Art - Photography / Mixed Media - Chris Robert-Antieau


Chris Roberts-Antieau began her career in art by walking out of an art class.

On her very first day in art-school, the instructor had given the class an assignment to draw an ink bottle. The other students drew literal, realistic sketches. Chris drew a blocky, childlike bottle that took up the whole page. The professor singled it out for mockery in front of the whole class, asking her, "Who told you you could draw?" Chris walked out and never looked back.

Marriage and the birth of her son, Noah, put her art on hold for a few years. But when Noah was old enough to hold a crayon, the two of them began to draw together. Chris found herself fascinated by the raw childlike vision she saw in her son’s drawings, and it wasn’t long before she herself was ‘back at the drawing board,’ creating fanciful cloth sculptures for regional art shows. Her first sale: a trapeze artist, which took her two days to make, and sold for $18.

Barely a year later, a visiting artist ran across Chris’s work and suggested that she take a crack at creating designs for the then-hopping wearable art market. Chris took her up on it, creating 2 jackets and 3 vests, which the two took to Baltimore, for the American Craft Enterprises event—Chris’s first show ever outside her home state of Michigan.

The response was overwhelming. Buyers crowded a dozen deep around the makeshift booth, elbowing each other for place. When the smoke cleared, Chris had hundreds of orders from stores across the country—including Neiman Marcus.

She returned home, hired a staff of fifteen, and set out to meet her commitments—doing the complicated and time-consuming detailing on each garment herself.

 

 

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