An Interview with Chris Foss

It’s 9pm and I’m preparing to talk to Chris Foss over the phone. We’re talking late because he’s preparing for his new show in Guernsey at the Coachhouse Gallery. He’s been working tirelessly curating and creating 100 paintings for his 1st - 20th November exhibition. I’ll be there and if you're in Guernsey I recommend you go.

Chris hasn’t just had a career like most of us. He’s one of those very few people that we read about in creative history books or watch in documentaries - it’s difficult to overstate his impact on science fiction. After our 2 hour talk I felt like I understood his impact on Sci-Fi more than he does. Before I even asked Chris about working on Alien, influencing Marvel or arguing with Stanley Kubrick I simply asked him “What have you been up to recently?” His reply, “Some American rapper, I can’t remember his name, wanted to work with me. I think he was actually running for president but then COVID hit and it didn’t happen”. “Do you mean Kanye West?” I replied, “That’s it, have you heard of him?”…..

Hi Chris, What does a normal day look like, from a creative perspective?

Well Aaron, I spend my day chasing the sun...

I bought this wonderful summer house and I've turned it into a studio. You see, for an artist, the difference when you can paint in daylight, without any artificial light is stunning. The colors are so much brighter. So, I've built four different studios on the property and depending on the light I will start in whichever studio is the best and then literally follow the sun around. My day is governed by the weather.

You're one of the most famous science fiction painters in the world. When did you know that science fiction ships and science fiction would be your unique voice?

I remember exactly when funnily enough! As a young name, 19 years old, I was illustrating for the now famous, new at the time magazine call Penthouse. That work actually lead to illustrating the book 'The Joy of Sex'. But at 19 I didn’t pay much attention to space stations! A friend said “hey, are you goanna see that new 2001 film?” So I took some a bit of extra time off at lunch and went to see it. It was quite simply breathtaking, and I've been painting spaceships ever since. It’s how my life in spaceships took off.