Christopher M Trejo
I was born and raised in Kansas City Missouri where at the age of 12 I was given my first real paint set, a gift from my 7th grade art teacher Ms.Hudson who advised me to keep it a secret, it was just between her and I as she could not give every child a set. Prior to this I had drawn with markers, pencils and leftover watercolor paints I found around the house. When I think back on this I realize that she was investing in my future in a profound way. I will always cherish her for believing in me.
As a young untrained artist I spent many nights in the west bottoms area of KCMO ,Among the abandoned warehouses and shuttered meat packing buildings I experimented as a graffiti writer and muralist. This was to be my "art school" as it turned out. In high school I painted jean jackets, pants and shoes for kids at twenty dollars a pop and at night I was out searching for "fresh walls" I got my first big commission at 17 it was a large mural for a backbar in a nightclub. I continued my aspirations and enterprises as an artist influenced by pop art, surrealism and abstraction of every kind ,I painted canvases of musicians that I admired and aspired to be like.
At the age of twenty one I moved to Chicago searching for my place in the world as an artist, instead losing myself in a life of alcohol and substance abuse. With neither the discipline necessary to hone my work or the confidence to expose it to criticism of the competitive Chicago art scene, I foundered, isolated, self medicated, eventually turning over my brushes for bottles.
As my substance abuse progressed my production as an artist declined steadily ,slowly at first until by the age of thirty I had completely ceased to create. It would be ten full years before I picked up a brush again.
In the the summer of 2012 a friend gave me a set of two relief style paintings that she rescued from an old building somewhere. I'm still am not sure why these pieces spoke to me, maybe it was because they had been discarded that I felt there was nothing to lose so I painted them.
I began splashing and pouring long flourishes of crimson and coal latex paint, revealing new shapes and organic forms, amorphous, beautiful, mercurial. A lifetime of pent up emotions anger, fear and sadness revealed themselves in texture and free form shapes. These two pieces of refuse were now transformed and as such my next phase as an artist began. I was painting again and though I was still in the throes of alcohol and drug abuse I was beginning the long process of what I now see was my eventual saving grace. Finding the love I had lost for my work and for the very first time learning to love and respect myself, it was on that day that I began to heal and continue my true life's work as an artist with purpose.
My work today is about resilience, honesty, freedom and hope. Memories that give us joy, cause us pain and if we allow them , help us to grow.
It is as much about where I have been as it is about where I hope to go.
Christopher M Trejo