We had the good fortune of connecting with Christopher Stevens and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Christopher, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The best way to describe it is as an obsession. I was working a corporate job in a toxic work environment and all I could think about was being in my studio painting. Then I left that place and landed a job at a wonderful institution that paid and treated me well. It was a fantastic work environment and still, all I could think about was being home in my studio, painting. When the idea of starting my own business got to the point where it dominated every aspect of my daily life, I knew I had to at least try.

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I am a photorealist painter and I work mostly in oils, however, I did just start working with watercolors. The majority of my work is street scenes and store fronts. They are little scenes that I think most of us walk by and never notice because they are so ordinary. I elevate those moments through the time I spend in the studio recreating them, and the traditional painting techniques that have been passed down to me. My goal is to raise that which is mundane to the monumental. I got to where I am today through stubborn determination. I would not say that it was easy but I think what held me back the most was fear. Failure is something I think all artists deal with and are able to move on from because we are always being rejected; by galleries, contests, collectors etc. The biggest fear for me was, “how am I going to pay my bills or buy supplies if this fails?” Ultimately, I was able to save enough money to where I felt like I could financially become a full time studio artist. More importantly, I had the support of my family and friends when fear and doubt tried to overtake my decisions. It is crucial that you have a network of support. You cannot and are not going to be able to do this alone. Recognize those people and be grateful for them. Goal setting is also important. I read something recently and I’ll share it here that had a big impact on me. A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan back by action becomes reality. Ultimately I want people to know that I love being an artist and I hope that comes across in my work.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in Edgewood so most of my haunts are in this area. I love good food and drink so the restaurants would include: Anna’s Barbecue in Kirkwood (get the Turkey Ribs) Steinbeck’s Restaurant Fred’s Meat and Bread (and everything at Krog Street Market basically) Planet Bombay The Marlay House Sushi Avenue Bantum Pub Milltown Arms Tavern We would definitely visit Second Life Upscale Retail in Avondale Estates and Your Dekalb Farmers Market. Definitely a trip to the High Museum and Mason Fine Art and Events. Before Covid, we would be going to see the Atlanta Braves and/or Atlanta United play.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am currently reading Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell and it does a wonderful job of examining the people and events that lead to the success of certain individuals. It has really changed how I view my past and allowed me to recognize those people and moments that had an affect on me. I was born an artist, there is no doubt about it. I don’t have a memory where I wasn’t drawing or painting. My Mother used to bring home blank sheets of paper that was going to be thrown out at her work just for me to draw on. She encouraged me time and again to pursue being an artist. When I left a good job to go to art school, she encouraged it. If I remember correctly she said, “it’s about time”. I was then and am now, so incredibly lucky to have her and her encouragement. I also had the fortune of having that art school right in my backyard of Savannah, GA. I was able to attend SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) with all of the contacts and comforts that are afforded a local. One of the biggest influences though was the class of students I came in with, specifically the painters. They were amazing! Not only were they on their way to becoming fantastic artists but they were honest, open, giving and fun. Our critiques in class were brutal, but they sharpened our skills and made us better artists. All of our studio doors were open and at any moment someone could walk in and just change your life with an opinion or suggestion. I think I learned just as much if not more outside of class than in. Finally my friend Emily Foster, who is also an amazing photographer. Her ideas, encouragement and support has been immeasurable and what she has done for me is too long to list here.

Website: www.cpstevens.com
Instagram: @cpsteven
Twitter: @cpsteven
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Chris-Stevens-Fine-Art-250612198345688

Image Credits
Emily Foster

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