Speaker Meetings American born artist Chris Luttrell (b. 1970) works between New York City and The Hudson Valley. Luttrell’s formative years were spent in the Midwest before his family moved to the suburbs of New York City, the summer that he turned 17. Deeply inspired by the sights and sounds of the city depicted in television, movies, music and his family’s New York Times subscription, he suddenly found himself immersed in the various downtown subcultures which were heavily informed by the nightlife of the area. After studying art history at New York University, Luttrell graduated with a classical music education while steeped in the rave and nightclub culture of downtown New York. He was present at the advent of grunge and its abandonment of musical technique, which was the antithesis of his formal music education. Luttrell draws upon this consistently in his visual art practice, doing away with the traditional techniques of the draftsperson. While not entirely ‘self-taught’, Luttrell’s paintings, video, works on paper, ceramics and steel sculpture are created mostly through a desire to discover. His work rests in the ideas of the musically adjacent, contemporary jargon, euphemisms, spontaneity, idolatry, figures and the playful. Luttrell works with what he has on hand often fabricating his own surfaces from adapted or recovered materials. 

Prior to the pandemic, Luttrell had begun a creative dialogue with various artists on social media, using it as an outlet to sandbox his ideas, often with immediate feedback from his artistic peers. The speakers are the bi-product of this dialogue and his relationship to live music, raves and nightclubs, as well as inspired by the imagery of Jamaican sound system culture, New York street party DJ’s and urban car audio. Subway time was also spent realizing these visual metaphors with color and line, feeding off the critique and enthusiasms of fellow artists. Simultaneously, the independent news media began to blossom, for better or worse, and the symbol of the speaker began to birth its multiple personalities known today as Speaker Meetings. In Speaker Meetings, the speaker became the messenger between the public speaking demagogue and the constituency, the oracle between the altar and the worshipper, conveying the silhouette of the abstract figure in the folk traditions of aliens and robots and alien robots. 

Speaker Meetings began to have some substance through conversations Luttrell was having with the artist Mark Grotjahn, who became a fan of the idea and of the work. Luttrell had taken Grotjahn’s work as inspiration to begin with, feeding off his on-line persona. During the back-and-forth with Grotjahn, Luttrell began to crib some of the dialogue that was created and a second speaker identity was born. It leaned away from the more literal image of a speaker and into the idea of the speaker as a contemporary totem. 


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