“I thought that ʻartistʼ was a common occupation and it certainly felt normal to express myself by making art.” – Chloe Cheese
Chloë Cheese is a print maker whose work has been exhibited worldwide. It can also be found in public collections including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London and the Arts Council of Great Britain. This collection encapsulates her passion for finding the extraordinary in the ordinary object. She finds beauty in the things that we might not even notice therefore causing you to pause and look again. Her beautiful work is now available to you through Athena and our brand new collections for 2017.
“My mother was an artist and her friends were artists, we were living in a small Essex village so I thought that ʻartistʼ was a common occupation and it certainly felt normal to express myself by making art. As a child l made drawings at the kitchen table while my mother drew her illustrations or cut blocks for her prints beside me. Visiting the studios of the other artists and listening to them speaking about their work to my mother gave me a very practical view of how they lived and worked from day to day. When I went to art school at the age of sixteen the foundations for my practice were already laid. This was the 1970ʼs so I also felt the strong influence of pop art ,music and youth culture of that era.”
How would you describe your style?
“Drawing based I like a line to have tension on the page and I use layers of colour sometimes in quite an abstract way to interact with the line. Because I have often made lithographs and mono-prints the process of overprinting in transparent colours has influenced the way I build an image. I have also worked as an illustrator although I rarely illustrate now it pushed me to draw all the time and take an interest in the narrative quality of my images. I draw in a personal way my primary aim is to communicate something I feel or respond to rather than a purely accurate rendition.”
How do you set yourself up on a morning before working?
“I make a cup of coffee and wander round the garden (weather permitting) enjoying the plants I like every time of year there is always something to look forward to. The garden clears my mind and connects me to the reality of nature. I have to be careful not to start working in the garden on these days as it can use up too much creative energy.
Usually I set up my desk the night before which is in the kitchen on a tabletop made for me on my small offset litho press. I work here because the light is good and all my cups, bowls coffee pots etc are on surrounding shelves. I started working at home because I needed to when my children were small but now I prefer it as much of my work refers to domestic interiors.
Is there any object place or theme which is integral to your work?
I am interested in the domestic interior often using objects which once belonged to my mother or objects from my own collection I like things that might be very ephemeral such as a fluorescent plastic spoon, a tin can or a bus ticket as much as my motherʼs ceramic collection cracked or broken things are equally appealing. I often draw the same things – a tiny yellow cup with a black line print of a monkey shaving in front of a mirror the words or a Shave For A Penny written round the bottom and the handle broken off is a current favourite. Each picture is a personal story about the time when I make the image but the viewer does not have to know that although I hope it comes through a little bit.
More people appear now as part of a whole scene, not portraits, I build up a series of ordinary small episodes which are part of how we live against the backdrop of our own history which we walk past every day. I have been working for a long time now so it is interesting to look at drawings I made in Brick Lane during the early 1980’s for instance.”
How has your work developed?
“Slowly. I can still see the connection with work I made in the 70’s I think we always return to themes that interest us.The main difference is working with different kinds of paint and printing techniques .It is important to challenge oneself not become someone who likes to show off technique in a flashy way rather than use it to convey a message about the subject.”
What does 2017 hold for Chloe?
In 2017 Chloe is working on a series of coloured etchings at The Thames -Side Print Studio in London. Later in the year she plans to travel to Venice with friends to continue her occasional series of mono-prints that she makes from drawings. These drawings are “about daily life against the backdrop of that extraordinary city”.