Chris Webb | Prototype Specialist

Chris Webb for AICAD website

Now a prototype specialist for Garmin International, Chris Webb graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1988 with a B.F.A. degree in sculpture. Like other students who came to KCAI, Webb drew a lot in high school. He was always attracted to drawing and painting and was labeled early on as an artist.

“In my mind, it was always predisposed that I would become an artist, although I didn’t have exposure to a lot of different mediums — it was just mainly pencils, paper, watercolors, charcoal. I developed the 2-D side early on.

“I went to a smaller high school near St. Louis,” Webb said, “and they didn’t have a lot of art education. One of the art teachers there was KCAI alumnus, and he was instrumental in saying I should look at KCAI and see if it was a place I would like to go and study.”

After completing his foundation year and then spending a semester in the design department, Webb took an interest in sculpture. He was creating more sculptural woodcarvings and became more attracted to the building process. He spent a lot of his remaining time at KCAI in the woodworking shop, making furniture.

After graduation, Webb spent 10 years designing and sculpting Christmas ornaments for Hallmark Cards, which is headquartered in Kansas City, Mo. His ornaments included the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile, the Batmobile and a series of firetrucks. From there, he moved on to Garmin International Inc., where he is a prototype specialist at the company’s headquarters in Olathe, Kan. His work entails building displays and models of GPS systems, making them look as realistic as possible.

In his spare time, he builds “themed hot rods.” Most recently he constructed a 1912 Model T-style hot-rod hearse. Last year, a friend asked to use it for his father’s funeral. Webb says his next project will be a Model T Chop Suey delivery wagon.

By Brian Spano,
Communications Manager
Kansas City Art Institute