Whatever would make me laugh…I would implement that into my work, I just loved the comedic style…it dives into comedy and almost realism…a lot of Cartoon Network and Adult Swim (on influences).

Chase Gentry

Artist, Artwork of Chase Gentry

Chase Gentry is an Artist, from comical to scary, his influences and style vary from piece to piece. We chat about the creative process, expectations of the viewer, Covid and creativity, and what’s coming up for this local artist.

This podcast is sponsored by Artspire La Crosse.


Amy Gabay 00:00
This podcast is brought to you by Artspire presented by the Pump House Regional Art Center to attract, engage, and connect artists in the community through an Art Fair and Sale on Saturday, June 12. Information is at artspire.thepumphouse.org Chase Gentry is an artist from comical to scary. His influences and style vary from piece to piece. We chat about the creative process, expectations of the viewer, COVID and creativity, and what’s coming up for this local artists. You can find more conversations on our website, lacrosselocal.com. I’m Amy. And I’m Brent. And this is La Crosse Local.

Chase Gentry 00:44
My name is Chase William Gentry. I am I born and raised local. La Crosse, Wisconsin native. I pretty much got into art like early age started as early as I can remember kindergarten and all that stuff. And it kind of stemmed through, like doodling a lot on like homework, tests and all that junk and I would get actually in trouble for it. And it wasn’t until around like high school or so that I started to realize like that there was actually something there. There’s potential. And my art teacher at the time Logan High School, Mr. Beck, he really pushed me to show myself like I could actually go somewhere with this. And that really helped a lot. And I kind of, around like junior high school is when I kind of started selling my work and taking it a little bit more seriously. And kind of just started from there.

Brent Hanifl 01:38
I’ve seen your work online. I just been you know, following on Instagram, I believe I’ve seen it at a few locations around town, when actually went places. It’s everything from you know, comedic, sometimes scary. In some ways, you know, some of the things I see from it, you could say this is completely off. But you know, I see things like Shel Silverstein and that almost Rob Zombie in some ways. And also like, dating my age, MTV’s Liquid Television. I don’t know if you even remember what those shows where. It’s just interesting, kind of weird. Just kind of cool cartoons. What what are some of your influences?

Chase Gentry 02:10
Yeah, definitely cartoons is the biggest one for sure. It’s interesting, you said Rob Zombie too, because definitely, he’s up there with an influence. But the main, the big one, I would say was Adventure Time. It’s like their show on Cartoon Network, Pendleton Ward. I got into that really early on and took a lot of that and ran with it. And basically whatever would make me laugh would kind of implement that into my work. And I just loved like the comedic style. And somewhat, it dives into like comedy and almost realism them a little bit too with some of their like morals and all that stuff. And just kind of did that. And I would also be like Flapjack, lot of Cartoon Network shows and Adult Swim. Tim and Eric is another one. A lot of that stuff I grew up with watching super late at night when I wasn’t supposed to be up. And like I was just drawing while I was watching that. Definitely Adventure Time, though. That’s definitely where, and then also Instagram too. I started Instagram there was, I noticed the way I would draw. I wasn’t alone, you know, I thought I was the only one. I was locked up in this La Crosse like box of what I’d see as artists. And when I jumped on Instagram, I’d see other artists with similar styles. I was like, Oh, wait, I could actually have a future with something, doing something like this. Because for a while people were like, well, it’s good artwork, but I don’t know if I’d ever hang it up in my house and stuff like that. But it wasn’t until I open up and saw like a broader, like a huge like market for it. You know, music festivals and stuff like that.

Brent Hanifl 03:46
How do you go about creating it? You know, you do have some themes that run through it? And then you almost have you know, some sort of architecture sort of components with buildings, but there seems to be reoccurring character themes, like it almost seems as though you know, the storyboard and in some ways, with different stories for each sort of characters. How do you go about creating work?

Chase Gentry 04:06
That’s super interesting that you say that. Because it’s different a lot of the times, so let’s say it’s not a commission, and I’m just sitting down and I’m going to draw something, whether that’s digital or not, it’s almost as simple as putting the pen to the paper, as simple as that sounds. And it’s, I get into this meditative state where I’m not really thinking about anything, and I’m not planning it out as I go. There’s no predetermined path or expectation for the end of the piece, usually. And in simplest form, it’s just doodling. I kind of memorized patterns growing up from doodling stuff that I’ve liked, and I just kind of combined it all together until it either makes me laugh, or I think it looks cool. And then that’s pretty much where it comes from. It’s interesting, too, because everybody sees something different and it’s never something that I intended. And that’s what I love about it, that randomness. But some people can see a story in it, which I’ve never even attended. And I just kind of also go with that like, yeah, yeah, right. You know, it’s different each time. It’s weird.

Brent Hanifl 05:11
You kind of referenced there, what the viewers get out of it. But you also reference like laughter. Do you have any ideas what you expect viewers to get from your work?

