"He was actually deep in his neurosis. He is getting much better and doing much better.”
The marine artist Christian Riese Lassen, a one-time darling of the naive art set and who set up his eponymous galleries in Waikiki, Key West, Laguna Beach, San Francisco, Las Vegas, La Jolla and Seattle, has been hit with four years probation for breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s joint, waving knives at a security guard and smashing a neighbour’s car window with a wooden elephant statue.
Lassen, now sixty-four, but still remembered as the swinging, long-haired blond in tight pants and leather jacket who guest starred on Baywatch and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous in the nineties, pleaded no-contest to first-degree burglary, second-degree criminal property damage and second-degree terroristic threatening.
Two years ago, yeah, justice moves fast, Lassen, whose record was clean until 2019, went down the hole of arrest, re-offend, arrest etc.
On December 2, 2019, Lassen threatened a security guard with a set of knives. (His attorney said the knives were designed for spreading butter and, therefore, weren’t sharp.)
One week later, he used a wooden elephant statue to smash a neighbour’s car window.
Nine days after that, he busted into his ex-girl’s house, damaging property.
The prosecution didn’t buy into Lassen’s defence that it was mental illness that drove the acts.
“The state does believe this is a case of the defendant’s mental illness getting the best of him and him not being able to control himself in these quite impulsive acts… We are appreciative and glad he has gotten treatment for that, and he does seem to be on the right path.”
Defence attorney Marcus Landsberg said, “Back then, he wasn’t really committed to recovery… He was actually deep in his neurosis. He is getting much better and doing much better.”
Lassen himself said he couldn’t afford his medication and “that’s why I got into trouble.”
As part of his probation, Lassen can’t sink booze or take drugs.
It’s a long fall for Lassen.
Two years back he was still living in a 7800 square-foot beachfront estate on Maui, “with 25-foot-high motorised glass pocket doors that open to the lush grounds, a tropical haven with an infinity pool and rock waterfall, two hot tubs, wet bar, grilling station, and private access to the beach” and valued at fourteen mill.
And the juicer bits from Warshaw’s Encylopedia of Surfing,
Chris began painting with oils while still in California; he sold his first hand-painted T-shirt design to a local gift shop while in the eighth grade. He was soon recognized as both an athlete and artist. Lassen appeared sailboarding in commercials for Swatch and Quasar in 1985, and three years later was featured on the cover of Surfer magazine
In 1992, Lassen created a United Nations commemorative stamp honoring the world’s oceans, and said that his work “expresses the interconnectedness between Earth’s life forms and the creative forces of the universe.” Not everyone, however, was swept away. Surfer, in 1999, called Lassen’s work “narcoleptically banal,” and said that his environmentalism “has the depth and power of Spice Girls feminism.” Lassen was among the artists included in Wall Street Journal’s 2006 “Shopping Mall Masters” feature, whose poster-copied work was likely to “adorn the walls of dentists’ offices, nursing homes and chain-hotel rooms.” Lassen originals, however, were fetching up to $300,000.”
Watch Lassen on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous here.