Meet Christopher Henderson

—An interview with Epicenter Principal Jack Forinash and incoming Epicenter designer Christopher Henderson.

ch_city_countyChristopher Henderson in front of the City/County Building in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Incoming Epicenter designer Christopher Henderson is a design/builder currently practicing in Salt Lake City, Utah. His practice REXX is a multi-disciplinary creative, design, and build studio. Christopher received his BFA in Industrial Design (Product Design Emphasis) from Brigham Young University in 2006. Since then he’s designed and built furniture, craft supplies, tools, and storage in Salt Lake City (UT), Centerville (UT), and San Francisco (CA). Before founding REXX, he most recently was an exhibit designer at The Leonardo, a science, technology, and art museum in Salt Lake City.

“The Epicenter is an intriguing idea. It can’t be easy. It couldn’t have seemed easy before you took it on. You all have tried something hard, and despite the difficulty—or perhaps because it was/is difficult—made something remarkable.

The spirit of this place is that we do hard things. We do them because they are hard. It’s built into our DNA through mineral miner grit and socialistic pioneer cooperation. It’s the spirit that saw a desert and made it a community. It’s a particular and peculiar West, and I love it.

I feel like what little aesthetic and cultural identity we have left is slipping away, replaced by suburban sprawl, corporate uniformity, and rote reproduction of design ideas from larger coastal cities. I want to explore our aesthetic, our culture, our community. I feel like The Epicenter shares that point of view.” –excerpt from a letter from Christopher to Epicenter.

Jack Forinash: What are you currently working on?Christopher Henderson: I’m working on an installation for a library that is meant to mimic organic cloud formations, but is constructed from a system of tessellated polyhedra. Once I found the shapes I liked, the challenge was in figuring out how to produce hundreds of them quickly, cheaply, and consistently. I developed and refined a tabbing system such that the pieces could be die-cut and scored and then simply folded together quickly without glue or tape. I’m using a plastic coated card-stock that is rigid, but still light and cheap enough to allow for maximum flexibility in the final assembly. So yeah… nerd alert.

J: You’re a Libra. Do you invest any credit into the typical attributes of a Libra?
C: I am almost completely unaware of what the typical attributes of a Libra are meant to be, so yes, unequivocally.

J: Your Myers-Briggs personality type is INTP, what attributes seems accurate or inaccurate to you?
C: Wow. Pretty accurate all around. Accurate: “They seek patterns and logical explanations for anything that interests them.” —Totally. “They love new ideas, and become very excited over abstractions and theories. They love to discuss these concepts with others.”—So fun! Relatively inaccurate: “They may seem “dreamy” and distant to others”— No one I don’t think has ever described me as “dreamy.”

J: What would be your superpower?
C: First I thought invisibility, because I could walk around naked. But then I decided on flight, because I could fly around naked.

J: What book, movie, or person is significant to your work/process/life, and why?
C: Hmm.. maybe Dr. Strangelove. It’s a perfect blend of silliness and doom. I saw it first when maybe I was too young to fully grasp the satire, but it certainly tinted my world view.

J: What were you for the last Halloween?
C: Last Halloween I was grinding out a deadline and only had energy and time enough to throw on a Misfits t-shirt and paint black around my eyes. I know, weak.

J: What’s your favorite card or board game, and why?
C: Chess. I’m not great at it, but it’s an endlessly challenging and nuanced game. Plus, nowadays you can play online against other lonely nerds from all over the world!

J: Who are you named after? If not anyone in particular, why did you parents chose this specific name?
C: You know, I never asked… or maybe I did and there just wasn’t an interesting answer. I do know I was meant to be named Christian, but my parent’s best friends had a boy a few weeks before me and stole it. “Christopher” I guess was close enough?

J: Do you have any siblings? If so, where are you in birth order?
C: I have 5 siblings, 6 of us total kids. I’m number 5 in line. Second youngest.

J: What about the natural landscape around Green River excites you most?
C: All of it really. I’ve been a city boy for a long long time. Excited to get back out in the elements.

J: How does working with Epicenter fit into your big picture?
C: I’m very interested in the prospect of practicing design in a rural setting. It’s something I’ve thought about for quite a while. Aside from that, working with as dedicated and talented a group as the Epicenter is a great opportunity to learn and grow professionally.

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016