Jan 31, 2024 - News

Best Day Ever: Chris Chandler, analog artist

A man in a black apron standing in front of two paintings and a letter press

Chris Chandler in front of his art work at his studio, beside his Vandercook proofing press. The former sound man for the Flaming Lips lives a comfortable, analog life in Portland.

Chris Chandler has made it in Portland โ€” twice. He had a rock and roll career and now is a visual artist. (Catch his marvelous solo show now at Elizabeth Leach Gallery through March 2.)

Aside from his iPhone, he's almost completely analog. Chandler prints his art on a 5,000-pound Vandercook proofing press (which he fixes himself) and blasts his tunes on vinyl through valve amps and wired speakers.

Here's Chandler's ideal day in Portland.

After 30 years touring the world as sound guy to The Flaming Lips and Modest Mouse, he's a homebody in his Mt. Tabor neighborhood.

  • "I usually make breakfast for my kids (age 8 and 14) โ€” a hand-ground coffee pour-over, and oatmeal โ€” but on weekends, we go to Coquine Market for espresso, and they have croissants from Little T bakery," he told Axios at the bar of the art-themed NW Ninth Avenue hotel Canopy.

๐Ÿ“š His fave bookstore is Monograph Bookwerks.

  • "You walk in and (owner John Brodie) goes, 'Hey, I've been thinking about you, here's two books I've put aside.'"

Chandler works with sumi ink, mulberry paper and Exacto knives, not computers.

  • "I'd get distracted by Instagram," he says.

๐Ÿ“ป For his valve radio, he built a tube AM radio transmitter and he runs a tiny pirate radio station with a signal radius of a block. As it has no name and no fixed frequency, the feds won't be coming for him.

  • "It has this warm sound. I can sit with it for 12 hours, but if it was music from a computer, I couldn't last half an hour."

๐ŸŒฎ Lunch is Por Que No? because the owners have watched his kids group up.

  • "Tacos, rice and beans, horchata. Nothing too fancy."

๐ŸŽค In the afternoon he'll visit his friend Kurt Doslu who runs Echo Audio, a mostly analog hi-fi equipment store.

  • "Kurt gets to know what you like. He sends you a text and lets you take it home for a week."

Chandler has a lifetime free pass to the Crystal Ballroom because Modest Mouse sold out five nights there in 2004.

  • Recently he saw TV Girl with his daughter and pals. "I sit in the balcony with a beer and see if I know any of the dads thereโ€ฆ"

๐Ÿจ At the end of the day the family likes the mochi ice cream at Cheese & Crack.

  • "It's not like a big blizzard, it's little," he says.
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