We have long admired the work of Charleston-based artist Chambers Austelle. Her compositions of vivid color and female subjects, for which she is best known, are striking and inspiring. The juxtaposition, within her works, of isolated environments with prominent figures challenge the viewer to question the way beauty and women are perceived in our culture. We cannot say enough good things about this artist which is why we are beyond thrilled to announce Chambers is now a part of Well + Wonder collective! As we prepare for Chamber’s to join the W+W team we wanted to get to know her more professionally and personally. So, on the eve of her Well + Wonder release, we sat down with Chambers to chat and learn a little more about this talented artist…
What is currently on your nightstand?
A potted tree, a small rooting station (for plants), and a bottle of lavender essential oils
Who is your biggest influence as an artist and why?
I honestly can’t answer with just one artist or person. My work encompasses many different sides of my personality. A few of my biggest influencers have been Rothko, Sally Mann, Egon Schiele, Hans Bellmer, Agnes Martin, Yayoi Kusama, Francesca Woodman, Matisse, Henri Cartier Bresson, Diane Arbus, Edward Hopper.
Tell us about your childhood. What is the most memorable moment as a young person?
I grew up with my mom in Charleston, SC. I loved spending time outside. If I wasn’t exploring in the woods, I was most likely destroying my room’s walls and carpet with some new art supply. Some of my favorite memories from being a small child are from our summers spent at Fripp Island, where my grandmother lived. We’d go to the beach in the morning, have fresh blt’s for lunch, and then I’d crawl up on the couch with my grandmother and the dogs while we watched old movies and ate frozen grapes.
If you could only have one supply in your art studio, what would it be and why?
Chalk and wax pastels. If you needed to, you could apply them to almost any support without needing other tools. I also like the rawness and versatility of them.
What is your favorite room in your house? Describe it.
That’s hard to choose; I love all of our rooms. I probably spend most of my time, besides my studio, in our living room and back porch. Every room has plants and art sprinkled across the walls and in every corner. Even my husband’s study, which is too dark to for even the lowest light plants, has arrangements of dried flowers. I also love the matching vintage 1940’s pink cocktail couches that were passed down to me from my grandmother. One is in the living room and one is in my studio.
What is your biggest score online?
I’m not a big online shopper or shopper in general. I will buy plants before I buy clothes, even if I need new clothes. I found a crinkle hose on Groupon for super cheap and bought two. It’s made taking care of my outside plants babies much easier.
What is the benefit of buying art through a collective? What do you recommend for those that are new to buying original art?
If you find a collective you like, it’s a great way to be introduced to new artists that come on board, as well as keeping up with new work from artists you already know. I think buying art can sometimes be overwhelming for new and first-time collectors. Collecting art is much the same as an artist developing their own style, it happens over time and naturally. My advice would be to not worry too much. If you fall in love with a piece, then it’s right for you.
If you have the entire day to spend in an art museum, which one and why?
I really like exploring new places and museums I haven’t been to yet. My favorite so far though, is probably MoMA. I love being able to hop between floors from contemporary artists I’m learning about for the first time, to artists who have been an inspiration for most my life. There’s nothing like seeing a Yayoi Kusama and then turning the corner and seeing Matisse’s L’Atelier Rouge.
What is your favorite hotel and what makes it special?
My husband and I tend to stay in Airbnb’s more than hotels, but when I was younger my Dad loved traveling anywhere tropical. There’s no way I’ll be able to remember the names of the hotels we stayed in, but they were always so beautiful. One of my favorites was built into the side of a mountain overlooking the beach in Jamaica. We also had a huge mosaic tiled bathtub in the room that was about 6 ft deep. I thought it was the coolest thing.
If you were a lipstick color would you be red, pink, or clear and why?
Clear. I’m a chapstick kind of girl. I tend to keep things pretty simple.
I can never get on a plane without….
How did you get into the world of art?
I studied studio arts at the College of Charleston. After I graduated, I started applying to group shows, and once I felt like I had a large enough, cohesive body of work, I started applying to different publications. I also use Instagram to promote my work and I think it’s an incredibly helpful platform to connect with other artists, galleries, and collectors interested in what you’re doing.
What do you do to relax?
We really enjoy winding down in the evenings on the back porch with a cocktail and a game (cards, Scrabble, and Clue are our favorites)
When do you get the biggest surge of inspiration?
Inspiration can happen at any time, but it’s mostly inspired by visual content.
Prediction for the Color of 2017?
begonia salmon (and the color of our house)
What is your idea of a date night? Dinner and a movie or dancing all night?
dinner, drinks, and some type of show
Tell us about your favorite painting that you have created.
My favorite paintings to work on are the much larger ones. I think my favorite so far is the one I most recently completed for my solo show in February (4 ft x 6 ft). The larger the support, the more opportunity there is to create tension and balance in the space.
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