Chris Pearce was born into a psychiatric commune in New York City where many forms of intentional families and innovative child raising strategies were rationalized through theories of interpersonal psychiatry. He was subsequently raised by psychiatrists where he developed an uncanny comfort with analysis.
Chris studied microbiology before shifting his interest to filmmaking. The microscope was traded for the animation camera, and his affinity for looking closely, both literally and metaphorically, underpins most of his work.
Chris’ films deal with concepts of analysis and the reverberations that all systems of thought have beyond their intended affects. He draws inspiration from the strategies of illusion in traditions that deal with manipulations of thought such as magic, language, and cinema. His films are generally concerned with science, poetry, spirituality, hypnotism, illusion, and human relationship as subjects because of their shared near orbits around unanswerable questions.
Chris’ work is equally engaged with both character narrative and abstract form, privileging abstract perception in it’s intrinsic role to the formation of story. Formally, all of Chris’ films can be described as highly designed collages, conceptually, spatially, and temporally. The combination of images, surfaces, textures, and patterns, seamlessly re-appropriated from other sources, creates “material-theaters”, in which only those specific hybridized narratives, illusions, or riddles could be expressed.
Chris’ root formal technique is animation. Becoming obsessed early on with the illusory qualities of cinematic motion, he has worked with almost every form of animation and with almost every tool for making it. Instead of settling on a specific technique in today’s capricious technological age, he chooses to focus on the core illusion of cinema, the intermittent frame series, and he appropriates techniques and representational styles as he does materials, textures, and images.
Chris has developed his own epistemologies based on the animated frame series, and the practice of animating. In many ways these insights guide his art practice, and his life choices. The root principles underlaying his animations have names like “Selective Continuity”, “Metamorphosis”, “Annihilation”, and “Play”, and they help Chris negotiate choices like, “when to make breakfast”, and “when to daydream”. Chris doesn’t really have a plan for when cinema technology transcends the still-image-series and becomes a continuous-motion-art-form like dance, or kinetic sculpture. The empty space between the frames is his most basic tool. So, he’ll probably be left behind at that point, and simply return to making flipbooks and zoetropes.
Chris got his BFA in Film Production from The University of Colorado and his MFA in Electronic Inter-Media from The University of Florida. Chris’ work recently screened at the Maine International Film Festival, the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, and the First Person Cinema series at CU Boulder’s Experimental Film program. He attended a residency at the Yaddo artist retreat in 2015 where he was able to complete an animated film that took him 10 years to make and utilizes no fewer than six different animation techniques ranging from stop-motion animation shot on 16mm film to 3D modeled CGI.
Chris is currently working on multiple projects simultaneously including: an episodic narrative about coming of age as a thief in Denver; an experimental attempt to revive the ghosts residing in the earliest 3D photography; and, an abstract dance-fight film called “Cartesian Karate” made entirely from garage and wood shop scraps. Chris teaches in the Film Studies Department at the University of Colorado.