Chris Celusniak

My art reveals a hidden depth of stories within stories that come together to create the whole. These works are eclectic by nature and derive their form from patterns, improbable vintage, and a world of endless color.

I invite the viewer to seek out the intimate spaces within the larger whole, to read the narrative of its inhabitants each with a story to tell. I hope for the viewer to discover the emotional energy that I have endeavored to paint. My goal is to create a window on a feeling that you and I may share.

My story starts in Houston’s east end. My father survived 3 years in a concentration camp and reminded me daily to seize the day. He worked in the oil industry amid a tangle of pipe racks and distillation columns that were not perfectly confusing when the viewer had an idea of what was going on. He would often bring home such items as hydrochloric acid and defunct machinery for me to take apart and learn from. Growing up amid this fascinating, heavily industrialized neighborhood was a tremendous influence upon me. Factories and train terminals were my next door neighbors. As a young boy my mornings began waiting for my bus across the street from a factory that proudly displayed it’s gargantuan well tuned assembly line of machines through four stories of large glass windows. My playground was the banks of the Ship channel where I could witness the awe of the modern industry. Movie houses, such as the Majestic and Metropolitan Theaters, the banks and offices and other ornate relics of a time that no longer existed surrounded me and I could appreciate these architectural expressions that were layered upon layer of intricacies and allegories that both hid and vividly displayed the intent of the architect. Also this was the beginning of the space age and the reverence that was accorded all things machine was a great influence. To say “the future” was not the utterance of two words but the recital of a prayer.

All these influences manifested in an early tendency to be verbose. A science fair project became a mechanical computer that was twenty feet long and almost was housed in it’s own walk in kiosk. A haunted house I did as a fund raiser in junior high became a black-light forest powered by bundles of extension cords and complete with a custom sound track. Then in college I found a way, by chance, to let this energy into my artwork.

In college two events influenced the artist I would become. One was an assignment to draw an object in my home. Of course I had a collection of defunct machines garnered from various sources. I chose a machine but instead of a literal rendition I drew it as a monumental structure that rose up among the clouds. I had found my path, this was the beginning of all drawings that were to come. The second was the habit for the office staff to post gigs that were called in to the school looking for artist on a bulletin board. I camped out at that board to get as many of those that I could. By the time I graduated I had a professional portfolio that assured that I would have the art career I wanted and I had made contacts in the business community that have lasted to this day.

I began my career working for various art studios that were attached to adverting agencies. Then occurred the first of the grand miracles. I purchased a failing studio for almost nothing with a list of teetering clients. Within a month every single client was back on their feet and as vibrant a business as anyone could hope for. Soon my art expertise was honored in “Print Magazine”, and by the AIGA in their “Texas Retrospective” book that was sold at all the major bookstores and premiered at the Crystal Palace. It was fun work and my client list grew to include major companies in food, real estate, down stream oil production, and consumer goods.

I picked up work for a major software development company. The staff and directors were young and hip and gave me extraordinary leeway in developing new and creative solutions to their needs. One of these solutions was a stand alone poster that was used by their sales team and was also sent out to existing clients. The image is of computer represented as a Victorian city where a reaper took information of the DASD logs and sent it through the computer as binary numbers loaded onto trolley cars

I worked to promote an oldies rock and roll concert. I was impressed with the creativity these musicians brought to their craft to keep them relevant and exciting in a changing word. There was always a lesson to be learned from each year’s line up. I am thankful to have been given this opportunity to work with them. All in all it was a humbling experience.