What does abstract sensualism look like? | ParkRecord.com

What does abstract sensualism look like?

Alisha Self, Of the Record staff

Chris DeRubeis has a few secrets when it comes to making art. "I use my own scientific makeup," he says. "I try not to be too specific about it because everyone tries to pick my brain and figure out what I’m doing so they can do the same thing."

Fortunately his clandestine formulas don’t prevent him from publicly demonstrating his process. DeRubeis will create one of his signature pieces at Stanfield Gallery on Main Street today, Aug. 7, from 7 to 10 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

DeRubeis is a Los Angeles-based artist who uses paintbrushes, airbrushes and power tools to create images on pieces on metal. He calls his unique art form "abstract sensualism," which describes the soft, dreamlike qualities of his work.

"My work is so different from most other work out there that there really is no name for it," he explains. His collections feature landscapes, female figures, wine and spirits, and abstract designs.

DeRubeis picked up his first airbrush, a gift from his grandfather, at age 13. "Little did I know that it would be the tool I would be using for the rest of my life," he says. "If my grandfather had told me that, I would’ve said, ‘You’re crazy.’"

He started working in a shop that sold airbrushed T-shirts at Six Flags Magic Mountain a few years later. "Ever since then, it was always something with that brush," he says.

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He started an airbrushing party service at 18 that involved painting hats and T-shirts on site at birthday parties and corporate events. In his spare time, he attended art expos and painted motorcycles.

That’s when he discovered a passion for painting on steel and aluminum. "I just kind of fell in love with the medium the combination of the paint and the metal and I built a style around that," he says.

DeRubeis switched from cotton and canvas to metal full-time in 1999 and started building his brand as a master of abstract conceptualism. It took a few years to perfect his process and to gain a following.

His process involves sketching the design, applying layers of paint and using power tools to create dimension. "It creates a tremendous amount of depth that really can only be appreciated in person," he says. "It really captures something quite different."

At first, galleries were skeptical about carrying DeRubeis’ work because they didn’t know how it would be received, but it wasn’t long before sales started taking off, he says.

DeRubeis is represented in galleries across the U.S. and Canada and recently opened an eponymous gallery in Key West, Fla. He says his work tends to attract people who have never collected art. "That’s a cool thing that I’ve noticed over the past few years. That keeps me going and staying positive and trying to always create new pieces," he says.

His appearance at Stanfield Gallery marks his first demonstration in Park City. He’ll be working with a live model and will determine the direction of the piece when he arrives. DeRubeis encourages Arts Festival attendees to stop by and experience the process of painting live.

For more information about the artist, visit http://www.derubeisfineart.com.