Chris Trueman


“I post on social media nearly everyday and as a result I am getting opportunities to show in galleries consistently, I’ve sold work through the galleries that represent me, I’ve met hundreds of artists and I’ve been able to be proactive in my own professional development”

AT: Where are you from and how/why you start engaging to art?

CT: I was born in Oregon, raised in Chico, California and started engaging in art in high school. I found that I had some talent and interest and in between my junior and senior year in high school I attended the “Young Artists Program at San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI)”. It was during this time that I decided if I was going to pursue art that I wanted to attend SFAI. I did end up attending SFAI albeit not as directly of a path as I had imagined.


AT: When did it become serious?

CT: I think that there were two times in my life that pursuing a life and career in art became serious.

The first was that despite my strong interest in art and the accolades for it that I received in high school I didn’t start off with a belief that it was really feasible to build and sustain a career as an artist so initially I went to a community college as a business major intending to follow in my father’s footsteps as a stock broker. After about 2 years of general ed and basic business classes my father decided to change careers and that caused me to rethink my own plan. I decided at that moment to switch my major, build a portfolio and apply to SFAI. I did that and was accepted with a scholarship that would allow me to attend the school.

The second time that my career really began to gain some momentum was after grad school. It always takes a bit of time to clear your head and find your feet after graduate school but once I did I haven’t looked back and each year seems to present more opportunities and challenges.


AT: Are there any person that have been significant in your progression as an artist? 

CT: I have been fortunate to have support all along the way from high school through graduate school many many people have supported me. Pursuing my BFA at San Francisco Art Institute and my MFA Claremont Graduate University were really critical periods of tremendous growth and I found that the environments were really a good fit for me and my learning style.


AT: What’s your first approach to the work? Where does your process start?

CT: I’m embedded in a trajectory at this point, each work isn’t starting from a random space in time, they are part of a herd, in that sense, the way I work isn’t linear in a single track way. I am on a many lane freeway and in general all of the lanes are moving forward in a common direction but I often leave the lane that is furthest along to go back and advance the ones that are falling behind. Often times the most advanced track feeds and fuels the others with advancing content and new tactics. The content in each lane overlaps but the approach or materials may be different. So when I approach a new work, I am often taking what I have been learning and thinking about in the previous work and I try to re-articulate the conversation in a new or different way.

Most pieces start with some initial gestures or brush marks. These marks I see as the fundamental element in my painting. They are the stand-in for my signature or writing and have a direct tie to me as the artist. While those marks are still wet, I continue to work around those marks with various methods of painting and then when the paint has partially dried I squeegee the wet marks off. Depending on how long I let the initial marks dry, will determine how much of the mark stays intact. This process of addition and removal results in a series of stacked planes where the negative spaces caused by the removal of the wet paint show the underlying layering.

“SCRN”, acrylic and acrylic spray paint on yupo, 56”x44”, 2017

AT: What are your favourite tools and materials for working?

CT: I use a lot of squeegees and acrylic spray paint in my work.


AT: Do you leave your work open to interpretation? Or do you think the viewer should engage with your work in a specific way? 

CT: I don’t believe the artist is in control of the viewers experience. Even with representational or narrative work, we don’t know what the viewer is getting from the work and I think all work is open to interpretation. Which is not to say that the viewer can’t or won’t have a profound experience with the work, just that as artists I believe my role is to create an object that generates and triggers meaning and unique experience. When I go to a show I never read the writing about the work first. I want to experience the work on my own and then I can read what they intended and often times with even very well known artists my interpretation is not what the artist seemed to be getting at.


AT: How do you feel while you are working? You think of the final result? 

CT: Painting is a performance of balance and timing, choreographing the right sequence of moves the first time every time. It isn’t to say there are no failed paintings or paintings that were resolved in a way that deviated from intention but that each move can change the whole dynamic of the painting. Drying time is a variable that I handle intuitively because temperature and climate changes the drying times which changes how quickly I need to work and how much residue is left when I remove paint. There are other conditions of chance, how much paint leaves a trail when I squeegee, what texture is transferred into my work from the texture of the wall behind. These factors of environment collide with intention forcing adaptation and in the moment decision making. I have a general idea of the colors and the types of marks and the overall feel but I don’t know exactly what the painting will look like. I’ve become familiar enough with the process that I can get the feel and presence I was shooting for, but perhaps the mark making is different than intended.


AT: How do you understand when a work is finished? 

