Meet Chris Neuenschwander: Art through caricature

Photo by Tim Goldman

By Kathleen Walker

When art student Chris Neuenschwander entered Kennesaw State, he was already an accomplished artist. At the age of 16, he found a summer job drawing caricatures at Sea World in Orlando. Even though he had been drawing for as long as he can remember, he had not done caricatures before. “It was a lot of fun,” Chris says. “When I moved to Georgia, I started doing them at Six Flags and now I’m kind of drawing my way through school.”

His experience with getting paid for his drawings has not lessened his desire to become a better artist. Instead, Chris enjoys having the opportunity to work in different mediums and learn from experienced professors. “They teach the basic stuff that you’ll use and I like that,” he says. “I want to be able to create highly realistic art so I listen to the professors to learn how to do it right and because I want their input on my work.”

Assistant Professor of Art Katherine Taylor feels that Chris is on the right path. “He entered college at a mature level and was able to hit the ground running, but Chris is also open to learning new skills,” Taylor says. “He’s a good student who is always present and ready to learn.”

In early 2008, Taylor encouraged Chris to enter two pieces in the college juried exhibition at The Art Place in Marietta. One of the pieces, a self portrait done in micron pen for the 2-D design course, won the juror’s choice award. “I was surprised,” Chris says. “I didn’t know if it was good enough, but it won.” Taylor was not as surprised. “There’s a cleverness to his work,” she says. “A sort of quiet wit you can see in his best work.”

Even with his early success, Chris continues to keep his eyes on the future. After earning his degree, he hopes to find work as an illustrator. “I like drawing,” he says. “Not necessarily drawing straight out of my head, but creating a different world.” Taylor feels Chris has great potential as an illustrator. “He’s perfectly suited for that profession since he’s already achieved some status as an illustrator with his work in caricatures outside of KSU.”

Although his experience as a caricaturist has already allowed Chris to work as an artist, he is glad to have the opportunity to learn more about his chosen profession as a student at KSU.  “I want to learn the traditional aspects of drawing and painting,” Chris says. “You definitely have to learn the rules before you start breaking them. . .and I think I’m getting to where I can start breaking them.”


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