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Local artist adds new life
to Hampton parade

 

By Melissa Robinson
Contributing Editor 

  In just a few short weeks, floats of all types will make their way down Main Streets all over the United States, including Hamp-ton where parade organizer Chris Moore has revamped the parade reputation of the quaint Georgia city.

Chris Moore works on a Styrofoam 3D sign for a local Hampton business. Between his work and the Christmas parade, Moore is kept busy in his Hampton studio.        Photo by Melissa Robinson

  Moore, a local artist and business owner, took over direction of the parade last year, and has helped shape the parade through his artwork, aiding marchers by helping to design and build floats for the Christmas extravaganza.

   The 41 year old husband and father of four young boys, grew up in Stockbridge and now makes his home in Hampton. Although he has had no formal training other than high school art classes, he has been working as an artist for the past 20 years, full time for the past ten and in his current location on E. Main St. in Hampton for the past four years.

  He credits his high school art teachers, and his drafting teacher, Debbie Peabody, for pushing him to work hard and fine-tune his artist abilities.

  Although before pursuing his art as a full time job, being from a long line of military men, he served a short time in the United States Navy and upon leaving the military, embarked on a career as a fireman in Henry County.

  Moore fuses his creativity and God-given artistic talent, with his construction training to come up with a niche market where he creates signs out of Styrofoam for area businesses and churches. He started out as a muralist, traveling as a missionary and creating artwork through murals throughout the United States and abroad during his many mission trips. Upon expanding his artwork, he has worked with metal and other materials but found his unique niche in working with Styrofoam. His work may be viewed throughout Henry County, including municipal signs, such as the Coley Park sign in Hampton, the giant hot dog for CJ’s Hot Dogs at Eagles Landing, and many other businesses. He has developed a reputation for creating unique 3D signs that are pieces of art.

   He said he enjoys working with Styrofoam because of its versatility, allowing him to make intricate carvings and noted the ease of installation.

  “Styrofoam is great because it’s very versatile and lightweight, which helps when installing it. But it can be made to look like wood, metal, stone, almost anything,” said Moore.

  He originally used hand tools to carve the Styrofoam, but eventually invested in a $20,000 machine that allows him to program in a design on the computer and the machine cuts it to specifications. He can then add the intricate details and utilize hand tools for the remainder of the work. Throughout his studio, he also has a variety of self-built tools and work stations, and credits his years in construction for his ability to fuse the two crafts.

  “I don’t make art, I build it,” he smiled.

  Moore’s pieces have earned him a lucrative career, with smaller pieces fetching up to $5,000 and larger, more intricate 3D art and mural combinations reaching into five figures.

  “I’ve never had to advertise my business, but I have gotten plenty of work through word of mouth,” said Moore.

  A self-confessed workaholic, he can often be found working in his East Main Street art studio late in the evening or on weekends, where his family often brings dinner to him, and gets in some treasured family time.

   Right now Moore is concentrating his efforts on the upcoming Hampton Christmas parade, which he expects will be even bigger and better than last year.

He said last year’s event attracted more than 5,000 people to downtown Hampton and expects this year will surpass that number. In addition to merchants staying open late for this year’s parade, there will be marchers, bands, tumblers, dance troupes and of course, elaborate floats. And new this year, the first ever Hampton Idol winner will be the featured singer after the parade.

  “We just wrapped up the first round of auditions and have five finalists and two alternates,” he said.

  Moore said there were 32 contestants in all and paring down to the top five was difficult,

  “They were all so talented and great, but we have the finalists ready to sing on Thanksgiving during the lighting of the Hampton Christmas tree,” he said.

  This year Hampton’s Christmas parade will be held on December 6, and although he won’t dish on specifics for floats in this year’s parade, Moore promises that the audience won’t be disappointed. He said this year parade goers can expect a great kickoff to the holidays by welcoming Santa and his reindeer to downtown Hampton. He said that downtown businesses will stay open until 9 p.m. offering holiday treats and parade goers shouldn’t be surprised to see a few snowflakes, thanks to the power of technology.

  In another life, if he wasn’t creating his unique art, Moore said he would be wearing a uniform, either Navy or fireman.

  “I have a great respect for those in uniform, and if I wasn’t making a living as an artist, I would definitely be back in public service,” said Moore.

  Hampton’s lighting of the Christmas tree will take place on Thanksgiving evening, November 22 at 7 p.m. The annual Christmas parade will be on Thursday, December 6, and begin at Hampton Elementary School at 7 p.m. For more information on this year’s festivities, call 678-758-0606.

 

 

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