot. I would practice my drawing skills replicating my favorite characters like Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, Rogue, etc.”
4. Interview with Chris Suhre – How do you start a new piece: what inspires you to paint a new miniature?
“What inspires me to paint a new scene/ almost anything can be a catalyst. Sometimes it’s a particular movie scene or song. Sometimes it’s a particular emotion or memory. Grandma’s was based on memories with my grandmother and the Dungeon Explorers piece was based on fun DND nights i had with friends in highschool. While working on the Squig diorama I listened to Kenny Loggins play Danger Zone a ton to inspire me on that piece.”
5. How do you choose your color scheme?
“So the color scheme usually has to do with the mood I want to set. I’ll try and select colors to create the atmosphere I want and then that will start dictating what other colors are used to maximize focus. For instance in “The Market” I used a bright warm orange on the main figure because I was going for an open air market in the morning. To contrast with this there are blues around her.”
6. Interview with Chris Suhre – Which painting technics do you wish you had taken the time to learn sooner?
“The basics. Learn the basics of light interaction, volumes, and color theory. Understanding these basics allows you to then manipulate things to really draw the interest where you want. You cannot build a good house on a weak foundation. Painting projects are the same, a weak foundation will show throughout your piece.”
7. Interview with Chris Suhre – Which award are you most proud of?
“I’ve won a couple of bronze crystal brushes, P3 master, gencon master, and eavier metal events. I’m probably most proud of my Crystal brush wins due to the high quality of competition in those events. The one that probably sticks out the most is “How to Train Your Dragon” This was my “break out” piece. It was a combination of two miniatures from two different companies and different scales combined to create a unique diorama.”
8. Why do you think that using a wet palette is interesting?
“I like using a wet palette because it extends the life of my paints and makes it easier for me to mix paints and inks in a much wider range.”
9. Do you have a painting trick or hack you would like to share?
“It’s really not a secret but I use magnifiers. It doesn’t look cool but using magnifiers helps you really see what you’re doing and get a much finer brushstroke.”
10. What was the best piece of advice you were ever given?
“The best piece of advice I have received and probably the best piece I can give is “Be fearless.” Try new things, mix different paints, build what you see in your mind. New ideas are born and old barriers are broken by the bold not the timid. Sure you will have failures but those failures can teach you so much. In the long run this will make you a stronger artist.”