Christopher Register has been a working artist, art director, and art professor during the past 26
years. He has worked with many of the top companies and associations in America as a designer
and art director, and his paintings and drawings have been exhibited in regional, national and international
exhibitions throughout this time period.
Chris was born in Philadelphia. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in drawing, and a Master of Fine
Arts degree in design from the George Washington University. He has held the position of Design
Chief for the American Rifleman magazine and was an adjunct instructor of graphic design at
George Washington University. For 13 years he worked for Time-Life Books as an Art Director and
Director of Design. He was one of only five employees to be named Time-Life employee of the year.
He has designed over 100 books, and illustrations he art-directed have won awards from the
Illustrator’s Club of Metropolitan Washington. His drawings and paintings are in numerous collections.
He is currently Professor of Art at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.
In this series of portraits I would like to redefine the word scoundrel.
A scoundrel, a rogue, a bastard, a reprobate or a cad, usually refers to a person—invariably male—who is dishonest, tricky, and with little or no ethical compass. There is a certain innocence to its connotation as well. The philanderer, the politician, the lawyer often are scoundrels; we say we disapprove of their actions but ultimately we excuse their behavior.
I was intrigued by this characterization while reading biographies of
historical figures. All these personalities were complex. When we talk of complexity, we are really speaking of contradiction. This contradiction often changes over time, as our culture changes, and our standards of conduct change as well.
We must acknowledge that the deeds of a scoundrel can be judged as an accomplishment. I needed to face this contradiction head on. Often a scoundrel’s accomplishments may not be comfortably viewed as an
accomplishment at all. But history is written by both the famous and infamous, and this series is intended to look squarely in the face of our contrary natures. This is precisely the contradiction I want the viewer to grapple with. I therefore set out to engrave portraits of individuals who may be viewed by history as good or bad, yet practiced deeds contrary to their place on the spectrum of history. This is not a definitive sample.
These portraits are of human beings who share a common human
quality. They have done good things, and they have done bad things, and history has written a narrative that places them on this spectrum of good and bad. These prints are a recognition of the contradictory and complex quality of the human condition, created in a time where we seem challenged in our ability to resolve our view on this fundamental aspect of our nature.