Will Work for Art: Chris Huson

"Will Work for Art" takes you behind the scenes to meet the people who make the Fine Arts Museums work. This week we meet Chris Huson, the Museums' courier, whose tireless trips between the two museums keep the staff in communication with each other and the outside world. Originally from Chicago, Chris has been with the Museums for thirty-two years!

What do you do here at the Museums?

I move back and forth between the de Young and the Legion of Honor (or what I call "Point A" and "Point B"), with the occasional stop in between. I also handle shipping and receiving, incoming and outgoing mail, office supplies and deliveries.

How did you become involved with the Museums?

I was slowly becoming a starving artist, soon to be homeless musician. Jim Baldocchi, the stage manager for Toad the Mime (with whom I performed) was also the theater manager for the Fine Arts Museums. He knew of an opening at the King Tut/Dresden office [as the Museums' central operations were known in 1972, while the de Young was preparing the first King Tut exhibition and the Legion of Honor was hosting an exhibition about Dresden]. I was hired on the spot!

What is your favorite artwork or gallery in the Museums and why?

Being indecisive, how about three? Night Life by Stuart Davis because it's colorful and vibrant like jazz. Seawall by Richard Diebenkorn–I swear I've been to that beach, and then I look again and it's a different image! The Russian Bride's Attire by Konstantin Makovsky. I feel like I can walk into that painting. It's so completely three-dimensional with lots of sub-plots taking place outside of the central theme.

Konstantin Makovsky (Russian, 1839–1915). The Russian Bride's Attire, 1889. Oil on canvas. 110  x 147  (279.4 x 373.4 cm). Bequest of M.H. de Young. 53161

What do you do when you're not at work?

I play the piano. I started banging on it when I was five and ever since I have been trying to refine my touch. Having grown up around Chicago, I have an affinity for the blues, although my style also incorporates a gospel sound. I love Bill Evans and try to play his compositions as much as I can. I also love Bossa Nova. When I first heard Jobim's Girl from Ipanema in 1964, my life changed and I've pursued that rhythm ever since. I also play a pretty good boogie woogie. You can find me at the Sand Dollar in Stinson Beach on Thursdays and Fridays.

What are you working on right now?

A Jobim song called Eu Não Existo Sem Você and schlepping more boxes.

Do you remember the first time you visited the Museums?

My interview thirty-two years ago.