Catching Up With Arrowhead Pride's Own Chris Sembower


If you have been frequenting Arrowhead Pride over the years for your Kansas City Chiefs news, you may have noticed the blooming career of "Posterized" series creator Chris Sembower.

The user Christoffer went from making this FanPost in 2009, featuring a painting of Jamaal Charles and telling us:

I'm like many of you who is completely addicted to this site. I dont post often, but I read a lot. And I'd have to say I've learned a LOT here in the past few months (joined around the time the new regime came in). So I just wanted to give something back to the community. I'm going through my last year or so of design school in KC, and have just kinda been tinkering around with this painting for the last few days, and thought that it might make a nice ArrowheadPride desktop wallpaper. I originally chose Jamaal Charles because I thought he would be fun to paint, and I think its a nice a coincidence that there's some rabid JC fans around here.

To creating his own website, crafting epic works of Chiefs art like "Hali / Ali" and having his art displayed on billboards around Kansas City representing the Sporting KC proudly as Chris Sembower.

Much more after the jump:

To me, it is cool that he mentioned "desktop wallpaper" in that first FanPost, because I am sure that a lot of the users and lurkers around here have utilized his work in just that fashion (I know I have.) Not to mention their phones or facebook walls, and why not? The Kansas City Chiefs "Posterized" series is awesome.

Recently, I was given the incredible opportunity to give Chris some extra exposure by including him in the "Catching Up" series for SB Nation Kansas City.

That opportunity spawned into in this in three part conversation:

Catching Up: The Chief Artist of Kansas City, Chris Sembower.
Catching Up: The Chief Artist of Kansas City, Chris Sembower. Part 2
Catching Up: The Chief Artist of Kansas City, Chris Sembower. Part 3

In them, we take a look at Chris's creation process, breakdown a few great paintings and get to know our friend that's been delivering us all this killer Kansas City Chiefs art the past few seasons. Check it out.


How much has your Arrowhead Pride membership helped you in your career so far?

Immensely. The following I've been able to create in the last couple years would have been much harder without all the good people at Arrowhead Pride. I have a lot of love for the people that hang around that site. The series was welcomed with open arms when I introduced it, and that certainly didn't have to be the case. A big hat tip to the Thorman brothers for allowing me to contribute there regularly as well.

Have you ever wanted to quit doing your work because of hurdles in getting it out there?

Absolutely. There have been a number of hurdles in all of this for me, and some of them have been (and / or continue to be) pretty deflating at times. I can actually point to a number of specific incidents early in the first year that almost canceled the series in the blink of an eye, and that still amazes me when I consider how all this has materialized.

The only thing that has kept me in it has been this absolutely incredible Chiefs fanbase. Their support cuts through any of the doubt that I've had the last couple years.

Can you describe just how difficult is it to capture such happiness in your artwork? That really is a great scene in the moment and it truly shines through in the painting, but it must have proved challenging in development.

It is very difficult. There is so much involved in creating this magical moment. It's a mish-mash of tiny things that all work towards the end goal, and that's "the sell."

I've always described my style as exaggerated reality. Sort of like a lot of Pixar films. They are definitely fantastic and caricaturistic in nature, but they still utilize realistic lighting schemes and concepts like gravity. They ride that fine line very, very well. But if one aspect of it was off, they would have a harder time selling that reality to you, the viewer. Those are similar things that I battle with in my paintings.

There is a lot about this painting that is not totally realistic. For example the character that the Gatorade has, the subtle facial expressions, the way the light blooms off certain surfaces, and the general composition all contribute to the selling of this entire experience. I consider each one of those to be individual design problems. If the individual aspects of this failed, it would be much harder for the viewer to connect to it, I think.

[Note by Chief-blinders-on, 06/18/12 11:44 AM CDT ] That last question was in reference to the "Romeo Crennel's First Gatorade Bath" painting.

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