The Art of Play
A child of the 80’s, Chris Kriley has held onto the joy of toys. Reminiscing over the brands that defined the era, Chris says, “G.I. Joes are my favorite, hands down.” Chris’ hands are rarely idle. His day job as a chef for The Barlor keeps him busy, but allows enough time to explore other crafts that interest him. Chris is an artist. His preferred medium over time has been paint, but he’s recently delved into the world of action figure dioramas.
Solace in Imagination
Chris spent his childhood all over the United States. His father was in the Air Force, which led the family to move often. By happenstance, Chris was born on Tinker Air Force base on a journey across the country and later ended up making Central Oklahoma his home. He says his gypsy lifestyle led him to find an escape in art. He found solace in imaginary worlds when everything around him was changing.
Using the camera on his phone, Chris takes still shots and videos of action figures. The photos pause any passing scroll through Instagram. His use of light, effects, props and atmosphere make the photos come alive. He began posing the figurines outdoors, but the perspectives were off, “It was impossible to put a figurine next to a tree, in tall grass and get the perspectives right.” Chris has handcrafted most of the scenes and sourced some from other toy photographers and creators. Chris refers to his craft as an addiction. He finds the tactile and tedious process to be therapeutic. He puts in the time to get the perfect shot.
Chris loves the thrill of the hunt. G.I. Joe has rereleased many classic figurines that he collects. According to Chris, “You just can’t make a better toy than G.I. Joe!” The open ended, detailed and articulate toys allow for perpetual play. “It’s great to see kids enjoy the same toys their parents played with.” He hopes his photos are something that can bridge the interests of generations. The art of play is here to stay.
Chris can be found on Instagram by searching @skydrowalker. His follower base is made up of other toy fanatics who create like him and those who enjoy viewing the scenes as a fan of good photography and figurines.