Is there anything painter Chad Little can’t do? A quick review of his bio suggests not. After all, Little is an uber-successful tech entrepreneur (he founded Hivewyre, among other Silicon-Valley embraced startups), an avid surfer (Costa Rica is his second home) and, most recently, an on-the-rise painter. Working from his sleek, light-filled Paradise Valley Studio (the architecture of the Chen+Suchart-designed space almost rivals the beauty of his oil paintings), Little’s works are often inspired by vintage photographs he finds at yard sales and on eBay, and feel both of the modern era yet a little nostalgic, too. Maybe, most fittingly, the entrepreneur-turned-artist describes them as quirky. “What inspires me a lot of times, I think, is humor,” he says, “Just what’s different.” Read on to find out what makes Little stand out from the pack.
If you could get feedback on your work from anyone, who would it be?
I would qualify this by saying that I wouldn’t want the input until 10 years from now. That person would be Kim Cogan. To me, he’s the best current painter alive. I want him being the one to provide the input not only because of his skills, but because I feel we also have a common set of values and tastes. He seems like an individual that would provide a thoughtful review 10 years from now.
Tell us about a piece that turned out differently than you expected.
It’s the piece that I call Square. Most artists will tell you that one of the most difficult things to do is stop and not overwork a piece. I walked in to paint that day, looked at the piece and was not happy with what I saw. I turned my rational mind off and started painting intuitively. The key was that I stopped after maybe only 30 minutes and walked away, thinking I would come back and finish it later. Thankfully, I came to my senses and realized it was done.
What’s the story behind the best gift you’ve ever received?
I enjoy experiences more than things. I also love really good food. My wife found a special connection that managed to get us in to the French Laundry on my birthday. It was everything she could do to keep it a secret. Incredible experience!
Tell us about your all-time favorite piece in your home.
I recently purchased an original by Kim Cogan called 1970’s. I think he’s probably one of the best current living painters; I love his unsaturated palette. He has a sense of humor that shows through, if you’re really looking for it, and a fondness for vintage urban. His rooftop cityscapes are design masterpieces, and his ability to show incredible contrast and lighting with so few strokes also makes my heart ache. He’s a nice person on top of that, and a fellow surfer.
My ultimate dream home would not be complete without…
Modern/contemporary design throughout. To live, exist and create in and around such beauty is what it’s all about, as far as I’m concerned.
The artist I look up to the most is…
Alex Kanevsky. He’s second to none and a true original. So many of the artists I admire track back to him.