Chris and Sawbridge found each other a few years ago and the relationship works. Her work is very popular and many clients have started collections. We think Chris is as fascinating as her work is appealing.
"A biography is a compilation of stories of people around you, your responses to those stories and, of course, and your own experiences. Truly, no life is an island. That's the nature of community. My biography is interesting due in great part to my knowing so many unusual people and having had many extraordinary experiences. In fact, the people and experiences in my life have been so interesting that at times I can't quite keep up with it all.
My childhood started quietly enough, traveling with my military family to Hawaii, California and Washington, D.C. I was happy, yet something was missing, and after seeing so much of the military life I decided to join an intentional community of Mennonites in Illinois.
Mennonites are a 500-year-old Anabaptist, pacifist group, similar in many ways to the Amish, Hutterites and Brethren. Unlike the romanticized rural life of the Amish, my simple, urban community focused on living and working with the poor and sharing whatever resources we had with those in need. This sounds rather saint-like and sacrificial, but in reality it's both very ordinary and fun. Perhaps no one would call the people I lived among modern heroes, but through their example of sacrifice and dedication to serving others, they transformed my life and my painting.
Simplicity, reverence and (I hope) humility became the goals of my life and my painting. My work has become simpler and simpler. Now, I find I can express what I want to say with only a few colors and a little paint. Like the people around me, I have reduced the elemental qualities in my work to the bare essentials, and have found that a rich place to be.
Ironically, I have also found it possible to share more of who I am in my work by having to take my very individualistic and naturally "baroque" personality out of it. My plan is to continue this path of reduction. I suspect that my subjects will always be taken from the world around me, whether it is the rural, hive-like community houses of the Hutterites or the factories of the steel town of Bethlehem. Regardless of the outcome, it will always be the story of my community.