Baphomet and Blasphemy: The Art of Chris P. Andres
Gnarled goat horns and tangled tentacles flourish in the deity-like sculptural works of Chris P. Andres. Creatures large and small are featured as faux taxidermy, stand-alone sculptures, ornaments, and even masks, all painstakingly crafted by hand. Inspired by myths, Lovecraftian horror, and a twist of Clive Barker, Chris’ artwork gives birth to his own dark gods and idols.
Born of a Mexican mother and Greek father, Chris’ passion for myth was cultivated from an early age. Books like D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark shaped his early aesthetic as equally as 80s girl toy lines. He loved mermaids and She-Ra as much as monsters and Cenobites, but due to Evangelical shame from his family about his queer aesthetics, he focused his artistic tastes on the dark and fantastic.
While Chris initially set art aside to study music in college, his observant bassoon coach recognized that Chris wasn’t serving his true calling and suggested he take some art classes, and he took her advice and ran with it, never looking back. Coming out allowed his creativity to blossom; rather than mutilate his humanity to conform to religion, he turned to art, beginning with photography and then sculpture. Following the well-worn path of gay-gothy angst, Chris shifted his Pentecostal Christianity studies into Gnostic and esoteric realms, then ultimately into Satanically-fueled atheism. Eventually, Chris earned his MFA at The University of Notre Dame, where he challenged the status quo due to his artwork’s blasphemous subject matter.
Drawing images of gods and monsters from various myths and weaving flowing mermaid tails from knotted plastic bags were a major point in Chris’ childhood, but even today, one can see these deep-rooted influences amidst the Baphomet and faun sculptures. Many of the characters within his work are wearing masks or someone else’s face, likely inspired by his love of Clive Barker’s films.
“When I make a mermaid, Cthulhu head, or Baphomet, I have made an idol – a ritual object for the fetish of fantasy, whether they are nostalgia-driven Halloween kitsch or ironically solid altar statues, it’s all motivated by the same spirit.” via CVLTNation
While Chris’ personal artwork keeps him busy, he designed a sculpture for the Satanic Temple War Memorial in Belle Plaine Veterans Memorial Park in Minnesota. Chris describes the memorial as “A sort of somber Kabaa stone with a soldier’s helmet as a chalice – The stark rectangle recalls the work of sculptor Tony Smith (Die, 1962) – a block being an […] allusion to the cube of perfection of a master mason as a symbol of humanistic perfection through curiosity and reason.”
Featured image via Chris’ Etsy.