Why Chris Pyrate describes his designs as tranquil and energetic

The designer and muralist shares why art is not complete without the people observing it

Chris Pyrate is a designer and muralist who is best known for his vibrant floral pieces for both clothing and structures. The artist has collaborated with a number of companies including Nike, Adidas, MCM, and the NBA Washington Mavericks through his Chris Pyrate & Friends brand.

Pyrate shares his design style and how he wants people to experience it.

What was the call that changed your career?

My story is pretty unique in this situation because I got the call before the call. I’m not only just a designer, but I’m also a muralist. I was called about two years ago, maybe almost three to do a large-scale mural around the southeast area of D.C. where I was born.

To be able to come pain, the longest mural in the city [and] in this area, that used to be forsaken. I didn’t really know what the next plans were but I was just happy to come do my job. I didn’t find out about the project that was taking place until after I finished the mural. Then I was asked, “Hey, would you like to be a part of a larger project?” I figured it was something [big] because why would we be doing this mural in an empty lot? I got that second call and I was like, “I definitely have to be a part of this.”

What would you say your design style is?

I’m known for these very, loud energetic murals that are vibrant, and a lot of times they have pastel florals. Sometimes, they’re more character-based, but mostly known for the floral pattern, or the koi fish. I have art shows but not everybody can purchase something like that. I created the brand Chris Pyrate & Friends to include the average person who may love my work but doesn’t collect $1,000 paintings. I put just as much effort in, and I touch back to that old D.C. style of using heavy embroidery, things that make you feel textile, and make you feel like you’re wearing art. You may enjoy artwork, but you may not collect it. Instead, you can just collect my jackets, my pants, and things like that. I call it Chris Pyrate & Friends because it’s always a collaboration for me. Art is not done until it’s witnessed by the observer.

What do you want people to take away from your art?

I will say kinetic energy and people say tranquility. Depending on what neighborhood I’m in. I’ve done stuff in the Bronx and these places where I’ve heard this in multiple different languages that it brings tranquility, but at the same time, you don’t usually have high energy and tranquility at the same time. … I’ve found a color palette that suits your eyes and slows your mind down. Even though there’s a lot of line work and all that is balanced with the color palette that calms you down.

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