Chad M. Lawson is an artist living and working in St. Louis. He grew up across the river and has
been practicing art for 25 years, first as a graffiti artist, then as a rapper, break-dancer, writer, and
studio artist. He has three degrees in art from the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, Saint Louis University,
and San Francisco State University.
I am inspired by urban life, by the sights and sounds of the city, by the history and structure of
the many old buildings where I live, by the stories that buildings or objects can tell just by their
appearance. Identity is an important element in my work. Identity can be intangible and fluid,
and painting is an expression of who I am that day: Am I red with lots of texture and layers? Or
am I golds, shot through with lines of color?
I paint on found and salvaged wooden doors, which lends both a narrative element to my work –
Who owned this door? What is the story behind it? – and an artistic challenge of painting on a
hard wood surface. Both of those elements – the history and the material – factor into how I
paint. The wood is the foundation, the beginning of the narrative, and the paint is the expression.
My paintings are textured, layered, imperfect, and gestural. Some have a lot of movement, some
are frenetic, some are graceful. I love to riff off hard lines, to riff off the wood underneath, to riff
off mistakes or imperfections, which become part of the painting. It’s all part of my identity as
an artist and the identity of the painting. But my work is not precious. I don’t paint so that people
will understand something about the human condition. I am simply exploring and creating, with
the end result of creating something beautiful.
And really, at the end of the day, I just want to make pretty shit.