CT: It is cliche but Picasso said “a painting is never finished it just stops at interesting places” I subscribe to this notion that a single canvas can house many paintings, but for me there is a moment where the painting finds a balance between coming together and falling apart where there is tension that builds energy. A “completed” painting according to this definition kills it because it resolves everything parts become overly cleaned up or overpainted on the other hand the painting is together enough that it doesn’t fall apart, crumbling into chaos or formlessness.

“Moxie”, acrylic and acrylic spray paint on mounted yupo, 26×20, 2016
“MPL”, acrylic and acrylic spray paint on mounted yupo, 2017

AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from? Do you find inspiration outside or it’s all inside you? 

CT: I find inspiration all over, I am constantly devouring information and visual imagery and am very active in seeing art in person and via social platforms. It is a combination of outside inspiration filtered through the lens of my philosophical and intellectual perspective combined with internal dialogue of what I am thinking about and working on and fixating on.


AT: Do you think art can be learned or it is something innate? 

CT: Art can be learned and taught, maybe some people are talented in certain ways, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find a way to make work that is your own and relevant and important. I do think though that people dabble in art and devote very little time and energy to it and then have high expectations. I have been working on art, looking at art, thinking about art since I was 15 years old. I’ve shown work on four continents and in many different countries and all over the US and I am still learning and building. I have taught and mentored students who want a quick fix, who want to be making great work after ten paintings or want to be supporting themselves with their work with only a year or two of pursuing art. It doesn’t typically work that way, there is no substitute for time, experience and deep involvement.


AT: There are any artists that influenced your works? Why? 

CT: I am influenced all the time, but not usually by a handful of artists, rather hundreds. I love seeing art and going to shows and I support my peers. I am constantly on the prowl for new and innovative artists that I haven’t found before.


AT: How important is for you the role of social media?

CT: Social media is huge, it is a game changer for so many reasons. Since the mid 90s Art fairs have for better or worse had the biggest impact on the artworld, more people would see the artwork that a gallery brought to an art fair than all year from shows and to a much wider audience. So the galleries with the resources and reputation to get into the fairs increased their visibility and sales potential. The problem is that the fair model kept expanding to the point that there are now too many galleries going to too many fairs and not nearly enough collectors to support the quantity of art offered and the expense of participation has become prohibitive for many galleries. In the last few years I have seen most mid level galleries pulling out of the fairs or focusing on a few relevant regional fairs or focusing on their immediate region. While I don’t think Social media has the same ability to get in front of the same quantity of high level buyers as an art fair yet, it cost far far less and it somewhat levels the playing field. At the time of this interview, I have 11,000 followers on instagram, I post nearly everyday and as a result I am getting opportunities to show in galleries consistently, I’ve sold work through the galleries that represent me, I’ve met hundreds of artists and I’ve been able to be proactive in my own professional development. What I predict is that the artists with established social media presences in general will get more and more visible and desirable to galleries and institutions who are looking for ways to connect to their communities and audiences. I’ve seen young artists with good social media followings get institutional shows because the institution or gallery wants to leverage the artist’s social media visibility it is a win win to show them. On top of that, when I have a show in another region in the world I won’t be a totally unfamiliar name, I will likely already have some followers in that region and many of the social media active curators and collectors in that region will have at least a familiarity with my work. I have also had artists from other parts of the country come to visit my studio when they are in town and in January I have an intern coming from Paris to work with me. I love the interconnectivity it provides.

“NBMB”, acrylic and acrylic spray paint on yupo mounted to sintra, 80”x60”, 2017
“BSKW”, acrylic and acrylic spray paint on yupo mounted to sintra, 80”x60”, 2017

AT: What’s your opinion about the contemporary art system nowadays from your point of view as an artist?

CT: I see the art world operating in a much more pragmatic way than many people might, by that I mean that it seems naive to me to think of the artworld and the art market as two different arenas. The intersection of the market means in large that the artists that get the big shows in the premier institutions are often their because of a board that consists of collectors with relationships to certain galleries and artists. This concept trickles down to the mid level galleries who are more likely to give shows to the artists that sell and are more likely to take them to art fairs. So what we see when we look at the art world is mostly what is selling. Would I choose it to be this way? No, I think there are a ton of great artists who are getting little to no action because their work is tough to sell, from a gallery perspective, I understand, it is increasingly more and more expensive to operate a gallery and many of them are not actually making money. As an artist I’m lucky because I make the work I want to make and it happens to be something that people want to own, so sales have been good and I have been able to get plenty of opportunity to show my work. I also really like that Instagram in particular has taken off as a way to gain exposure and find artists and art. That gives me greater control over my career. I can build and interact with people outside of the gallery show model which allows for sustained and constant growth. I do believe that the gallery system is really important and I don’t advocate for the internet to replace galleries, I think that the web and social should supplement in the way that art fairs supplemented the ability of a gallery to get viewers in front of their artists work.


