@krisrix is working hard on Convection!

So I’ve been wanting for a long time to actually start doing projects for The Art Assignment, which is a PBS Digital Studios video series hosted by Sarah Urist Green that talks about art and artists, and proposes assignments for viewers to complete. I’ve loved the series since day one, and I love how it’s made me redefine and rediscover what “art” actually is (to me, it means anything that makes you take a step back and look at yourself and how you interact with your world rather than just being carried along for the ride). 

Anyway, one of the most appealing Art Assignments for me has always been #15, from back in September 2014. In this assignment, landscape photographer Tanja Hollander asks us to take a formal portrait photograph of a friend, in a space proper to them, and also reflect about what a friend really is. So. 

I took this picture yesterday of a @krisrix in its natural habitat. Kris is a comics artist and illustrator who makes up half of @ateliermuse, the graphics team behind the design and animations of The Ling Space, the YouTube educational channel about linguistics that I direct and co-write for. I chose this particular picture for the Art Assignment because Kris is one of the hardest-working people I know, frequently chained to the Cintiq on deadlines for comics or commissions. When I think of Kris, I think of this, the underglow from the screen washing across features set in concentration. But here, Kris has moved from the workroom into the living room to hang out with me while I’m over trying to blitz through NaNoWriMo. We don’t really need to talk, because we both have work to do, but being together builds us a happier space than being alone.

And I think this is one of the things that defines friendship, for me: just being there for each other, sharing a space – physical or digital – where you can support and encourage one another, where you can be comfortable together. I’ve been honored to call Kris my friend for almost a decade, and I’m happy to have this portrait be my first contribution to The Art Assignment. 

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