Duff Norris is from Denver Colorado and is currently based in Chicago Illinois. His experience growing up in the American West has informed his interests and practice. Being surrounded by the birthplace of artists’ communes (Drop City in southern Colorado, 1965) and the emergence of what became known as Shambhala Buddhism (Boulder & Fort Collins Colorado, 1971) he grew up with a strange brew of art and spirituality. Most of his early development involved long discussions with his parents, and later his mentors, about the nature of truth, puzzlement about how people stray so far from innocence on their way to adulthood, and why life is still worth living if it’s a series of letting go and conquering desire. Art was always present for him through his own developing skills, but also through his father’s hobby photography. Many of Norris’ first lessons about composition and the artistic eye were learned riding on the floorboards of his father’s sports car, driving through the mountains of Colorado; his father’s camera equipment loaded in the back and Duff’s brother riding shotgun. Norris experimented with photography and printmaking on and off until finding his way into performance art. There he found a unique way to question the nature of reality, our position in the world, and the meaning of our relationships.
His practice centers on themes of intimacy, social dynamics, and the paradoxes of life. He is interested in the nature of possibilities and why things have turned out the way they have. He is curious how concrete or porous these outcomes are and he enjoys testing the plasticity of these structures. He asks questions about what narratives we are telling ourselves, what our relationships to each other are, and if it is possible be known and understood. He is interested in how artist and audience can deploy esthetics and tropes to create a shared space of exploration and exchange. He asks the audience to pose their own questions and bring their own understanding to the material to have an experience with him. In 2015 he complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently working on a Masters of Fine Arts in Experimental Theater at Towson University in Baltimore Maryland.