The DART/ICON9 Q&A: Christopher Darling

By Peggy Roalf   Monday April 25, 2016

Editor’s note: With ICON9 The Illustration Conference on the horizon—a weekend of art, discussion, performance, and plenty of talk in Austin, TX—the new roster for the Q&A is peopled with many of the exceptional artists making presentations during this biannual artfest. Reminder: if you were thinking of submitting work for the animation / motion graphics screening, the deadline is tonight at midnight!

Q: Originally from Chicago, what are some of your favorite things about living and working in Cleveland?

A: I like living in Cleveland because it is still sort of barren/raw and there are many opportunities for artists. I think of Cleveland now like a smaller version of New York City in the 90’s. 

Q: Do you keep a sketchbook? What is the balance between art you create on paper [or other analog medium] versus in the computer?

A: I go through phases of using sketchbooks–I have a sketchbook for life-drawing sessions and a sketchbook for travel etc. I tend to use much original drawing with technology.

Q: What is the most important item in your studio?

A: My dog Chester or my 1950’s Parker 51 Special. 

Q: How do you know when the art is finished?

A: When I’m sick of it, or it is getting worse.

Q: What was your favorite book as a child?

A: The Mouse and the Motorcycle [By Beverly Cleary]. 

Q: What is the best book you’ve recently read?

A: Marjane Satrapi’s Embroderies

Q: If you had to choose one medium to work in for an entire year, eliminating all others, what medium would you choose?

A: These days, oil I suppose–I’m ready for a change…

Q: What elements of daily life exert the most influence on your work practice?

A: People in my neighborhood, restaurants, concerts and movies. 

Q: What was the [Thunderbolt] painting or drawing or film or otherwise that most affected your approach to art? 

A: Lately Heri Rousseau’s Fight Between a Tiger and a Buffalo has really got a hold on me. 

Q: Who was the [Thunderbolt] teacher or mentor or visiting artist who most influenced you early in your training or career?

A: An artist name John Kollig–who has an incredible sense of color and story– he mentored me at an early age.

Q: What would be your last supper?

A: Some sort of seafood stew.


Christopher Darling received an MFA in Illustration as Visual Essay and a Paula Rhodes Award for Exceptional Achievement in Visual Essay from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. In 2010, he co-founded Carrier Pigeon magazine, a publication of illustrated fiction and fine art.
Darling has freelanced as an illustrator for over ten years. Some of his clients are: The New York Museum of Natural History, Sony Music Entertainment, The United Nations Refugee Agency and Citigroup. His artwork has appeared in publications such as Wallpaper Magazine, Frieze Magazine, Juxtapoz Magazine and he has been recognized by the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, Creative Quarterly, The Pixie Awards and the Association of Illustrators. His paintings, and illustrations, have been exhibited internationally. Darling taught illustration & design at Queens College (NYC) and is currently on faculty at Kent State University in the School of Visual Communication Design.

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