The secret to making interesting art is to be a remarkably interesting person – or maybe it’s just humour. Either way, it seems to be working for Kris Row, a Winnipeg artist whose show, Faces in Different Places, will be up at cre8ery gallery and studio until Sept. 19.
Row boasts an impressive resume. Not limited to painting, he is an orthodontist by day. He holds a master’s degree in craniofacial growth and anatomy and a degree in chemistry, and he is pursuing a master’s degree in military history.
“My interests are all over the map,” Row says. “I’m never bored.”
“He has a strange mix of themes of things that we don’t know about and experiences that we don’t necessarily have regularly as artists,” Jordan Miller, executive director and owner of cre8ery, says. “That’s what makes his body of work quite different.”
Another Day on the Beijing Hutong by Kris Row
During a two-and-a-half-year stint in China, he played semi-pro hockey with the Beijing Leafs.
“I got drafted by the Leafs,” he says. “I tell my patients that, and they look at me and go, ‘No, you’re too little for that.’”
Miller describes Row’s paintings as bright, colourful and illustrative. “They do tell stories, but they tell them in a humorous way,” she says.
Road To Heaven by Kris Row
Row insists humour is a key element to his work.
“Humour is good medicine. I always write down funny situations or quirky things that have happened to me,” he says.
“I was in a deli one time, and everyone seemed to be grumpy, so there’s all these grumpy people in a cheese shop. I was going to call it grumpy people, but I just called it The Cheese Shop instead,” Row says of one such work.
Row is a storyteller. Miller describes one painting that depicts a man riding a rickshaw loaded to the brim, about to collapse. “You wondered what the situation was that inspired Kris to paint it,” she says. “(The paintings) have these heavy stories associated with the work, heavy political stories with just a twist of humour.”
The effect of the work? “They make me very curious,” Miller says.
cre8ery is a rental gallery. Unlike funded gallery spaces that rely on sales to prosper, cre8ery can take risks on artists of all styles and experiences.
“Our mandate is to sell artwork and see (the artists) survive,” Miller says. “We rent out the space, and then the artist is motivated to make sales to pay back their rental fee, so we find artists’ work to make sales as well as us. It’s a partnership.”
cre8ery is located at 125 Adelaide St. and is open from Tuesday through Friday from 12-6 p.m., Saturday from 12-5 p.m. or by appointment. Check out cre8ery.com for Row’s artist statement and bio.