Work samples

  • Prized Profiles 1: Jalen
    Carbon, Ink, Aerosol, and genuine Gold & White Gold on Paper/ 29in x 21in/ 2021...this portrait serves as an exaltation of my brother, who has been a major source of support and inspiration to me.
  • Hurt and Winded
    Oil and Aerosol on Canvas/ 40in x 30in/ 2018...One of various abstract paintings that are fueled by recollections of my most intense fights while studying martial arts.
  • Pomp and Circumstance
    Oil and Aerosol on Canvas/ Oil and Aerosol on Canvas/ 72in x 48in/ 2020...This is the 3rd in a series of paintings that works to incorporate the spiritual connotations of bugs/insects. With my late grandfather's 1931 graduation photo being the central reference, the painting works to encourage the value of persistence through the pesky obstacles life throws us from time to time.
  • Young Warrior in Repose
    Oil and Aerosol on Canvas/ 40in x 30in/ 2018...This painting of my then 17 year old nephew examines his psyche as he quickly approaches life as an African American man.

About Christopher

Baltimore City

Born in Detroit, Michigan Christopher Batten began his undergraduate education at the Columbus College of Art and Design, and later completed his training at the College for Creative Studies where he earned a BFA in Illustration in 2006. Batten is a 2017 graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art’s LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting MFA program, where he… more

Prized Profiles

Growing older has made me more conscious of my mortality.  Moreover, I've become more aware of the tremendous impact the love of my family and friends has within my life.  All of the Prized Profiles serve as exaltations of the very important people who love, support, and inspire me.  This series is ongoing.

  • Prized Profiles 9: The Artist's Mother

    Carbon, Ink, Aerosol, Colored Pencil, and genuine Gold & White Gold Leaf on Paper/ 29in x 21in/ 2023

  • Prized Profiles 8: Meloney

    Carbon, Ink, Aerosol, Colored Pencil, and genuine Gold & White Gold Leaf on Paper/ 29in x 21in/ 2022

  • Prized Profiles 7: Trae
    Carbon, Ink, Aerosol, and genuine Gold & White Gold Leaf on Paper/ 29in x 21in/ 2021
  • Prized Profiles 6: Murjoni
    Carbon, Ink, Aerosol, and genuine Gold & White Gold Leaf on Paper/ 29in x 21in/ 2021
  • Prized Profiles 5: Liz
    Carbon, Ink, Aerosol, and genuine Gold & White Gold Leaf on Paper/ 25in x 17in/ 2021
  • Prized Profiles 4: Kei
    Graphite, Ink, Aerosol, and genuine Gold & White Gold Leaf on Paper/ 25in x 17in/ 2021
  • Prized Profiles 3: Mya
    Carbon, Ink, Aerosol, and genuine Gold & White Gold Leaf on Paper/ 29in x 21in/ 2021
  • Prized Profiles 2: Aaron
    Carbon, Ink, Aerosol, and genuine Gold & White Gold Leaf on Paper/ 29in x 21in/ 2021
  • Prized Profiles1: Jalen
    Carbon, Ink, Aerosol, and genuine Gold & White Gold Leaf on Paper/ 29in x 21in/ 2021

The Quandary and related works

A series of paintings that examine the awkward and uncomfortable role racism plays in African American life.  Moreover, later paintings offer commentary on notions of hope and resilience.

  • American Gothic
    Oil/Aerosol on Multiple Canvases/ 40in x 136in/ 2023...Inspired by Grant Wood's "American Gothic", this painting chronicles my late great-grandparents who moved from Georgia to Michigan during the Great Migration to create a better life for themselves and their children.
  • Embracing
    Embracing/ Acrylic, Aerosol, Steel-Pigmented Paint, and Rust Accelerant on Canvas/ 40in x 30in/ 2022...this self-portrait chronicles my sentiments as I reached my 40th birthday. I have become more conscious of my mortality and have accepted the fact that I cannot predict what happens from here. It is up to me to adapt to the changes my body and psyche will undergo, as I continue to age.
  • Pomp and Circumstance
    Oil and Aerosol on Canvas/ 72in x 48in/ 2020...This is the 3rd in a series of paintings that works to incorporate the spiritual connotations of bugs/insects. With my late grandfather's 1931 graduation photo being the central reference, the painting works to encourage the value of persistence through the pesky obstacles life throws us from time to time.
  • Renewal Rising
    Oil and Aerosol on Canvas/ 60in x 36in/ 2019...The little girl in the painting, wearing her school uniform, is surrounded by scarab beetles to signify her being a beacon of hope for a brighter future.
  • Young Warrior in Repose
    Oil and Aerosol on Canvas/ 40in x 30in/ 2018...This painting of my 17 year old nephew examines his psyche as he quickly approaches life as an African American man.
  • She Time
    Acrylic and Aerosol on Canvas/ 48in x 36in/ 2019...This painting was inspired by a photo I took of my Mom just before she headed out for a night of socializing.
  • The Quandary
    Oil on Canvas/ 40in x 40in/ 2015...This is the first in a series of paintings that examine the awkward and uncomfortable role racism plays in African American life. I used my niece as a subject to convey how African American children are not even exempt from the unfair treatment that is the result of racism.
  • The Quandary 2
    Oil on Linen/ 48in x 36in/ 2015...This is the second in a series of paintings that examine the awkward and uncomfortable role racism plays in African American life. This piece features my 25 yr old brother. Attempts to understand the reasons behind racial discrimination often become draining and consuming. The qualities of the awkward box begin to seep into my brother, as a way of examining the aforementioned phenomenon.
  • The Quandary 3
    Oil on Canvas/ 48in x 36in/ 2015...This is the third in a series of paintings that examine the awkward and uncomfortable role racism plays in African American life. This painting of my teenage nephew examines the awareness of racism being a fact of African American life that is adopted around the time we enter our teens.

