Chloe Wise On Why She Loves Carbs, Drake & Courtney Stodden
Print interview and photos by Jessie Kohlman. GaloreTV interview by Sea Shimooka, filmed by Lauren Engel, edited by Victoria Brandt.
Unless you have been MIA from the internet recently, you have probably come across that photo of Chanel’s hottest new carb-centric accessory; the photo of actress India Menuez attending the premiere of Chanel No.5’s short film, The One That I Want, carrying a, *gasp* bagel purse. This Chanel bagel purse, however, was neither designed by Karl Lagerfeld, nor a bagel, nor a purse; instead, it was NYC based artist Chloe Wise’s creation from her ongoing series of sculptures of bread-bags adorned with the iconic high-fashion logos of the early 2000s. Ms. Wise is a Canadian artist whose work consistently features the same satirical, ingenious, and creative tone as her now famous Bagel No.5. She’s equal parts skilled and ironic; her work is hilarious and of the moment, but executed with the expertise of a trained artist (she recently graduated from Concordia University in Montreal). She has such a distinct voice that whether it’s her sculpture of a cube covered in fake pierced nipples (QUIT PLAYIN’ GAMES WITH MY NIPS) or her poster campaign for her Prada challah bread backpack featuring Galore Girl Ashley Smith (Ain’t No Challah Back(pack) Girl), or her series of trendy tampons (Irregular Tampons), you know you are experiencing a Chloe Wise piece. Last month we stopped by Chloe’s studio in Brooklyn, and chatted about her inspirations, Drake, and what’s up next.
Your latest exhibit, Literally Me, is a series of self-portraits that feel extremely personal. Do you ever get nervous, putting so much of yourself out there for people to judge/interpret? How do you muster up the confidence/courage to be so open with your work?
There was a time where I would have been more nervous to put so much of myself out there in such an unabashed way, or would have been more concerned with what people would say or think. I no longer have these kind of inhibitions about my work or self representation. I think being honest, unfiltered and over the top is natural for me, and that works. Literally Me is a self-deprecating homage to the narcissism of the artist (in this case me), and the changing definitions of narcissism in the digital landscape. I think comedy comes with honesty, and resonates with people because it’s relatable and accessible. Opening up and being able to laugh at myself has always been an important part of my process.
Where do you find inspiration for your work? How do you begin a collection?
I get visually inspired every five seconds from almost everything, because I find so many things funny. I’m constantly making notes to myself in my phone and have so many ideas it physically hurts my brain. I’m really into As Seen on TV packages, infomercials, grocery stores, toy boxes, puns, rap music, snacks, judaism, my friends, baby animal compilation videos on YouTube, and the concept of Brooklyn. Usually I start a series when I come up with some random insane idea and decide to commit to it. Once I make one or two pieces in a series, I just continue because I think there is humor in quantity.
Who are some female artists/figures that inspire you?
Cindy Sherman, Cher, Alice Neel, my mom, Donatella Versace, Britney Spears
Who is someone that you think is capturing the voice of our generation?
I love Drake. You also love Drake. Tell me some reasons why Drake is awesome.
Drake is Canadian. Drake is Jewish. Me too. Drake flosses being Canadian and Jewish a lot. Me too. Drake is funny! Drake is sensitive. Drake has a hilarious web presence. Drake memes are great. Drake’s baby pics are adorable. What’s not to love? (insert my drake art: https://vimeo.com/91380548 )
Who is someone that you’d like to collaborate with artistically in the future?
Drake. A large amount of Siamese kittens. The Spice Girls.
Personal mantra you live by?
“Stranger things have happened”
Favorite piece you’ve ever created?
I’m currently working on a collaborative video with the Levett brothers starring my bestie Ashley Smith and a whole bunch of secret special guests. It’s going to be out soon and is going to be actual insanity. In terms of solo work I guess I favor my Star of Larry David, and the Prada Challah backpack. Both were fun to cast, paint and create, as well as title.
What is your favorite modern method of communication?
Modern? Like, digital? Snapchat. I like how there’s no ‘like’ system and only my real friends have me on there and can see my daily ridiculousness. I get weird in m’snaps.
Most favorite thing about our generation?
The ease with which we can connect with and access likeminded individuals due to the internet and social media. I’ve made some cool friends on the internet.
The speed at which privacy is diminishing, but whatever.
Most ridiculous thing about you?
There’s a new wave of modern feminism that people have been identifying with recently. A lot of your work features commentary on society’s perception of women and female sexuality. Would you consider yourself a feminist? Would you classify your work as such?
Of course I’m a feminist. I don’t necessarily classify my work as such. Anything I make or say or do is in some way imbued with my values and beliefs, so in some ways yes. For example my Irregular Tampon series is a commentary on marketing attempts made towards women, in which I visually reference the clichéd branding tropes and language of “feminine products”, satirizing them and showcasing their ridiculousness and vapidity (but not without appreciating and honoring their visual appeal). In doing so I’m making a feminist statement about marketing attempts directed towards the menstruating woman, but i’m also just critiquing the banality of marketing in general. So, there are feminist elements, of course, and I’m a feminist artist, sure, but I’m also an artist, period.
Do you think your art is more for you or more for your viewers?
Once again, a combination. Anyone that partakes in art making is inherently narcissistic. One must be, in order to believe that creating physical manifestations of their personal expressions is worth anyone else’s time, let alone money. But it’s also such an amazing feeling to be able to make someone laugh. I think of a lot of my work as comedy. So, a combo of complete selfishness and narcissism, and the inexorable need to make commentary, critique, jokes and pretty objects for people to enjoy, hate or laugh at.
You’re from Canada and just moved to New York about a year ago. What’s the weirdest thing about living in NYC?
It’s not weird. Living in NYC is great. Everything other than living in NYC is weird.