Chris Janzen was born on January the third, 1982 in Freeman, South Dakota. After living there for four years, followed by three years in Kalona, Iowa, his family moved to California, where he grew up in the city of Fresno. Chris was raised in the Mennonite Church, and attended Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas from 2000 to 2004. There, he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Magna cum laude) in Art and became actively involved in painting and guitar playing in the Newton/Wichita jazz scene, performing music based on his paintings and exhibiting his art alongside concert performances.
During this time, Chris received awards for his comic strips Moxy from the Kansas Associated Collegiate Press in both 2002 and 2003 as well as the distinguished Bethel College Thresher (Outstanding Student) Award from the Department of Art. He also received two awards in 2004 for outstanding musicianship at the Wichita Jazz Festival, for his performances with a small ensemble and big band.
From 2004 to 2007, Chris attended the University of South Dakota where he was awarded a teaching assistantship and earned a Master of Fine Arts Degree in painting. Continuing to investigate the connectivity of art and music, Chris was an active member of the fine art community, showing his work regularly throughout South Dakota, including: Pierre, Sioux Falls, Vermillion, and Beresford; and performing with jazz groups in Vermillion, Sioux Falls, and Sioux City. Janzenís art continued to accrue awards, including the Chairís Award and Best of Show Award at the Wilber Stillwell juried exhibition, Vermillion, South Dakota in both 2005 and 2006.
In the fall of 2007, Chris began teaching Studio Art at Fresno Pacific University, where he is currently Assistant Professor of Art. In addition to teaching all levels of drawing, painting, 2D and 3D design, he led the FPU Jazz Band from 2008-2012, and continues to offer jazz guitar lessons as an adjunct instructor through the FPU Music Department.
Recent west coast exhibitions include: The Fresno Art Museum, Fresno (2012), Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco (2011), the Alphonse Berber Gallery, Berkeley (2009), and Electric Works, San Francisco (2009).
Chris is a member of the Fig Tree Gallery in Fresno, CA, where he currently resides with his wife and two daughters. His art studio is open monthly for Fresno's ArtHop events and by private appointment.