Documenting the Hustle and Grind with Chris Plunkett
Today we would like to introduce you to new Core Member artist Chris Plunkett. Chris joined Fountain Street in January 2018 as an Annex Member then as an Associate Member in the spring, and this fall we were excited to invite him on board as a Core Member.
A Bostonian by birth, Chris paints the feel of the city’s environment and its people. Chris' perspective of everyday “blue collar-ness” of Boston neighborhoods is expanding in his newest series of paintings to the grounds and backstage hustle of Fenway. Below we dive deeper into his studio practice and bring you his unique perspective.
I’ve lived in the City of Boston my whole life. Other than my 4 years of college up in New Hampshire, the furthest I’ve moved from my hometown of Jamaica Plain is Dorchester about 2 miles away. Being a true Bostonian has influenced my work since the beginning. From close-ups of three-deckers, to snapshots of the everyday “blue collar-ness” of Boston neighborhoods, I’ve always tried to paint the feel of the city’s environment.
Lately I’ve started a new idea: diving into the world of Fenway vending (the guys and girls who run up and down the stairs hawking food and drinks). See, I’ve worked at Fenway Park as a vendor for the past 20 years and counting. In an attempt to capture the “tunnel vision” that exists within this unique job, I began snapping literally thousands of photos of my fellow vendors in action while I was working. I still am. What the average Sox fan sees as the sights, sounds, and smells of the ballpark, my colleagues and I see much differently. Not to say we aren’t Red Sox fans (trust me most of us are actually the biggest Sox fans you can find!) but the hustle and grind that is inherent to vending is something I think is worth capturing. The repetitive nature of working 81 home games day-in and day-out year-after-year is worth documenting in a way only paintings can. From the always contentious list of available products to sell, to the station managers like Mary (a 41 year Fenway employee), to the basic high-paced race against the clock to sell as much as you can, this series will give the viewer–Sox fan or not–a glimpse into the mindset of Fenway life.
So, stay tuned. My goal is to finish this series of at least 16 paintings by next Summer, and display them together in some shape or form.