It was a perfect spring day when I had the pleasure to meet a Columbia power couple, Christopher Lane and Lisa McVety. They will be shocked (and perhaps a little horrified) to read that description, but I would argue that there is extreme power when a couple knows and operates in their strengths so that each person is successful.
Lisa McVety is a paralegal, writer, and Christopher Lane’s business manager. Her attention to detail and order gives Lane more freedom to create. Their loving relationship
and how their roles work were apparent the day I was invited to Christoper’s home studio.
I had reached out to Christopher some weeks prior, and Lisa replied with a warm business email inviting me to his creative space. I exchanged a few more emails with Lisa to nail down a day and other details; I only met Christopher the morning of our interview. Because Lisa is what I would describe as a big-hearted, A-Type, she had done her research on me and the blog, to the extent that they had some pastries from my favorite local bakery on hand for us to share [shout out to smallSugar].
After Lisa left us to attend a meeting, Christopher shared (in the way you dream that your partner would) how Lisa’s talents and skills have made his creative process and business so much more successful. He also expressed appreciation for her beauty and heart, sharing that, “she saved my life” on more than one occasion.
Now let’s focus on the individual. Christopher Lane’s early life, full of world travel, in a military family, provided a cultural kaleidoscope to experience the 70s and 80s. His eventual diagnosis of dyslexia explained poor school performance, but Lane found art as a way to escape the external academic pressures and, at the same time, express himself, which seemed to be acceptable to others.
After graduating high school and as a young father, Lane decided he had to become a provider and joined the Navy. He stayed in Charleston, SC, following his service and eventually started a decades-long climb up the culinary ladder. From washing dishes to pastry chef, Lane earned respect in the competitive Low-Country restaurant landscape. It is worth noting that Lane was continually creating art during this time, crafting murals and generally hustling to make ends meet.
That experience of constant, necessary hustle, only having time to draw or paint after maintaining a crazy restaurant’s schedule, makes Lane appreciate having so much freedom to create. McVety takes the majority of the business of art off of Lane’s plate. Many artists similarly lament and wish they could just do their art.
The art Lane created after moving to Columbia was seen and supported by Dot Ryall, a Midlands patron of the arts. This was just the push he needed to put even more focus on his craft. That is the kind of support Lane wants to offer to contemporaries like Thomas Washingon, also a surrealist.
Though McVety and Lane told me he was shy, I sensed no hesitation during our time together. Maybe it was because we were in his beautiful home—a property showcasing a verdant pond teaming with life and inspiration. The studio space was also warm and comfortable, with a muted television showing one of many news shows that Lane shared that he always has on in the background, feeding him a different kind of inspiration.
Lane is a popular landscape artist. And I would argue that any boutique hotel is missing out on a treasure if they don’t highlight his spectacular captures of God’s greatness within their interiors. But, I was gobsmacked by his surreal commentaries on canvas. As a storyteller, he details the perils of greed and sprawl in vibrant colors and beautiful figures, which caused a conflict in me of an ecstatic depression.
Lane’s work is full of whimsy and danger, reminiscent of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Alice in Wonderland. The dream-like tableaux that I so desired to step into are encoded with warnings of the present-day dangers – in plain sight if we only choose to see them.
During my private guided tour of his studio, Lane described his inspiration and how he expressed each of the themes. He spoke so easily and eloquently, with passion and humor, about his work and the world. I was struck on several occasions that this man is a good communicator – and his preferred method is the canvas.
Christopher Lane is currently showing at The Koger Center’s gallery. The gallery is free and open to the public Monday-Friday, 9 am – 5 pm. You can follow and support him on his social media: [IG and FB] and website: www.laneartworks.com
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