About Chris

Photo of Chris Down. A mostly-monochrome photo of a man with a dark beard looking towards the viewer.

Chris is self-taught and his work first publicly appeared adorning motorbikes, which led to his art appearing in two motorcycle magazines. Riding motorbikes and going to the Stonehenge Free Festivals were key to Chris’s early artistic influences. Apart from his university years, Chris has lived all his life in the same rural valley which lies four miles south of Stonehenge. The ancient landscape was bound to have an effect on him and his work.

After receiving his first commission to illustrate a book in 1994, Chris has produced more than a thousand images in over 60 books. Initially he specialised in producing Celtic art, then in 2005 his focus became painting figurative fantasy art. The two strands of Celtic art and figurative painting came together in his work for the Celtic Tarot which was published in 2017. Taking close to three years to produce the art for, the Celtic Tarot has been Chris’s largest project to date.

Chris’s degree was not one of an artistic nature but in Electronic Engineering, which in part led him to being an early adaptor to digital art as a means of expression. This he combined with much more traditional steel dip pens and technical ink pens for most of the book illustrations. Prior to becoming a freelance illustrator, Chris had spent several years as an architectural technician, surveying and producing working drawings of interesting, ageing buildings across the country. This gave him the technical skills which he put to good use in creating Celtic art.

The process of creating is what drives Chris forward. He does not stick to a particular style or method, from dip pen to digital, as far as he is concerned, it is all there to be worked with. Photography is a key part of his painted work, providing reference images for the paintings, though photography in its own right is also one of Chris’s creative passions. It is not all visual either, as Chris has also worked on recorded music. He finds his personal creative process for this is similar as for visual art. His meticulous approach and sense for detail can be seen in his paintings and drawings on these web pages.

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