James Chidister: Sushi-maker, Sir Kenneth Clark fan, and Humanitarian

Rugged, artistic, and friendly with a big heart. Meet junior James Chidister. “He’s really tall and has a deep voice. He likes to swim and wear really fly clothes. He likes to show off his intelligence by doing his homework all the time. He likes to open his mouth when he waves to people,” sophomore Zoe Schlosser said. “He’s large and beachy,” junior Allison Church said simply, while fellow junior Kim Richards added the label of “California cool.” “He’s a nice guy,” Genna Tesdall said, “very artistic and rugged.” “I suppose I’m kind of rugged,” the man in question said. “I really like the outdoors and I go rock climbing quite often.” There’s a place called Walnut Creek in an old barn off University Blvd. that Chidister frequents – “it’s pretty sweet,” he said. “Also, this kid can grow facial hair!” senior Jeffrey Yang offered. “Yeah,” Chidister said, “I’ll go for long stretches without shaving and get really…burly.” Chidister enjoys learning new hobbies like ripping phonebooks in half; cracking masterlocks; throwing playing cards to stick in pieces of fruit such as apples; and picking locks ("That was a little criminal, and I wasn’t really good at it with only pins, so I stopped.”). In addition, Chidister likes to build things with his own hands, because he thinks there’s something really empowering about that, and he likes to make sushi, bake loaves of good bread, and blacksmith; he is currently learning to weld. He also likes California, where he lived for a year when his dad was on sabbatical; talking to people; listening to a broad range of music, from Yo Yo Ma to Girl Talk; swimming; napping; playing guitar; and art. “I love Sir Kenneth Clark!” Chidister said. “He’s intelligent and classy – how could you not love him?” Andy’s Goldworthy’s nature art appeals to Chidister because it’s just sweet to see a large boulder balance on a pointy rock or an arch formed from wedging flat pieces of rock together. His life goals? “Well, I’d really like to get a new hat…” Chidister began before laughing. “No, just kidding, I’d like to go to college, a Bible school, and eventually do missions in the inner cities.” Right after college, Chidister said he plans to join the Peace Corps and go “somewhere with an ocean and beach.” Since he’s come back from California, Chidister has, apparently, developed a strong yearning for the salty mists and crashing waves that are nowhere near our landlocked state. If being a missionary doesn’t play out, Chidister would like to be “an artist in some capacity, maybe making big sculptures out of twisted pieces of metal.” And he reckons it’d be cool to learn how to use a hammer and chisel to free a statue from a piece of marble, like how Michelangelo fashioned his David. Chidister would also like to become homeless one day. “No security, genuinely not knowing where your next meal is coming from." he qualified. "I want to experience what a lot of the world is experiencing."