Christopher Gurshin’s art reflects the natural beauty and rich traditions of his native New England. He first became interested in art as a child growing up in Marblehead, Massachusetts. In his spare time, he loved to look at Norman Rockwell pictures in magazines and paint pictures on pieces of driftwood he found on the beach. Many of Gurshin’s traditional style paintings depict the stark beauty of the New England landscape.
After serving in the U. S. Marines, Christopher worked at King’s Rock, a coffeehouse in Essex, Massachusetts, which hosted musicians ranging from Judy Collins to Bonnie Raitt. He managed the venue and decorated its walls by painting tavern signs. Later, he opened his own shop named “The Yankee House” where he sold antiques, paintings, and penny candy. As a side job, he entertained guests at special events by dressing in the character of a mid-nineteenth century decorator and painting murals. Over the years, Gurshin has painted commissions, including a series for Friendly’s restaurants and Easter eggs for the White House during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. He loves these opportunities because they encourage him to adapt his work, building upon what he calls “discovered accidents.”
Gurshin is well known for his distinctive folk art style, which depicts New England landscapes using acrylic paints and stenciled images. These paintings often include colonial houses, horse-drawn wagons, and other historical motifs. While he paints on a wide variety of media, including canvas, wooden boxes, miniature pine houses, tin, and furniture, he says that he feels most comfortable with wood, which reminds him of the driftwood of his childhood. Gurshin likes making these pieces seem old-fashioned because he believes that the “feeling of age gives the paintings warmth.”
Christopher Gurshin also enjoys painting in the Americana tradition, which is colorful and structured, often referencing historical events. For example, one of his paintings incorporates landmarks of Boston, such as Haymarket Square and the Union Oyster House. Gurshin, an avid storyteller, uses his artwork to inject historical narratives with a whimsical flair. Describing his process for these paintings, he said, “Sometimes I just blast away and don’t plan out the structure. The painting just seems to fall into place.”
Each time Gurshin has moved, the physical features of the land have informed the subject matter of his paintings. After marrying, Gurshin moved to Newburyport, and in 2003, he moved to Glastonbury. He was the first artist to join the Chamber of Commerce, and soon afterward, he painted lively posters to advertise the town’s Apple Harvest Festival, using the vibrant foliage of the riverside in autumn to add color and interest to his design. Glastonbury’s rocky hills and rolling orchards continue to inspire his paintings. Recently, Gurshin has contributed to the community by spearheading a project to purchase a historical town clock. In addition, he is a member of the Glastonbury Art Guild and he served on the board for one year.
Gurshin’s gallery by the Cider Mill in Glastonbury is as unique as the artwork it displays. Filled with mementos, works in progress, and trompe-l’œil surfaces like a false brick wall, it is a living tribute to Gurshin’s art. During his free time, he enjoys doing stonework and gardening on the property, because for him, landscaping is simply another form of painting. Gurshin is happy living in Glastonbury, saying, “I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.”
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