Meet the Artist – Chris Yates

We’ve been writing a lot about games, so here’s the first of many more “Meet the Artist” posts. Ceaco, Gamewright’s parent company, is making some great innovations in the jigsaw puzzle world. Ceaco strives to feature outstanding artists and their art, as well as explore new technologies involving printing, die cutting and unique puzzle materials.

Chris Yates

With that being said, meet Chris Yates! Chris is the person behind Ceaco’s latest novelty puzzle, The Baffler. The Baffler is described by Yates as “the most unique puzzle ever”. Each puzzle image is randomly designed and cut in the oddest ways to make it as tricky as possible. The Baffler has no straight edges, no overlapping images and many unique shapes.

Each of the three puzzles in the series has a unique piece count: 67 pieces, 69 pieces and 78 pieces. Ceaco is offering three different puzzles featuring Yates’ creations, called the “Spiral of Archimedes”, “The Nonagon” and “Bindu Truss”. You can view and purchase them here. Feeling a little baffled? Check out this video we created:

You can also go here to see what one reviewer at GeekMom thinks of The Baffler.

Yates attended Rhode Island School Of Design, generally working on metal and wood sculpture, but also studying at Brown University for playwriting, set design and experimental electronic music.  He was an assistant shop technician for both the Sculpture Foundry and the wood shop. He’s also held various day jobs including: portrait photographer, bartender, cabinetmaker, video editor, dog-kennel assembler, large-format printer, signmaker, and he was once the Statue Of Liberty for a week (you can call Chris a jack of all trades).

Just a few of the neat things Chris makes

So, between being the Statue of Liberty and pouring drinks, how did The Bafflers come to life? In 2002, Yates began to make more 3D painted wood maps, which he dubbed “Terraforms”.  While he did make some modest income from commissions and shows here and there, he generally had a poor experience with local galleries and art/craft shows.  He started marketing more online and producing more as he could, and then one day in April 2004 he ruined a layer of a Terraform, got angry, and chopped it up into little bits on his new scroll saw.

Thus, The Baffler, Yates’ signature jigsaw puzzles were born!  Combining the time-honored tradition of hand-cut wooden tray puzzles with his modern, colorful aesthetic, Bafflers are by far his most popular and unique products to this day.  There are very few people still out there making puzzles this way, and Yates’ Bafflers have generated a very enthusiastic international following.  As of August 2010, he’s made more than 1200 unique Bafflers.

We’re proud to have Chris Yates join Ceaco’s family of artists! Keep up with Chris at www.chrisyates.net.

***

I won’t be posting next week, as I’ll be attending NY Toy Fair. I’ll update you in 2 weeks with all the details from the show. Stay tuned!

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About Gamewright

Gamewright is a leading manufacturer of family games, best known for such household hits as Slamwich, Rat-a-Tat Cat, In a Pickle, Rory's Story Cubes and The Scrambled States of America Game. Gamewright prides itself on making games that foster laughter, learning, friendship and fun. Kids, parents, grandparents, and educators all agree that Gamewright makes some of the best games on the planet. For more information, visit www.gamewright.com.
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