Chris Banford — Biography

Chris Banford is an artist, designer and computer programmer, who has lived in Zermatt, Switzerland since the summer of 1981. He has grown to love living, working and playing in the mountains that have become his home.

He arrived in Zermatt for a single day of summer skiing. This was towards the end of a three month tour across Europe on the road-racing bicycle that he'd worked as a dish washer for over a year to pay for, back home in Connecticut, USA. The plan was to ski for a day and then continue by bicycle to the Oktoberfest in Münich before returning to Frankfurt (where the trip had started) to fly home again. That was the plan... 30 years later he's still in Zermatt, having fallen in love with the skiing, the life-style and the amazingly interesting people who make Zermatt their home for a season, or a lifetime.

Completed Matterhorn Serigraph prints in "The Factory" (Zermatt, Switzerland)

Chris didn't spend the 1980s only skiing. He'd always been a drawer and painter and the alpine environment encouraged him to produce landscape paintings that were sold through a local art gallery. Life, as it does, became more serious, and he developed his skills in graphic design and worked for seven years as a textile silk-screen printer in Zermatt (many of Zermatt's t-shirt designs were works of his). In the early 1990s he started his own graphic design studio, called Matterhorn Graphics.

With the purchase of his first Mac at the end of 1989, he quickly discovered that there was a whole new world of things to try out and create. He started working with Photoshop 1.0 and was the proud owner of the first Wacom drawing tablet (letting him experiment with freehand drawing and painting on the computer). It wasn't long before he found himself staying up all night writing code to make new and exciting things happen in this virtual world.

In the mid nineties he found himself working more and more in the digital world, building interactive CD-ROMs for companies such as Compuserve and doing work on early websites. He moved his office to Zürich for three years and worked creating both graphic design and multi-media programming projects for a range of clients, from local advertising agencies to household name companies.

tins of paint

The last ten years have seen Chris involved in a range of projects. Firmly at home in the mountains, he has worked for several Swiss Ski Schools here in Zermatt as a ski instructor, while continuing to work in the digital world and ensuring his computer skills are still cutting edge. He has two exciting projects ongoing from which he takes time out to pursue his passion for art. One of these is the design and programming for OTP's The other is to set up a new concept for an on-line Web Design Agency (Webascent by Dihedrals Ltd.).

The Matterhorn sketch displayed on this site marks Chris' return to fine-art. It is the kicking off point from which he intends to explore artistically his fascination for mountains, taking the project to other areas of alpine beauty around Switzerland. His long-term ambition is to be able to extend the project to encompass the magnificence of mountains in other parts of the world, such as Patagonia and the Himalaya.