Artist Chase Langford: Cartography embedded in his paintings.

Camps Bay, by Chase Langford 24 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

I’ve had the privilege of witnessing the artistic and professional evolution of artist Chase Langford across the last 20+ years. In fact, my first original art purchase was of three of his paintings in 1990. They still are displayed proudly in my home, alongside a number of Chase’s paintings I’ve acquired over the years. But, you always remember your first, right?

Like many an artist, Chase’s career has evolved over the years, as has his art. Still, the essence of who he is, and what he is passionate about has always been embedded in everything that he paints. His artistic sensibility is rooted in cartography, which is the study and making of maps.  His paintings are described simply as abstract, but the geographic foundation gives one an immediate bond to the familiar, rather than the cold and detached.

Chase’s fascination with geography started at an early age, beginning with the study of those 1970’s accordion roadmaps tucked away in the family Ford Country Squire station wagon’s glove box. This led to a map and atlas collection totaling well over a thousand, and a beginning fascination with cartography.

Leaving his childhood home in the Midwest, Chase moved west to study cartography at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an eventual career creating maps for faculty at UCLA. 

So, it is no surprise that as Chase developed his talent as a fine art painter, his lifetime association with maps would seep into his work. In the 1980’s Chase began creating map paintings. With incredible accuracy and attention to detail, Chase found art in the definitions of counties, cities, states and countries. Their purpose was not to explain the geography of a place but rather to use the essence geographic forms to re-express them in an entirely new way. 

Over time, his work became more contemporary and more abstract, and Chase’s creative freedom exploded. 

Embracing an understanding that it is better to embrace, rather deny one’s DNA, Chase’s paintings echo their geographic foundation. While still being true to his essence, his more recent work represents a significant shift from the two-dimensional map view to an abstract composition that implies a three dimensional space.

“Imagine the effect of spending much of a lifetime intimately tracing coasts, rivers, highways and more.  Inevitably the visual rhythms of geography largely created my visual sensibility, that is, my sense of what works or does not work visually.  I would dare say it has even seeped into my DNA.”

Whether it is translating the essence of the sand patterns made by the waves on Baker Beach in Northern California, or the dusty Kalahari as seen from a plane in southern Africa, Chase’s paintings are inspired by the earth. His series Coldwater and Mulholland both examine the winding roads of the Westside of Los Angeles, while his Morphic series is influenced by various landscape views, including the view from his ridge top studio above Beverly Hills. 

Professionally, Chase has eschewed some of the traditional routes taken by other artists. He’s chosen to have multiple dealers and galleries rather than an exclusive arrangement with one gallery.  He enjoys working with art professionals but also revels in direct interaction with art buyers.  “I love to show my work, there’s an added intensity when looking at my work while others are looking at it too, I see it in a different way, I often have a revelation while showing my work,” Chase comments. And, long before the world of the Internet, Chase was using social networking to spread the word among the artist, critic and collecting community.  Chase hosts highly successful and well attended art shows at his ridge top studio and stunning mid-century modern home to exhibitions that have become some of the hottest tickets in Los Angeles (his next studio show is scheduled in October 2012).

By being grounded to who he is, artist Chase Langford has become an extremely successful, well-known, and well-respected artist. His work is now in private and corporate collections across the globe, and he is in demand for solo and group exhibitions from Los Angeles to New York City.

Amagansett, by Chase Langford 38 x 70 inches, oil on canvas

Emerald Bay by Chase Langford 24 x 48 inches, oil on canvas

Mesa, by Chase Langford 36 x 84 inches, oil on canvas

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