Chad M. Lawson


And really, at the end of the day, I just want to make pretty shit.”

Chad M. Lawson has been making art for over 25 years. As a graffiti artist, musician, dancer, writer and studio artist he explores creativity in many forms from his studio in St. Louis City. He has degrees in art from the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, Saint Louis University and San Francisco State University. 

Influenced by the sights, sounds and history of the city, Chad is inspired by stories that buildings and objects tell just by being. In an intangible or fluid way, Identity is a thread that runs through all of Chad’s work. His painting is an expression of who he is in a moment in time. 

Salvaged wooden doors are among his favorite mediums. The life that’s walked through and worn down the doors he uses lend a narrative element and an artistic challenged to his work. The wood is the foundation of the story, and the paint is his expression. 

Chad’s work represents brief moments, moods, and inspirations. As such his style, color palate, and mediums vary. His paintings are textured, layered and imperfect. Some carry movement, while others are frenetic. He incorporates hard lines, imperfections of wood and gestural abstraction. Most importantly, his work is a practice of exploring and creating beauty. There’s no underlying myth of the human condition. At the end of the day, he’s making shit that looks pretty. 


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.


Commission Work

An original piece of art is as unique as it is inspirational. Let me know what you desire and I will make a custom painting for any space. I only take a limited number of commissioned projects per year. We should talk.