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Work Samples

Heated

Acrylic, Ink, and Aerosol on Paper/ 48"x48"/ 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.

Young Warrior in Repose

Contemporary painting, Portraiture, Contemporary art
Oil and Aerosol on Canvas/ 40" x 30"/ 2018...This painting of my 17 year old nephew examines his psyche as he quickly approaches life as an African American man.

Untitled

Contemporary painting, Abstract art, Contemporary art
Oil, Oil Stick, and Aerosol on Canvas/ 40" x 30"/ 2017...One of various abstract paintings that are fueled by recollections of my most intense fights while studying martial arts.

The Quandary 2

Oil on Linen/ 48"x36"/ 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.

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About Christopher

Baltimore City - Highlandtown A&E District

Christopher Batten's picture
     Born in Detroit, Christopher Batten began his undergraduate training at the Columbus College of Art and Design, and later completed his training at Detroit's College for Creative Studies where he earned a BFA in Illustration in 2006.  Christopher is a 2017 graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art's LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting MFA program, where he received a Hoffberger Merit Scholarship, the Dr. Leslie King Hammond Graduate Award, and two AIGA Worldstudio... more

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?

  • 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.
  • Torch Bearer

    Oil and Aerosol on Canvas/ 30in x 24in/ 2019
    This painting was interpreted from a drawing by one of my high school students.
  • Torch Bearer 2

    Oil and Aerosol on Canvas/ 30in x 24in/ 2019
    Another painting interpreted from a drawing by one of my high school students.
  • 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.

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)

    Contemporary painting, Contemporary art
    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)

    Contemporary painting, Contemporary art
    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)

    Installation
    Plastic Gold Bar Party Decorations
  • Thugs: Corizon (K.W.)

    Contemporary painting, Portraiture, Contemporary art
    Acrylic and Aerosol on Canvas/ 20in x 16in/ 2017
  • Thugs: American Bail Coalition (W.T)

    Contemporary painting, Portraiture, Contemporary art
    Acrylic and Aerosol on Canvas/ 20in x 16in/ 2017
  • Nugget

    Contemporary painting, Contemporary art
    Acrylic, Collage and Aerosol on Canvas/ 18in x 14in/ 2017
  • Thugs: Paytel (V.T)

    Contemporary painting, Portraiture, Contemporary art
    Acrylic and Aerosol on Canvas/ 20in x 16in/ 2017
  • The Gold Rush (Installation view #3)

    Contemporary painting, Portraiture, Contemporary art
    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

    Contemporary drawing, contemporary art, metalpoint drawing
    24 Karat Gold on Paper/ 10in x 8in/ 2017
  • Untitled (detail)

    Contemporary drawing, contemporary art, metalpoint drawing
    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 26 years of study as a martial artist.

  • Heated

    Contemporary painting, Abstract art, Contemporary art
    Acrylic, Ink, and Aerosol on Paper/ 48"x48"/ 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.
  • Heated 2

    Contemporary painting, Abstract art, Contemporary art
    Acrylic, Ink, and Aerosol on Paper/ 60"x48"/ 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 3

    Contemporary painting, Abstract art, Contemporary art
    Acrylic, Ink, and Aerosol on Paper/ 60"x48"/ 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.
  • Untitled

    Contemporary painting, Abstract art, Contemporary art
    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.
  • Untitled

    Contemporary painting, Abstract art, Contemporary art
    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.
  • Untitled

    Contemporary painting, Abstract art, Contemporary art
    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

    Contemporary painting, Abstract art, Contemporary art
    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

    Contemporary painting, Abstract art, Contemporary art
    Acrylic and Aerosol on Canvas/ 84in x 60in/ 2018...One of various abstract paintings that are fueled by recollections of my most intense fights while studying martial arts.
  • 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.

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.

  • The Quandary

    Contemporary painting, Portraiture, Contemporary art
    Oil on Canvas/ 40"x40"/ 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

    Contemporary painting, Portraiture, Contemporary art
    Oil on Linen/ 48"x36"/ 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

    Contemporary painting, Portraiture, Contemporary art
    Oil on Canvas/ 48"x36"/ 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.
  • Correspondence

    Oil and Aerosol on Canvas/ 72in x 60in/ 2018
    Oil and Aerosol on Canvas/ 72in x 60in/ 2018...This painting chronicles the environmental factors that can break/reinforce relationships.
  • Young Warrior in Repose

    Contemporary painting, Portraiture, Contemporary art
    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.
  • Renewal Rising

    Oil and Aerosol on Canvas/ 60in x 36in/ 2019
    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.
  • 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.

Addressing Profiling

These paintings address profiling and the negative affects of having those types of experiences.

  • Stop and Question: Middle Eastern Male

    Contemporary painting, Portraiture, Contemporary art
    Oil on Canvas/ 54"x36"/ 2016...this painting of my Iranian classmate was my response to Middle Eastern men and women now being under suspicion of criminality, relative to the rhetoric spewed by President Trump during his campaign.
  • The Description

    Contemporary painting, Portraiture, Contemporary art
    Oil on Canvas/ 18"x14"/ 2016...This portrait of my brother (who is college educated and has no criminal record) was my portrayal of what some police officers may imagine "the description" to be. Every time I've been stopped and frisked, "fitting the description" has always been their reasoning for the the stop. The glossy passages of paint work to draw attention to the sitter's eyes.
  • ...Than To Repair...

    Contemporary painting, Portraiture, Contemporary art
    Oil on Canvas/ 56"x 38"/ 2016...This painting was inspired by a quoute attributed to Frederick Douglass ("It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men"). This painting was my response to the struggles I sometimes have navigating life as an African American male due to the environmental factors of my past (i.e. economic deprivation and being stereotyped).

Urban Resilience Portraits

  • Valuables: Aaron

    Contemporary drawing, contemporary art, metalpoint drawing
    24 kt Gold and Sterling Silver on Sanded Pastel Paper/ 31 in x 27in/ 2018 This drawing serves as the beginning of a series of drawings that notes the tremendous value my family and close friends hold in my heart.
  • Aaron: Valuables (detail)

    Contemporary drawing, contemporary art, metalpoint drawing
    24 kt Gold and Sterling Silver on Sanded Pastel Paper/ 31 in x 27in/ 2018 This drawing serves as the beginning of a series of drawings that notes the tremendous value my family and close friends hold in my heart.
  • Iron and Silk

    Contemporary drawing, Portraiture, Contemporary art
    Charcoal, Ink, White Gold, and Silver Leaf on Paper/ 30"x 22"/ 2014...This drawing of a fellow artist (who is a metalsmith) works to convey the spiritual concept of duality. By juxtaposing her very soft, feminine appearance with an impression of her geometric metal assemblages, I want to convey a sense of the masculine and feminine forces that exist in us all.
  • Jalen: A Concrete Alchemist

    Contemporary painting, Portraiture, Contemporary art
    Acrylic and Collage on Canvas/ 40"x 30"/ 2014...This narrative portrait is of my little brother and is meant to connote the resilience he's acquired (in terms of the pursuit of his goals) relative to being raised in Detroit's urban environment.
  • Jasmine: A Rose From Concrete

    Contemporary painting, Abstract art, Contemporary art
    Acrylic and Collage on Canvas/ 60"x 36"/2013...A narrative painting of a friend aimed at conveying the positive impact growing up in Detroit had on her. This city that is constantly portrayed in a negative light by the media produced a brilliant rose.