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Exclusive Chloe Early Interview

Juxtapoz // 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.

More info on Chloe Early at

Hear more from Chloe in our Back Talk feature with her here.




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