CJ Hendry Is Changing the Art World One Colored Pencil at a Time

Breaking down her career, the artist explains why she wants to do more than just “put artworks on the wall.”

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CJ Hendry Is Changing the Art World One Colored Pencil at a Time
Business of HYPE
6,114 Hypes 4 Comments

Business of HYPE is a weekly series brought to you by HYPEBEAST Radio and hosted by jeffstaple. It’s a show about creatives, brand-builders, entrepreneurs and the realities behind the dreams they’ve built. For today’s episode, we welcome artist CJ Hendry as our guest.

You’ve most likely seen Hendry’s work and thought it was a photograph. The New York-based Australian artist makes hyperrealistic drawings that require not only the finest attention to detail, but also countless hours, colored pencils and sharpeners to produce.

With a massive social media following, world-wide exhibitions and artworks selling out in seconds, CJ Hendry didn’t intend on becoming an artist. Through college, she wanted to become an athlete, then architect, then a banker until she ultimately decided to drop out of college and focus on drawing for a full year. She began selling works through Instagram and moved to New York, where she gained enough traction to begin working towards in-gallery exhibitions.

Because CJ’s work is painstakingly arduous, she rarely replicates her work, nor does she care to mass produce or concern herself with numerous collaborations or shows. She works at her own pace with a tight knit team to be able to have more control over her art. For CJ, her work isn’t about money or fame, but more so about the experience of bringing her vision to life, having fun and creating an immersive space that’s more than “just looking at at the walls, ’cause that’s boring.”

“I’ve been fortunate that my artworks do sell, but I’m not so interested in that. I don’t care so much about the money side, I care more about the vision. I don’t need all the things. I’ve had the things. I still have the things—all the fancy things. I’m playing a long game. My practice will go much further and bigger than where I’m at now, because I don’t take much out for myself.”

CJ’s laissez-faire approach is what helped create her currency. Ironically, by not caring all that much, she has actually created more demand for her work. When asked about the potential smoke and mirrors within the art industry, CJ affirms that the art world is an “ungoverned land” where “everyone’s playing big games.” Despite this, CJ isn’t concerned by it, nor does she take herself so seriously, because she’s more focused on making what’s true to her and being the best artist for herself.

As always, thank you for tuning into HYPEBEAST Radio and Business of HYPE. Don’t forget to leave a comment and write a review. Feel free to ask Jeff any questions on Twitter @jeffstaple or via email at questions@businessofhype.com

Disclaimer: This episode contains swear words, listener’s discretion is advised.

This episode contains references to the following:

4:06 – Introduction
7:00 – Early life
11:30 – College life
12:20 – Becoming an artist
17:30 – The Cool Hunter
19:40 – Moving to NYC
25:50 – The Trophy Room
27:15 – Christian Louboutin
30:20 – Handling negotiations
31:15 – Managing work
32:15 – Replicating work
38:30 – RORSCHACH
42:00 – Upcoming show in London
50:00 – Collaborations
53:50 – Thoughts on the art world
62:30 – Advice
67:20 – Future plans

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