Chris Vena

Region: West


City / State: Tempe, AZ

 Until recently, my work was concerned with the volatile political climate in the US, Arizona in particular. But in 2020, COVID and the BLM movement finally drew the attention of the country to the problems I had been trying to raise awareness of for most of the last decade. The idea of continuing in that vein suddenly felt exploitative.

As a result, I’ve focused my attention on the loneliness and unease of pandemic life and its aftermath. I spent most of 2020–22 alone at home with my pets, wrestling with this ubiquitous dread. My most recent work reflects my attempt at reconciliation with these events through a series of small self-portraits based on my life in our plague years.

More recently, I have begun a parallel body of work involving collaborative portraits of creative colleagues. The concept is still fluid at the moment but I am beginning to see the work as allegorical and feminist.