The Gold Rush

Statistics prove that in areas where people are economically deprived, high crime rates persist. Considering that the majority of these areas are populated mostly by African Americans, Latinos, and poor Whites (un-coincidentally), these demographics tend to have the highest propensity toward serving time in prison. Upon the election of President Trump, purchase of stocks in corporations that function in the private prison sector skyrocketed. His promise to implement a national stop- -frisk campaign to curb crime in American inner cities signals likely profits for the private prison industry, as arrests and convictions (whether false or not) are thus likely to increase. Profitability is even more likely as the Trump administration has already dissolved the policies President Obama put in place to phase out the use of private prisons. The spike in purchases of stock brings to mind the California Gold Rush that began in the middle of the 19th century. Major cities will become the mines, with "criminals" being the key to striking it rich.
  • The Gold Rush (Installation view #1)
    This installation features a series of portraits of private prison industry execs (each piece titled, "Thugs") and a supporting ground installation (titled Bullion/Cell) made of plastic gold bar party decorations. The center of the ground installation measured (6ft x 8ft (the average size of a prison cell)) and was the only place where viewers were surrounded by all of the portraits.
  • The Gold Rush (Installation view #2)
    This installation features a series of portraits of private prison industry execs (each piece titled, "Thugs") and a supporting ground installation (titled Bullion/Cell) made of plastic gold bar party decorations. The center of the ground installation measured (6ft x 8ft (the average size of a prison cell)) and was the only place where viewers were surrounded by all of the portraits.
  • Bullion/Cell (detail)
    Plastic Gold Bar Party Decorations
  • Thugs: Corizon (K.W.)
    Acrylic and Aerosol on Canvas/ 20in x 16in/ 2017
  • Thugs: American Bail Coalition (W.T)
    Acrylic and Aerosol on Canvas/ 20in x 16in/ 2017
  • Nugget
    Acrylic, Collage and Aerosol on Canvas/ 18in x 14in/ 2017
  • Thugs: Paytel (V.T)
    Acrylic and Aerosol on Canvas/ 20in x 16in/ 2017
  • The Gold Rush (Installation view #3)
    This installation features a series of portraits of private prison industry execs (each piece titled, "Thugs") and a supporting ground installation (titled Bullion/Cell) made of plastic gold bar party decorations. The center of the ground installation measured (6ft x 8ft (the average size of a prison cell)) and was the only place where viewers were surrounded by all of the portraits.
  • Untitled
    24 Karat Gold on Paper/ 10in x 8in/ 2017
  • Untitled (detail)
    24 Karat Gold on Paper/ 10in x 8in/ 2017

