Christopher Jagmin


You may remember the art project in grade school, where you color in different crayons completely over a page, cover it with black crayon, then scrape off the top layer with a drawing, you would reveal a surprise of color. This child-like element of surprise is still exciting to me and is the basic way that I work with encaustic.

Working with encaustic is a very textural and almost sculptural medium for me. I carve and draw into the wax using a variety of tools that I’ve found over the years, including old ceramic, dental and garage tools. Sometimes, I just use a pencil and just draw right into the wax and paint.

I then repeat this process with another layer of wax and drawing while carving and scraping away some parts. I may repeat the process a dozen or more times over time to build up colors and layers. I compare it to a wave washing on the beach revealing new patterns and objects each time.

It is fun for me to reveal parts of past drawings and reveal a new image or story that didn’t exist before. It is almost like secrets and coded messages are returned, retold and rebuilt. I love stately old buildings that have a long history. As the paint and bits fall off and decay, a building’s true character is revealed. This aging process adds to the depth and beauty of the architect’s original vision. I hope that my paintings evoke memories of the past, and maybe tell a unique story through clues and fragmented bits.

Inspiration comes from my fascination with hieroglyphics, iconography, old maps, and typography. I also am intrigued by mathematical and scientific equations and formulas. Bringing these as inspirations into my work, help me to build these stories.

In my Arizona home, I am able paint outside from about November until early June. I stop for the summers, when it gets too hot and I lose control of consistency of the paint and wax. I love that the changes of weather, temperature and humidity all make the experience a bit challenging. But the birds singing and many bees tempted by the smell of wax “cooking”, make it a joyful experience.


Born and raised in South Bend Indiana, Christopher Jagmin was always drawing or painting, and interested in the history of art, as a young boy. As a teen, he would regularly take the train into Chicago and spend hours at the Chicago Art Institute where he discovered works by Georges, Grant Wood, Edward Hopper, and Picasso.

He attended the School of Fine arts at Indiana University, where he studied graphic design and silkscreen printing. After graduating in 1981 with an AB, Christopher Jagmin moved to Austin, Texas. There, he started his career as a graphic designer. Moving up through the ranks at small Design Studios, he moved on to Boston where he continued his career as an award winning Art Director and Creative Director. Opening his own Design and Illustration shop in 1992, his clients included many Fortune 500 companies, children book publishers, and small start-ups located throughout North America.

Christopher Jagmin is also a recognized illustrator. He currently illustrates advertising materials, children’s textbooks, greeting cards, and many commissioned and personal projects. Samples of his illustrative work can be seen at

In 2002, following his heart, he moved to Phoenix, where he currently resides with his partner, Jack. With this move, and inspired by the Sonoran Desert with it’s unique plants and animals, he started to paint again. In addition to his continuing education of art studies there, Mr. Jagmin studied Encaustic painting at the Shemer Art Museum, with Judith Walsh of Oracle, AZ. He instantly fell in love with the materials and the textural, almost sculptural qualities of the medium. He currently paints outdoors from October through June when the weather is usually beautiful, and not too hot for the process. His work was recently published in Cottage Living Magazine (October 2006).

He has also designed dinnerware, rugs, glassware, towels, and pillows. He just introduced his first collection of dinnerware in early 2007. This is a collection of black and white porcelain plates for the home market. His dinnerware can be found in boutique stores across the country and his work has been featured in major national publications.

Mr. Jagmin recently had his first encaustic painting show at the Truro Fine Art Studio in Truro. MA, and at Pod in Brookline, MA. Currently, his paintings and commissions can be seen in homes across the United States.