Art when shared

Vibrant creations

Art when shared

Sharmila Chand chats up an internationally acclaimed artist, designer, visual communicator and above all, a generous soul with a passion for teaching art...

From tote bags and glassware to sculptures and swimwear, from bold and bright to sparkling aqua blue, Christopher Hogan’s work has a universal appeal. And so is his charismatic persona, adapting seamlessly to the soil where he works — be it a Polo event in Thailand, or luxury resorts in Maldives, or a yoga centre in Pune, the entire world is his canvas.

Hogan has made a name for himself in the world of art and design with his eclectic mix of colours and his unique interpretations of contemporary abstract art. Bold and bright hues characterise his work. “I am inspired by nature,” Christopher states, “Especially marine life, but also tropical jungles and the rainforest.”

So, if you see a 7x2.5 metre wall mural with 350-odd tiles at Angsana Laguna Phuket or a ‘Sea Whips Hand Painted Martini Glass’, you cannot miss the artist behind those works, that’s Hogan in his signature open-hearted smile.

Originally from Australia, Christopher graduated from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with degrees in Visual Arts, Art History and Fine Art, and subsequently invited entry into the Golden Key Honour Society, an international organisation that recognises exceptional scholastic achievement.

His specialtyWhile Hogan’s forte remains amalgamating contemporary original designs with the realities of the commercial world, who would imagine his canvas one day for delightful art could also be the auto world, more specifically Bajaj RE60 vehicles?

True to his style, a kaleidoscope of colours and gleeful patterns form RE60 Quadricycle Signature Collection, as was revealed on the world stage during the 2014 Auto Expo in India. He has once again shown to the world his unique fusion of art, culture and technology into a highly visual package.

He says, “I have travelled to India over many years and knew that what I enjoyed about it was its colour and culture. So, I researched which five national icons would be the most visually suitable to represent the overall cultural aesthetic of India. Colour is such an integral ingredient in the Indian way of life. This was an important consideration in my creations on the vehicles, it is reflected in the tiger, lotus, mango, peacock and banyan tree — vibrantly coloured designs.”

Another project close to Hogan’s heart is doing the artworks for the world’s first Homoeopathy Yoga Centre PRANA, for Healing, Education & Research in Pune.

He explains, “At the centre, to be in sync with the theme, we have created a contemporary abstract mural comprising four parts that connect and reflect sequentially and metaphorically the  holistic and individualised health care experience there.”
Search for the self Christopher utilises a powerful technique by  focusing on line, form, colour and compensation to bring out the latent artist in just about anyone. “I like to de-mystify abstract art. Sometimes people are intimated, but I try to simplify it,” shares Christopher.Christopher particularly likes to work with children. “They have a purity of imagination and are able to express themselves without boundaries,” he says.

He recalls his experience at the 2011 King’s Cup Elephant Polo event, when he found an opportunity to work with underprivileged and autistic children in Thailand. “There are few things as rewarding as working with children who may have never had the opportunity to express themselves in this way.”

“I am also interested in usable art. I love art that is functional, something you can drink out of, stand on, or wear. Art should be for everyone, and in addition to my commissioned pieces, I enjoy making art that is accessible,” Christopher adds.

With the sole mission to help harness individual creative talent and synergise it with workplace environment, Hogan organises Art Energy Workshops. Recently, he enthralled over 800 staff members at the Bajaj Auto factory at Akurdi, Pune, with his art enrichment programme. The Art Energy workshops were conceptualised to stimulate creativity and lateral thinking as part of his efforts on holistic development.

Hogan explains, “My Art Energy programme is incorporated into major resort and hotel groups, such as One & Only Reethi Rah, Maldives, where I work closely with HR, integrating Art Energy into staff training throughout Maldives and Thailand. As a visual communicator, I develop my Art Energy workshops to meet the demand of corporations who recognise the value of incorporating art and a little of art theory as a team-building exercise.”

He adds, “The sense of ownership and worth is created by exhibiting their artworks in work spaces. Bajaj Auto have team collections displayed in their plants throughout India, as does the One & Only Reethi Rah Resort, Maldives. Participants found this to be a very refreshing, engaging and fulfilling experience. This workshop has broken barriers of inhibition and stimulated hobbies, self expression and original thought. This was not just about a painting class, it was about finding more about oneself and colleagues, coming together as a team and instilling a feeling that each one of us is capable of creating a masterpiece.”

Meaning of artThe exuberant Hogan continues to grab world-wide attention with his unique approach to design and by staying true to his belief that art should be an extension of a person’s personality and not a way to conform to ideas.

While he spends the majority of his time globetrotting as an artist, his merchandise range is growing, and he is hopeful it will soon be available in India.

If you are sipping hot tea and strong vibrant colours, a flash of fin, the markings of a zebra fish catch your attention, blame it on Hogan, who has captured the movement and colour of the Barrier reef as it teems with life and activity right on the tea mug you are holding. That’s nothing else but ‘Christopher Hogan Reef Rush Hour Mug’ you are holding. Down on the reef, it is always rush hour somewhere.

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