Chase Gentry 05:20
Yeah, so a goal of mine. Over the years, I’ve kind of developed like, artist statements and stuff of what I want to people to get from, and it would be like, the importance of the imagination, you know? I want people to see like something different each time they look in it. And hopefully, it unlocks a piece of themselves, a piece of their brain, just something random, that they’ve never seen before. Hopefully, like, lets people think creatively, and a lot of reasons why a lot of my work is black and white to some extent is because I wanted the viewers to decide for themselves, you know, I want people to think for themselves, what the colors are, what it means to them, you know. It’s technically abstract. So it’s all different. But I really want to stress the importance of imagination and thinking for yourself.

Brent Hanifl 06:13
I’m just kind of scrolling through your work. And some of it almost seems like, it’s all great. It’s almost like there’s different artists with each piece, you know, there’s some things that are very intricate to things that are, you know, almost a, not and in no way negative, but saying like this blob, blobby sort of character that’s really kind of looks like it’s painted pretty quickly. How is COVID? Maybe even you reference Instagram? Have you changed your style, or the way you kind of present your work? Now since you know, since COVID, started in terms of, I don’t know, if you’ve had many shows, or has your output increased or?

Chase Gentry 06:43
Well, you know, COVID, obviously had delays for everybody you know, including myself, so, you know, there hasn’t been many art shows, or haven’t been able to, you know, haven’t been able to go to the store to get art supplies as often as I would before COVID. So I kind of switched over to digital at the moment, just because I’m usually, I find myself at home for the most part. So having an iPad right in front of me, because if I don’t have the right supplies, like I have unlimited supplies on the iPad. The style switches a lot, and I try to not box myself in, even before COVID, I would always switch it up. And I try to be consistent with the change of my pieces. And otherwise, I feel like if I stayed in one style, I just get bored. You know, honestly, I want to switch it up for myself, try to see what I can do what I can’t do. I’ll try to dive into realism a little bit and just kind of mix that in with some of my more abstract doodly stuff over all the time just kind of combined all those skills. I’m still in the middle of it of learning, you know, so I’m trying to learn all the mediums that I can. Yeah,

Brent Hanifl 07:54
Talking of mediums, you know, you’re drawing on shoes, to pants, to doors, it definitely even with the work that you’re doing now, and all these different sort of formats, it doesn’t look like you’re messing around. It looks like you know exactly what you’re doing with the process. If that’s intentional. You’re also curator and artists at the Ecclective Cooperative. So can you explain that a little bit and how that program is coming along?

Chase Gentry 08:18
Yeah. So again, the COVID delayed a lot of things, including the Collective. So as of right now, there’s not much information that I should say, because it’s still, we have, I know, we have a meeting coming up here. As of right now, I know that construction is still underway with the gallery space and stuff. But in the meantime, myself, I’m just building up my portfolio just to have enough to show once I get there, and we’re in a group chat together. So we’re kind of discussing like, possible collaborations and in the future, of where we can take that. But unfortunately, you know, COVID really put a hinder on a lot of that stuff. It’s slow and steady, but it’s still on the right path to be in like a full full-end project here.

Brent Hanifl 09:05
So what’s coming up for you in 2021 2022? Are you excited about anything? or?

Chase Gentry 09:11
Yeah, I mean, the gallery is a big, big thing where it kind of, it’s, like I said, slow and steady. So and that’s kind of my main focus. Other than that, like, I just came out with a coloring book. And that was a big, big, big step, cross off the bucket list, you know, and I’m super proud of that. Thanks to Ope publishing, they’re another local company around here. They really helped me a lot. I have like some new stickers, it’s, it’s small stuff like stickers, coming out some new prints and just kind of playing along, playing around with like new ideas, seeing what’s available, signing up for murals, all that stuff. But my main focus, definitely the Collective and trying to build that together.

Brent Hanifl 09:54
So if people want to find out more, maybe pick up that book or just follow along on your journey here. What’s the best avenue for them to go to.

Chase Gentry 10:02
You can check me out at cwgartwork.com. There you’ll find like the coloring book, should be there right there featured product along with like a full gallery and a little tiny blog thing that I like to write every once in a while. Otherwise Instagram, @chasegentry54. And obviously there I post all of my work including the pieces that I don’t really enjoy. I post it all. Then the coloring book you could also find locally in La Crosse, Wisconsin at Pearl Street Books. And River City Gallery too is another place downtown that I have a lot of my work at. You can see some pieces that I’m super excited, that I haven’t really shown to the public, including the big door that I painted on. So that’s on display there so you can check that out.

Amy Gabay 10:52
La Crosse Local Podcast is a production of River Travel Media. Do you have an interview idea you’d like to share with us? message us on Facebook @lacrosselocal. Find out more about us at lacrosselocal.com. And you can subscribe to the La Crosse Local podcast on your favorite podcast app. If you’d like us, rate us five stars. We appreciate it.


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