A Year in the Neighborhood

Artist Terry Chatkupt’s new work explores his surroundings through the eyes of a child, and under the shroud of a pandemic
By EDDIE RIVERA, EDITOR, WEEKENDR MAGAZINE
Published on Jan 30, 2024

When the COVID pandemic struck,  many artists used the occasion to explore previously undiscovered aspects of their work, or else dove more deeply into them. 

Artist Terry Chatkupt, a professor of art at Irvine Valley College, specializing in Digital Media and Drawing, took to the wilds of the nearby San Gabriel Mountains as a backdrop and muse for his work.

His new installation, “Terry Chatkupt: A Year” at the Armory Center for the Arts, investigates the “complex relationships between natural and built environments, outdoors and indoors, and the emotional effects of navigating between these dualities from the point of view of Chatkupt and his young children,” according to the official announcement. 

Essentially, like so many artists before him, he took to the woods to find new inspirations and capture the everyday with video, photography, and atmospheric music, centering around nature, and the “complicated, caring, and often magical relationships between parent and child, focusing on the complexities of life during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.”

As he  explained at his recent opening, “This project encompasses three major projects that span from right before the pandemic all the way through the pandemic and then after lockdown. So it kind of covers a lot in terms of emotion and landscape and portraiture that deals with processing those emotions.”

“It all started with just wanting to explore my neighborhood in Northeast Pasadena,” he continued. “So just all the natural elements, but through the lens of my kids experiencing it all with them.”

Using his 8 year-old son as subject and muse, Chatkupt said, “It’s hard to know exactly what he knew, and what was the end result. In fact, I didn’t know what the end result was, or could be. 

I think it was just about just not taking anything for granted, especially family and my immediate environment at home. 

“So there was a lot of staying in the home,” said Chatkupt. “but also just kind of exploring outside of it in the immediate area. So that’s kind of part of it as well. So there was a lot of staying in the home, but also just kind of exploring outside of it in the immediate area. So that’s kind of part of it as well.” 

“Terry Chatkupt: A Year” runs through Sunday, Mar 31, 2024. Fridays 2-6 p.m., Saturdays & Sundays 1-5 p.m. Armory Center for the Arts Caldwell Gallery, 145 North Raymond Avenue. Pasadena, CA. Free.

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