Fascinated with the perception of light and the role it plays in our experience of the world, Chris Levine is an extraordinary artist who is perhaps best known for his portrait of the Queen.

Beginnings

Born in 1960 in Ontario, Levine studied in London at the Chelsea School of Art and earned a master’s in computer graphics at Central Saint Martins. He originally wanted to be an astronaut, then a drummer in a band and then an architect. He eventually turned to fine art, however, because qualifying as an architect would “take too long”.

Painting with Light

A self-proclaimed ‘light artist’, Chris Levine doesn’t create paintings in the traditional sense; rather, he makes work using a mixture of lighting techniques, photography and digital media. These can range from prints to large scale installations using lasers, natural light and LEDs. The artist has said that his fascination with light began when he saw his first laser beam during a physics lesson at the age of 11, and when he came across a hologram of Dennis Gobor, who invented holography, at the Science Museum in London. His work can also be said to be influenced by masters of light and colour such as Olafur Eliasson and Anish Kapoor as well as visionaries such as Hussein Chalayan, whom he once shared a studio with. Speaking about his work with light, Levine has said, “What I’m trying to do with the light is to connect people at a level where you are not just observing something – you are light.”

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