Colin Chillag’s work is rooted in a deep respect for traditional portraiture and American landscape painting, American history, and the history of painting.
His paintings can best be described as post-hyperrealism in their ability to portray ordinary scenes in a realistic way while also revealing his process and the structure of how they’re made.
The subjects of Colin’s portraits are taken from amateur photos from the 1970s and 80s. He is particularly interested in painting portraits based on photos he finds that exemplify for him what philosopher Roland Barthes called “punctum,” which denotes the details in a photo that trigger a memory and establish a personal relationship with the person within it.
“It seems I work intuitively, and later the ideas arise and they create the context as I go along,” explains Chillag. “The ability to find absolute beauty and fascination in the everyday experience … for me, that’s at the heart of realism.”
Chillag cites documentary films, as well as the work of Lucien Freud, Chaim Soutine, and Alice Neel among his influences.
His work has been exhibited throughout the United States, and he was the recipient of the Mid-Career Artist Award from the Phoenix Art Museum. Chillag’s works are in the permanent collections of Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Arizona State University Art Museum, Treg Bradley Collection in Scottsdale, and the Zabludowicz Collection in London. He has been featured in a variety of publications including Juxtapoz, High Fructose, Modern Painter, Art in America, and the Los Angeles Times.
Colin Chillag lives and works in Phoenix, Arizona.
Listen to our interview with Colin Chillag on The Secret Podcast.