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Third Eye Open

Chris Dyer's visionary art as mantra

By Jason Santerre

As a kid, I wanted to be a diplomat and change the world," says Chris Dyer, his mass of long dreadlocks pulled back to reveal a handsome, angular face that looks younger than its 39 years. "But I was always the best in art class, so I decided to follow that path and change the world through art. All I knew for sure was that I didn't want to be a cog in the machine. I am an artist, an ambassador for my community."

For the Peruvian-Canadian, that community is Montreal, and his many murals are easy to spot: Vibrant, detailed pieces of inter-dimensional psychedelic art. Colours pop off the drabness of bricks and mortar. And his themes run from the existential to the extrasensory.

Chalk it all up to his spirituality, a love of martial arts, and his South American roots.

"My family lives in Peru, but my mom's Canadian, so when I was 17, I came to Canada," says Mr. Dyer. "It was Ottawa for art school, but that got boring fast. I moved to Montreal. The city is cheap, artsy, and cool — perfect for the artist's life."

He says he tries to avoid the snobbery of the art world's tastemakers. "The quality of art in Montreal is high but without the ego," he says. "They're talented but broke, so they're humble." He says the mix of cultures and the blend of French and English inspires him. "We have to learn to like each other. So much of the world seems less tolerant of anything weird or different. Montreal proves it can be done."

And when he's not in Montreal, Mr. Dyer is on the road attending exhibitions, shamanistic retreats, and music festivals where he sets up booths showcasing his clothing line and merchandise.

He also offers workshops to aspiring artists, most of whom are quite young. His best advice to anyone thinking about expressing themselves is to banish fear. “If you feel an urge to create, create. Whether it’s good or bad, don’t worry. Get it out. Communicate. If you sell some pieces, great, but that should never be the end goal.”

When inspiration wanes, he suggests packing a bag and booking a ticket to anywhere. "Travel inspires me. To experience other cultures and soak up the music, food, and art, it's huge."

And with so many air miles accumulated throughout the year, Mr. Dyer says he knew he had to start taking better care of himself. "I'm almost 40. I work out and eat right. I'm not vain, but you need to feel and look good. It's important for confidence."

That confidence propels his practicing of Tai Chi, Kung Fu, and skateboarding. The latter is a lifelong obsession. "If you want to improve, you have to go through pain, and for me, skateboarding symbolizes that, and that helps fuel my art and remind me why I do what I do. Without art I wouldn't want to live. It's my meditation, my communication, my activism, and my career. Whatever I do, it flows through my art."

To learn more about the artist and his work, visit positivecreations.ca.

 

Fall 2018, Vol 10 N°4

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Fall 2018
Vol 10 N°4

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