About

Telluride

“When I was younger I was enamored with idea that order arose from chaos so I created abstract maelstroms in mixed media, then found forms within and made them emerge more clearly. My art mirrored the randomness that I then believed to be a primal creative force in the universe.

However, directedness, or teleology, is more and more evident to me in nature: from the physics governing the expanding webwork of our cosmos, to the synaptic superhighways of our minds, to the information processing machinery inside our cells. In response, I have become more purposeful in my methods and objectives.

I am first and foremost a portrait painter. I like people and am drawn to the beauty of the human face and its many nuanced expressions. I find that I empathize easily, which comes across in my work. I also enjoy teaching because of the creative interaction with my students, and because teaching sharpens my own skills.

To connect with nature directly, I like to get outside and paint. My plein air paintings are the most personal and spiritual of all of my artwork. There is something overwhelming about painting the magnificent desolation of ancient landforms, with nothing but the sound of a hawk slicing the air of a canyon updraft.”

Biography

Christian Kolupski never received a formal education in the fine arts, so his training has been self-directed and idiosyncratic. Over the course of his career, Christian has studied under a number of different artists, many of whom have served as mentors.

Art instructor, David DeClerk, steered Christian toward representational painting. Artists Ed Salazar and Alan Boyle mentored Christian in indirect and direct oil painting methods. Artists Gail Chambers and Theresa Manns schooled Christian in ideal forms. Christian also considers the color concepts learned from Graydon Parrish through his Rational Painting forum to be pivotal to his development.

Christian attended classes at The Art Student’s League of New York with figurative artist Dean Keller, and portrait artists Everett Raymond Kinstler, and Nelson Shanks. He later continued his studies with Nelson Shanks at his Philadelphia atelier Studio Incamminati.

Christian exhibits throughout Western New York, Colorado and Utah, and has works in public and private collections around the world. He currently resides in Rochester, NY with his wife Michele and their daughter Violet.

Notable Commissions Include:

Family portrait for Jonathan Judge, CEO of Paychex Corporation
Portrait of Marvin Sands, founder of Constellation Brands
Portrait of Thomas Clarkson, founder Clarkson University
Portrait of James Neely, founder of AMSA Corporation
Portrait of John Odenbach Sr., founder of The Dolomite Group
Portrait of MM Ewing, for the MM Ewing Continuing Care Center
Mural: The School of Priority Thinking, after Raphael’s School of Athens

Christian is currently commissioned by Ken Smith, of Ken Smith Architects, to paint the portrait of each member of the firm. This is an ongoing relationship that has produced more than twenty portraits, and represents an unprecedented convergence of art and architecture. The portraits are on view at Ken Smith Architects, in Rochester, NY.

The School of Priority Thinking -History and Process

In 2008 Christian Kolupski was commissioned to paint an allegorical representation of Raphael’s School of Athens with a new set of figures. The School of Priority Thinking is the culmination of more than three years of collaboration between the artist and Rochester, NY author Peter DeMarco.

Initially Christian used pencil sketches to work out the different positions of the figures with Peter. After a lengthy process of generating different options and receiving feedback, Christian switched to oil paint for additional sketches. Then he prepared a larger comprehensive oil sketch.

After a year and a half of preparation, work began on the final painting. Christian premixed his palette, using the comprehensive sketch as a color guide.  He prevented his paint from drying over the long duration of the project by saving his color mixtures in metal paint tubes.

Christian started by blocking in the background architecture to maintain color unity across the entire mural. However, when he switched to painting the first figure he discovered a problem. He could not see well enough to achieve the level of detail necessary for the faces of the figures, whose heads were only about 1 ½ inches tall. Christian resolved this problem by painting under a 10 inch magnifying glass and using miniature sable brushes for the duration of the project.

During the painting process, additional figures were added and some were changed. This required some in-process redesigning, along with more sketching and feedback. Finally, the painting was finished and unveiled to Peter.

After the painting had been photographed and delivered, a final figure was determined to be necessary and added –bringing the total to 51 figures. This time, painting took place in Peter’s home. The last figure Christian painted was the Moral Fox in the front right foreground. This figure is missing from the current photograph of the painting.

To learn more about the figures and their meanings, visit: http://prioritythinking.com/AboutUs/Painting.aspx