AT: What do you find to be the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art? What is the most rewarding part of working as an artist?

CT: I think the most challenging thing is that you have to wear so many hats. it isn’t enough to just make work these days, you have to get out there and build a community of support, find opportunities to show the work, market the work, be your own PR and social media manager. You have to establish good suppliers for your materials and work with various framers and shippers. You have to speak about your work and write about your work. You have to make enough money to fund your studio and the projects and shows you want to do and to traveling to these shows and other regions. I photograph most of my work and spend nights responding to image requests and updating my website. I often work all week and then go to shows on many Saturdays and some Sundays. Pursuing a career in art isn’t something to take lightly, you have to love it and have to completely believe in it or it becomes too tough and too much to deal with. I love being an artist, working in the studio, making paintings, showing, traveling is all a lot of fun. I love going to other artists shows and meeting with fellow artists and talking about art and the art world. It is really rewarding to support my family financially from art sales and to take on large commissions that will be out in the public to see.


AT: What do you do outside of painting?

CT: Outside of painting I love exploring food and wine and l love how the artworld and food and wine world have so much crossover. I’ve shared wonderful meals and bottles of wine with collectors, dealers and fellow artists and whenever I travel for shows I try to see what the local food and wine specialties are. I have always loved to travel, more recently my travel has been primarily art related but in the past my wife and I were able to travel fairly extensively abroad.


AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?

CT: As for the future, each year that passes I’m getting more and more opportunities, a bigger network of support and I continue to build on some great partnerships with galleries who support me and I will move my work forward in productive ways and hopefully find some venues to show in places that I’ve never been or that I would like to return to.

“New Works”, exhibition view at Edward Cella Art & Architecture, Los Angeles
Chris Trueman
lives and work in Los Angeles, California


2010: Claremont Graduate University, Master of Fine Arts
2003: San Francisco Art Institute, Dual Bachelor of Fine Art Degrees in Painting and Digital Media


"After(image)", Edward Cella Gallery, Los Angeles, March

"Interface", Themes and Projects Gallery, San Francisco, December
"The Color of the Universe Changes Over Time", Adah Rose Gallery, Kensington, MD, March

"Entangled" Dual solo show at TW Fine Art, Brisbane, Australia and Visual Artists Group, Los Angeles, CA July

LAX-->BNE Solo exhibition, TW Fine Art, Brisbane Australia, June
David Hicks and Chris Trueman, "New Works" Edward Cella Art + Architecture, Los Angeles, CA, February

"Inversions: Image vs The Real", at Four Six One Nine, curated by John Wolf, Los Angeles, CA, October
"Closing the Gap", Soltesz Fine Art, Portland, OR, September

"ALCHEMY", TW Fine Art, Fortitude Valley, Australia, October
"Beneath the Skin", Edward Cella Art + Architecture, Los Angeles, CA, March

Chris Trueman and Mira Schnedler, Curated by Carl Berg, Andreshire Gallery, LA, CA, August
"Lineage", White Box Contemporary, San Diego, CA, June 22nd
"Gestural Geometries" Chris Trueman and Joe LLoyd, Artmerge Lab, LA, CA, May 16 – August 30
Chris Trueman and Alison Rash, “ENERGY.ECSTASY.EDGE”, Adah Rose Gallery, Kensington, MD, 
April 25 - June 16
"Slipstream" Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, CA, January

"Stripes," Salazar Contemporary Art Exhibits, La Jolla, CA, May

“Augmentation,” White Box Contemporary, San Diego, CA, July
“The Suspended Literal,” Autonomie Projects, Los Angeles, CA, July

“Abstract Evolution,” White Box Contemporary, San Diego, CA, September
“Justin Bower and Chris Trueman,” Alexander Salazar Gallery, San Diego, CA, May
“Chris Trueman,” Peggy Phelps Gallery, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA, February


“RE: union” Durden and Ray, Curated by Jorin Bossen, Los Angeles, CA February
“Land of Milk and Honey” Curated by Bryan Ricci, Backspace LA, Los Angeles, February
“Paintings from the Interior”, curated by Andi Campognone, UC Riverside Culver Gallery, Riverside, January
“Carte Blanche” curated by Adah Rose Bitterbaum, Studio Gallery, Washington DC, January

"limitless Space" Orth Contemporary, Tulsa, Oklahoma, November
"Abstract Thinking" Three person show, R.B. Stevenson Gallery, La Jolla, October
"Reunion" curated by John Wolf, Brenda Harrop Art Advisory, Los Angeles, June
"The Post-Digital Mark", TWFINEART, Brisbane, Australia, April
Art Palm Springs art fair with Edward Cella Gallery 

