ARTIST SERIES : CHAMBERS AUSTELLE
photo from Chambers Austelle
Everyone, Meet Chambers Austelle
Did you always want to be an artist? If not what did you want to be?
I was always super creative. I mean like with anything. I don’t think I ever really thought about being an artist when I was little. When I was really little, I loved the idea of checking things out at the grocery store, I remember wanting that to be my first job. When I was in college I was a bio major and wanted to do psychiatry then quickly realized with my personality, medical school was not a good fit! I just can’t study all the time because I need to be around people. I still love the brain though. So, I was going to do psychology as my major and get a studio art minor at the College of Charleston but after one semester I decided to just major in studio art. I concentrated in photography with a few painting classes here and there.
I started out doing photography after I quit my job but I’ve always felt like a painter so, I started painting. I painted anything and everything! Having to figure out how to translate my voice from photography to painting was a process. The first 6 months were just painting and drawing and looking at things and thinking about things. Then I found it and kind of went with it. I did a lot of marketing, read a million articles and here we are!
What influences your art?
Thinking about the Birdcage pieces specifically - I use idealized faces by society's beauty standards and explore how this standard is perceived. I use these faces with bright colors paired with constriction and isolation to challenge this belief of our society's beauty standards and what it means for women's roles. You look at these models and actresses and think, oh they are so beautiful and their life must be so wonderful. However, you also think 'what are they having to do to be photographed and look this way all of the time. It has to be constraining and is that liberating at all?' I take their face and create a whole world around them with saturated colors so when people look at them they think, "they are so incredibly beautiful" and I'm over here thinking about how they look like they are trapped and look as if they have straight jackets on basically. Me putting these women in these beautiful and bright worlds, in my opinion, is providing them comfort.
Who do you look up to most?
I feel like I can’t even answer that question. It’s impossible because there are so many artists that have inspired me. I owe my mom so much for being so strong and encouraging. When you hear “you can do anything” every single day of your life, you start to believe it. She’s amazing to this day.
What is your ideal weekend in Charleston?
I love Charleston in the fall! My husband and I love going out to eat. We will go to a restaurant and attempt to try everything. A few of our favorites are Pane e Vino, Leon's and Barsa. An ideal weekend would be sleeping in, being lazy, then maybe taking the dogs to the beach since not as many people are out there in the fall. Then we would probably go to dinner somewhere, have a couple cocktails + a great meal before heading back to hang out on our back porch. We love being out there when it's not too hot.
I really wanted to launch this new series with a bang. So, I asked if Chambers would create something custom for me. We talked about colors, mediums, sizes and the space my lady would be in. I, no joke, absolutely love everything she creates so I was not worried at all + completely trusted Chambers to create something beautiful and unique. She did not disappoint.
Say hello to the striking new addition to my home + life.
I couldn't be more excited!
Chambers will be exhibiting her art in New Orleans at the Saint Claude Social Club on Friday, September, 9th.
Click here for more information!