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Pinball and Pinball 2
Pinball 2 – 8”x10” acrylic on on canvas
Pinball – 8”x10” acrylic on canvas

For almost a year I’ve been going weekly to The Western Mass Pinball Club to play a variety of classic and new pinball machines. I’ve been a big fan of pinball for as long as I can remember and painting them has been on my mind for quite a while. These are the first two pinball paintings.  Prints are available.

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Life Savings

“Life Savings” 16”x12” acrylic on canvas

“Life Savings” 16”x12” acrylic on canvas. I’ve wanted to paint one of the cash register banks for a while. Last month I went to a local indoor flea market and came across a brand new black cash register bank. I got excited for a minute, but I really wanted one with some wear and tear from being played with on it, or what my friend @kevmann42 has dubbed “playtina”. I also wanted something colorful.

Further into the store, in a stall I don’t alway check there was this blue cash register. Score! I grabbed it and continued shopping and thinking of how to use the cash register in a painting. It dawned on me that it was a piggy bank and maybe I could do something with piggy banks.

At that moment, I turned to leave a section and literally bumped into a shelf full of piggy banks. It felt like fate. The only problem was none of them really fit the aesthetic. There was on large white ceramic pig, decorated with painted flowers but it wasn’t right.

I remembered my translucent piggy bank at home, and thought that it would be perfect to find a small blue opaque pig about the same size. Again, I turned to leave the section and this time I was staring directly at the small pale blue ceramic piggy bank at the top of the painting.

Sometimes you choose the painting and other times the painting chooses you.

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Now Showing at The Quarters in Hadley, MA!

The Quarters in Hadley, MA is currently hosting a selection of my paintings in their super cool retro arcade / restaurant!!! I can’t think of a more appropriate place for these painting lol to hang. I spent many hours in arcades playing these very games during the summer, and the place is full of vintage toys and games.

If you’re in the area, you HAVE to check this place out, and pick up a print while you’re there!

hadleyma #arcade #vintagearcade #80skid #80stoys mspacman #burgertime #digdug #marblemadness #cobracommander #skeletor #merman #beastman #teela #tmnt #motu #spiderman #soundwave #destro #manefaces #footsoldier #baxterstockman

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Chris Bordenca: 80’s Kid

Hope & Feathers

March 4th – April 26th, 2021

See the paintings by Belchertown artist Chris Bordenca!

The nostalgia and sense of fun is clear in Chris Bordenca’s vibrantly-colored paintings of toys, action figures, and other treasured memorabilia from the 70’s and 80’s. His subjects are iconic and familiar: Star Wars characters, Batman villains, Rubik’s Cubes, video games, sea monkeys, and more, that immediately evoke that pre-internet era, especially for 80’s kids. Chris says: Almost nothing gets forgotten anymore. The past exists in the collective memory of the internet, and we can reach in and physically bring those memories into our present. These paintings are tangible and joyful reminders of the most recent pre-internet past, even if you weren’t an 80’s kid.

10% of sales from this exhibit will be donated to the The Belchertown Education Foundation. BEF is an independent, volunteer, non-profit organization committed to enriching the educational opportunities of students in Belchertown public schools.

About Chris Bordenca:
Chris’ work focuses on personal connections to objects and places from his youth in the seventies and eighties, including paintings of action figures, toys, and video games from that era. After a ten-year hiatus he returned to painting in 2018. Since then, he has shown his work around the valley in group shows, and a show in Australia to benefit victims of the wildfires. His painting “Starless Sea With Keys” won first place for acrylic painting at the 2020 Northeast Fine Arts Exposition. Chris has a BFA from UMass Amherst and lives with his family in Belchertown.

PLEASE NOTE: walk-ins are welcome for the gallery. Masks required. Currently we are allowing four customers in the shop at one time.

Q&A with Chris

How has your style changed over the years?
I started painting album covers and comic book art on people’s leather jackets in and after high school. In my 20’s I began painting murals in homes and businesses of whatever was asked, but my personal work turned to abstract figurative paintings. I then moved to large non-representational paintings, while still painting murals commercially. Eventually painting other people’s ideas in the murals became tedious, and I became turned off from painting all together. Ten years later, I decided to approach painting the same way that I approached art when I was young. I would paint whatever I wanted. Anything that made me happy. That is what I do now.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
1982. When I was seven years old I had a coloring book based on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. One of the images inside included a relatively realist drawing of the dog from the movie. I copied the drawing of the dog, and it was the very first time I felt what it was like to really see the thing I was looking at. I suddenly understood how to look at something and draw an accurate representation of it. It felt like real magic, and I was hooked.

What inspires you?
I love tapping into the toys and pop culture from the 70’s and 80’s. I also love old books, abandoned buildings, and beat up vehicles. I like the idea of things managing to survive through time to the present and capturing their magic before they disappear.

What is your creative process like? How do you work?
In the studio I basically play with toys for hours until I find the right feeling. I take a ton of photos with different lighting and arrangements.

What is your favorite piece that you’ve created?
My current favorites are Toy ChestSpace Invader, and Mission: Unknown

Any advice to young or emerging artists?
Make art for yourself, not what other people think you should make, or what you think other people will like.

Images above cropped from:
Space Invader, acrylic on canvas, 20×16″
Smile, acrylic on canvas, 20×16″
Hitchhiker, acrylic on canvas, 20×20″

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Starless Sea & Keys – 1st place and Prints!

“The Starless Sea & Keys - Print 14" x 17" - Archival Hot Press Paper 2020

Prints! A small batch of “The Starless Sea & Keys” giclee prints are now available in my shop. Over the next couple of weeks I will be adding small batches of various prints, and an original or two as well. I spend whatever free time I can painting, so I don’t get to the prints often. If you or someone you know is interested, grab ‘em while they’re available!.

“The Starless Sea & Keys”

“The Starless Sea & Keys”. 14”x11” acrylic on canvas. Winner 1st Place Acrylic – Northeast Fine Arts Show 2020. These keys belonged to my great grandfather. The last few things I’ve read have coincidentally featured keys prominently. First was the The Locke & Key series by Joe Hill that I’ve been told to read by a lot of friends who knew I’d enjoy it. Halfway through that series I learned that Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus, had a new book titled The Starless Sea. Inside the cover are illustrations of all these different keys. In the beginning of the story there is even a reference to Locke & Key. These fantastic stories linked by keys found their way to me at the same time and I remembered that years ago my father gave my son a set of old keys. It wasn’t until I started photographing the keys on the books that I could read the brass name tag. T. J. Kelly or Thomas John Kelly, my great grandfather, after whom my father was named.

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The Last Stand timelapse

Last Stand -Time Lapse, acrylic on canvas 11”x14” – I only filmed the first couple of days. The details take so long and change things so gradually that even time lapse videos are too long to watch.

Posted by Chris Bordenca on Thursday, February 28, 2019

Last Stand -Time Lapse, acrylic on canvas 11”x14” – I only filmed the first couple of days. The details take so long and change things so gradually that even time lapse videos are too long to watch.