Exclusive Chloe Early InterviewJuxtapoz // Thursday, 12 Nov 2009
Chris Osburn: How did you come up with the name Clouded Apollo for your exhibition?
Chloe Early: The title is a species of butterfly, and I came across it looking through a picture book of butterflies. I'm interested in gravity and flight; so butterflies, balloons, birds, planes, jumping/hovering people are all motifs I use or have used at some stage. Also, around the same time there was a lot in the news about the 40th anniversary of the Apollo mission to the Moon so I was looking at a lot of images of space voyages plus Apollo is the Greek god of sun and light so it worked as a title on a few levels.
Your paintings feature fantastical urban landscapes where strange and wonderful things happen. Is this how you see the world or how you wish it could be?
It's neither. I would never try to improve on the world in my work by creating some kind of painted utopia. But I hope the idea of utopia is there in what I do as equally I'm interested in the idea of dystopia. The best thing about making paintings is there are no rules about gravity or scale. So there is a freedom to represent things in an unexpected way.
Did you grow up in a city? Do your memories of childhood experiences in urban environments influence your art and how you interact with cityscapes as an adult?
I grew up in the countryside but quite close to a small city. So I had a bit of both. But the first time I lived in a city I was 19 and I found it different and the urban landscape quite arresting. I started making work about the urban environment soon after that move.
The tone of Clouded Apollo is darker and more somber than much of your previous work. Care to comment?
I wanted to push my colour palette outside my comfort zone and make it a bit darker. Also, I decided I didn't want to paint any more Ferris wheels or circus imagery this time. Even though most of those paintings were of abandoned theme parks I still felt the idea of celebration was too real. I suppose I wanted these paintings to be more rich and regal and the references to be more reflective.
For these new paintings you used a variety of surfaces: metal, linen and perspex. Was working with these new surfaces a first for you? How did you find painting on them compared to more traditional surfaces?
I have painted on aluminum for years and I would say I am most comfortable on metal. Perspex was new for me, and its something I'll try a bit more of in future I hope. It's interesting having such a slick colourful plastic surface as a base and then paint in oils, which is such a traditional medium.
Catch Chloe Early’s Clouded Apollo at Stolen Space Gallery. See more work from the show here.