"LA Painting: Formalism to Street Art" Curated by Andi Campognone, Bruno David Gallery, Saint Louis, September
"Simultaneous Contrast", curated by Curtis Stage, Durden and Ray, Los Angeles, July
"Abstraction in the Singular", curated by Grant Vetter, Bentley Gallery, Phoenix, AZ, March
"Something Real", Edward Cella Art &Architecture, Los Angeles, CA, January

"Connecting Point LA", Kunstforum Unterland Neumarkt, Italy, September
"UNDER THE SPELL - LOS ANGELES NEW INTERNATIONAL ART SCENE", Frank Taal Gallery, Rotterdam, Netherlands, September
"Mondrian Died For Our Sins: Some Recent Painting from New York and Los Angeles", Blam Projects, Brooklyn, New York, July
"Destination LA, Endpoint Berlin" Berlin Art Projects, Berlin, May
"See Gee You", East West Point, Curated by Jane Liu, Monterrey Park, April
"Parallels and Intersections" Overseas Chinese History Museum of China, Beijing, March
Palm Springs Fine Art Fair with Patrajdas Contemporary February

Context Art Fair Miami with Adah Rose Gallery, December
Art Silicon Valley with Adah Rose Gallery, October
Houston Fine Art Fair with Patradjas Contemporary, September
ArtAspen Art Fair with Patradjas Contemporary, August
"Organic Beginnings" Soltesz Fine Art, Portland, OR, June
"Unbound" Edward Cella Art + Architecture, Los Angeles, CA, May
Art Miami-New York With Adah Rose Gallery, May
"Ges-ture", curated by Carl Berg, Arena 1, Santa Monica, CA, January
Art On Paper Fair, New York with Edward Cella Art + Architecture, January

Art San Diego 2014 with White Box Contemporary, November
“Million Year Picnic”, Curated by Kio Griffith, Gallery Fu, in association with the Yokohama Triennial, Yokohama, Japan, October
"Driven to Abstraction" Patrajdas Contemporary, Ogden UT, October
Art Silicon Valley with Adah Rose Gallery, Silicon Valley, CA, October
"6018 Wilshire", Edward Cella Art + Architecture, Los Angeles, CA, September
TX Contemporary Art Fair with Edward Cella Art + Architecture, Houston, TX, September
"MAS 6", Torrence Art Museum, curated by ARTRA, Torrance, CA, August
ArtAspen Art Fair with Patrajdas Contemporary, Aspen, CO, July
“Overpainting, Connecting Point LA” Fondazione Vittorio Leonesio, Puegnago del Garda, Italy, May
ARTMRKT San Francisco art fair with Edward Cella Art + Architecture, San Francisco, CA, May
"LES ENFANT TERRIBLES" curated by Grant Vetter, Autonomie Projects, Los Angeles, CA May
Pulse New York Art Fair with Adah Rose Gallery, New York, May
"CONNECTING POINT LA" curated by Carl Berg, Arena 1, Santa Monica, CA, April
"BEHOLD" Ed Bopp, David Michael Lee, Jon Measures, Chris Trueman, Brett Rubbico Gallery, Newport Beach, CA, March
"OC Academy", Irvine Fine Art Center, Irvine, CA, March
"2040, 100 Years of Certitude", Jaus Gallery, Los Angeles, February
Palm Springs Fine Art Fair with Baik Art, February
"MAS SFO", Studio 17, San Francisco, February
Pulse Miami Art Fair with Adah Rose Gallery, December
Art San Diego 2103 with White Box Contemporary, November
Houston Fine Art Fair with White Box Contemporary, September
"Resident Artists", Santa Ana College, Santa Ana, CA, August
Art Aspen Fair with White Box Contemporary, August
"Nature Redefined", Curated by Susan Baik, Read Contemporary, Dallas, TX, July
Pulse New York Art Fair with Adah Rose Gallery, May
Dallas Art Fair with Adah Rose Gallery, Dallas, April
"IMPRESSION" Curated by Carl Berg, Irvine Fine Arts Center, Irvine, CA, March
"Looking Back at Tomorrow", Royale Projects, Palm Springs, CA, February 
"MAS Attack" LA Mart, Los Angeles, CA, January
"Forms of Abstraction" Curated by Carl Berg, Irvine Fine Arts Center, Irvine, CA, January