Heated

Violence is an ugly aspect of the human experience, but for the protection of oneself, it is sometimes a necessary evil. The paintings in this series are fueled by memories of  fights I've had during my now, 30 years of study as a martial artist.
  • Speculation
    Acrylic, Aerosol, Steel-Pigmented Paint, and Rust Accelerant on Canvas/ 50in x 40in/ 2022
  • Speculation 2
    Acrylic, Aerosol, Steel-Pigmented Paint, and Rust Accelerant on Canvas/ 50in x 40in/ 2022
  • Shadow Boxing
    Acrylic and Aerosol on Canvas/ 80in x 60in/ 2019...This painting chronicles the fight against oneself that ensues when shadow boxing.
  • Shadow Boxing 2
    Acrylic and Aerosol on Canvas/ 80in x 60in/ 2019...Another painting that chronicles the fight that ensues with oneself when shadow boxing.
  • Head Up
    Oil, Oil Stick, and Aerosol on Canvas/ 40in x 30in/ 2017...One of various abstract paintings that are fueled by recollections of my most intense fights while studying martial arts.
  • Untitled
    Oil, Oil Stick, and Aerosol on Canvas/ 24in x 18in/ 2017...One of various abstract paintings that are fueled by recollections of my most intense fights while studying martial arts.
  • Untitled
    Oil, Oil Stick, and Aerosol on Canvas/ 36in x 24in/ 2017...One of various abstract paintings that are fueled by recollections of my most intense fights while studying martial arts.
  • Hurt and Winded
    Oil and Aerosol on Canvas/ 40in x 30in/ 2017...One of various abstract paintings that are fueled by recollections of my most intense fights while studying martial arts.
  • Heated 2
    Acrylic, Ink, and Aerosol on Paper/ 60in x 48in/ 2016...This is the second painting (fueled by my experiences as a martial artist) that explores (and conveys) the chaos of fighting and violence. With America being so divided, I foresee violence escalating at an alarming rate. Violence is an ugly aspect of the human experience, but for the protection of oneself, it is sometimes a necessary evil. The choice to fight (risking harm to another person) will be one that a lot of us will have to confront if the nation's current climate persist.
  • Heated
    Acrylic, Ink, and Aerosol on Paper/ 48in x 48in/ 2016...This is the first painting (fueled by my experiences as a martial artist) that explores the chaos of fighting and violence. With America being so divided, I foresee violence escalating at an alarming rate. Violence is an ugly aspect of the human experience, but for the protection of oneself, it is sometimes a necessary evil. The choice to fight (risking harm to another person) will be one that a lot of us will have to confront if the nation's current climate persist.

No Play Fighting

I believe that everyone must fight to make an impact on the world in the time they have been allotted on this earth- whether our actions are positive or negative is a matter of choice.  We are all combatants who fight for/against something.  The most critical of these battles is the one that takes place inside us daily when we reflect on how our experiences have affected us throughout our lives.  The works in this series encourage us to ask ourselves this question: what are you fighting for?
  • The Eye of the Tiger 3
    Oil and Aerosol on Canvas/ 60in x 48in/ 2022
  • The Eye of the Tiger 2
    Oil and Aerosol on Canvas/ 48in x 60in/ 2022
  • The Eye of the Tiger
    Oil and aerosol on Canvas/ 60in x 48in/ 2022
  • Mr. Bond
    Oil and Aerosol on Canvas/ 60in x 48in/ 2019...This is a portrait of Mr. Bond, the Dean of Students at Bard High School Early College Baltimore.
  • Frankie (Dr. Gamber)
    Acrylic and Aerosol on Canvas/ 72in x 48in/ 2019...A portrait of Dr. Francesca Gamber who is the Head of School for Bard High School Early College Baltimore.
  • My Circle of Iron
    Oil, Acrylic Gouache, and Aerosol on Canvas/ 72in x 176in/ 2019...This assemblage chronicles my upbringing as a martial artist and the immense role martial arts played in developing self control and discipline. The main subject of the piece is my father, who was/is my instructor.
  • Barber: the Fighting Artist
    Acrylic and Aerosol on Canvas/ 48in x 36in/ 2019...This is a portrait of performance artist and painter, Barber. The piece was inspired by one of his performance pieces entitled "Blemished Cosmology".
  • Adam (Dr. Levin)
    Acrylic and Aerosol on Canvas/ 75in x 48in (2 panels)/ 2019...This is a portrait of Dr. Adam Levin who is a cancer physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
  • Memorial
    Acrylic and Aerosol on Canvas/ 48in x 24in/ 2019...This is a painting of a memorial that was only a couple blocks from where a Baltimore Ceasefire rally I attended was being held.
  • Rallying for Peace
    Acrylic and Aerosol on Canvas/ 72in x 48in/ 2019...This painting was composed from various images taken by me at a Baltimore Ceasefire rally. I was immediately struck by how many children were willfully joining in on the rally.

Odes to Aaron Douglas

As a nod to the African American-Modernist works by artist Aaron Douglas, these pieces investigate the nuances of the human experience that are introduced by factors such as race, class, or gender.  Unlike Douglas' works, the figure is absent from these paintings to connote the various layers of the human psyche that are impacted by the nuances the aforementioned factors introduce to it.
  • #16 (Odes to Aaron Douglas)
    Aerosol on Paper/9.5in x 6.5in/2020
  • #15 (Odes to Aaron Douglas)
    Aerosol on Paper/9.5in x 6.5in/2020
  • #14 (Odes to Aaron Douglas)
    Aerosol on Paper/9.5in x 6.5in/2020
  • #12 (Odes to Aaron Douglas)
    Aerosol on Paper/9.5in x 6.5in/2020
  • #11 (Odes to Aaron Douglas)
    Aerosol on Paper/9.5in x 6.5in/2020
  • #10 (Odes to Aaron Douglas)
    Aerosol on Paper/9.5in x 6.5in/2020
  • #6 (Odes to Aaron Douglas)
    Aerosol on Paper/9.5in x 6.5in/2020
  • #2 (Odes to Aaron Douglas)
    Aerosol on Paper/9.5in x 6.5in/2020