"The Subterraneans” Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA, September 
"CO/LAB II, at Art Platform Art Fair, With Durden & Ray, Los Angeles, CA, September 
"San Diego Art Fair 2012” White Box Contemporary, San Diego, CA, September 
"Painting the Edge: Redux” DEN Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA, September 
"Celebrity Skin," Curated by Raul Zamudio, White Box Contemporary, San Diego, CA, August
"Painting on the Edge," Autonomie Projects, Los Angeles, CA, July
"Summer of Abstraction," Coastline College Art Gallery, Huntington Beach, CA, July
"Happening" LACE Annual Benefit Auction, Selected by David Pagel, Los Angeles, CA, May
“The Gang's All Here,” Central Utah Art Center, Ephraim, UT, February
“Space/Adversity/Motion,” DEN Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA, January
“To Live and Paint in LA,” Torrence Art Museum, Torrence, CA, January

“Cosa Nostra,” Gallery Rheeway, Los Angeles, CA, October
“Speculative Materialism II: Abstract Art and Its Conditions,” curated by Grant Vetter
AC Projects, Pomona, CA, September
“Super-salon,” curated by Steve Hampton, Flagstop, Torrance, CA, September
“Re:Present,” curated by Durden and Ray Projects, Los Angeles, CA, July
“Entering Abstraction,” Ruth Bachofner Gallery, Santa Monica, CA, July
"LACE Annual Benefit Auction", Selected by Liat Yossifor, Los Angeles, CA, May
“Speculative Materialism: Abstract Art and Its Conditions,” curated by Grant Vetter
D-Block, Long Beach, CA, April
“About Paint,” Carl Berg Projects, Los Angeles, CA, January

“Eight from CGU, 2010 MFA Grads,” Ruth Bachofner Gallery, Santa Monica, CA, July
“Merging,” Peggy Phelps Gallery, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA, May
“Socializing Through the Internet,” Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milan, Italy, May
“Unfolding,” Downtown Art Center, Los Angeles, CA, April
“Inaugural Exhibition,” Alexander Salazar Fine Arts, San Diego, CA, March
“American Paintings,” Wannabee Gallery, Milan, Italy, February
“Crashing Culver,” Independent Space, Culver City, CA, January

“Twenty Eight,” East Gallery, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA, September 2009
“Surface Strata,” Joyce Gordon Gallery, Oakland, CA, September
“Artists and Authors,” New Children’s Museum, San Diego, CA, May
“Love Nest,” Wannabee Gallery, Milan, Italy, March


Abstraction in the Singular Artists Talk, Arizona State University, March 16th, 8-10pm.
Abstraction in the Singular Artists Talk, Bentley Gallery, March 17th, 6-8pm.

Artist-to-artist Interview with Rebecca Campbell at the Lancaster Museum of Art and History 

Review, Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, April 21, 2018 
The Multicolored Complexity of Chris Trueman and David Hicks, Feb. 23, 2016 by Andrew Wagner
Monthly Art Column, Feb. 24, 2016, Pasadena Independent by Jeffrey Davis
"Critics Picks" Art Ltd Magazine, January/February issue by Shana Nys Dambrot
New American Paintings, Issue #121, Dec 2015
"Fresh Faces, 8 LA Artists you should know", Fabrik Magazine by ARTRA Curatorial
"Beneath the Skin", Art Ltd Review, May 8th, 2014 by James Scarborough
"Chris Trueman's Electric Canvases Will Leave Your Mind Spinning", Huffington Post Interview
March 23, 2014 by Priscilla Frank
"Harmonious Tension: Chris Trueman and Mark Harrington at Edward Cella Art + Architecture", March 14, 2014, Artsy Editorial 
"Distant Rumbling: A review of Chris Trueman’s Paintings", July 15, 2013 Phillip Chan
“ENERGY. ECSTASY. EDGE” Washington Post Review, May 17, 2013 Mark Jenkins
“Artist Chris Trueman Explores Rough Edges And Slippery Color Fields At Lancaster Museum Of Art,” 
January 31, 2013, Huffington Post 
New American Paintings Pacific Coast Issue #103, Dec. 2012
New American Paintings MFA, Issue #87, April 2010
Cheng, DeWitt. "Spatio-Temporal Flux," East Bay Express, October 7-13, 2009: Volume 31, Issue 52
Ringer, Isabelle. "Tsunami of Mixed Media at Joyce Gordon Gallery," Piedmont Post, April 30, 2008
Cheng, DeWitt. "Cosmic Encyclopedias of Human History," East Bay Express, May 28, 2008: Volume 30, Issue 34,
Email: trueman.chris(at)
Instagram: @Truemanchris
Facebook: Chris Trueman