LPTrendsPopCulture: The Artist With The Mostest: Chloe Brittain Part 2
This, Part 2 of 5, a series on Chloe Brittain, artist, mother, fellow traveller, whose already prolific artful life requires more than just a few words or one piece to tell.
But then again – all our stories are layered, richly deep, and complex, the unbinding of which makes for great adventure.
It is interesting to note, sitting on my desk at home this very moment, are the private journals of Chloe’s mother, whose story is introduced in this interview.
Those journals are not only the inspiration to what has become the truth and joy that Chloe brings to her work, but also the quintessential love letter from all of our mothers, the letter we all wish we could honestly write to our children, and sometimes don’t. Chloe writes this letter again and again every time she puts brush to canvas, or smiles.
Here now is the first part of Chloe’s interview, the continuance of Chloe’s Love Letter to us all.
We’ll share some of her mother’s journal in the last installment to this series, but for now, we discover a little bit more about why Chloe Brittain is.
What is the single most compelling reason that you create art?
Because I have to. It took me five years of not creating anything to realize how devastating it is to my being not to manifest the paintings of my thoughts and dreams into a reality. Late last year I came out of a fog and was suddenly extremely irritated with my excuses that I didn’t have the time or the space to create.
I am proud to have focused on my career and family, but suddenly a very aggravated voice in my head, a very drill-like sergeant, yelled at me to make the time and make the space. I am very aware somehow that it would not be healthy to keep the passion bottled up. I am a very bubbly bottle of champagne and my cork is ready to burst!
People have compared you to pop artists such as Basquiat, Warhol and Lichtenstein…what do you think about that?
I am so honored when referenced to my favorite pop artists of all time! What an amazing sense of recognition and fulfillment that comes through in my work. It makes me all giddy inside!
Tell us why your father and mother inspire and instruct your art.
My mother, a woman who was almost unbelievable in her wisdom and perfection, always knew right from wrong and carried out the right like a saint.
I’ve never known another human being who has the strength and selflessness to be so unfalteringly dedicated to what is always best for her daughter.
Because of her poise, grace, and restraint to never vent about or “bad talk” my father, I had, or believed I had, the most perfect life a girl could ask for, despite having a father in prison most of my life.
My father is an artist and musician from Cuba from a family with very creative blood. I would imagine, or have learned through observation and psychology of the way our minds work, that to have an addict, non-involved, non-contributing, musician, punk rock, artist of a father, in most situations, a mother would be horrified to see her daughter possessing characteristics that remotely resemble the same interests or talents.
With my mother it was just the opposite. She saw the creativity he passed on to me as a great gift. Despite his less desirable attributes, I have always been very aware of his giant heart and true love for me. I can remember as far back as kindergarten, receiving his love letters and artwork.
My mother framed a great drawing he made for me, of a dinosaur with a Mohawk, and hung it on my bedroom wall. I would stare at that drawing every day with a fascination of what an amazing artist he was. I’ve felt a sense of pride and genetic ownership from those early days, with an innate sense of the artist in me.
I’ve also been creative and experimental since the beginning. My father, as an artist, planted that seed and my mother, nurtured and encouraged me to follow my dream and chase my passion, seeing it as a blessing and having the wisdom to know pursuing it through life was my path to achieving happiness and fulfillment.
I have been very focused in art courses throughout my schooling years, particularly challenged at Sacramento Country Day School, and when I studied fine & graphic arts in college at Sonoma State, Santa Rosa JC, all in California, majoring in Fine Art with an emphasis in Studio Art; Painting, and graduating from Sac State in 2005.
Tell us about the loss of your mother, about burying your art with her.
I lost my mother to cancer in 2006. She was only 47 and more radiant and beautiful than ever. It caught us all by surprise and knocked me off of my feet. She was diagnosed in May and lost in December. It was unexpected and devastating.
We all cope in different ways and I hadn’t realized what I was doing until five years later. I stopped creating when I lost her. I didn’t realize until this year, while resurrecting my art supplies from the depths of the Tuff Shed out back, that I really had buried my art with my mother. The last thing she or I would have ever wanted.
A final word about her father: The following is a last word sort of thing Chloe sent to us in the back and forth of our interview. It bears sharing as it so directly demonstrates the relationship between our past, our present, and our future.
“Interesting facts about my dad that I forgot to mention in my interview…
My father took me to see the Sex Pistols in concert in Chicago as well as Blondie & The Cars. Music being his life obsession, he supplied me with every CD he felt necessary to stock his daughter with a full Library of the history of punk rock and rock & roll.
That was very important to him…everything from The Velvet Underground (Warhol Cover) & Ramones to Bob Dylan, Patti Smith and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Album Covers, Concert Posters & Typography are an inspiration to my art as well, perhaps for this reason.
We also got tattoos together with my mother’s reluctant blessing and stipulation that she was to choose what & where it would go on my body. She let me do it for the bonding experience.
It is the tiniest butterfly on my lower left hip. I actually got teased for it in high school because it was so small it looked like a fly. I, of course, have since gone over it with a much larger butterfly! =)
My father got a pinup nurse with a syringe (of course!) on his back.
Let me know if you need anything else…”
Oh, don’t worry, Chloe. We will.
Up next? The final part of Chloe’s interview plus more of her unfolding art and perspective; also a trip down pop art, urban art, and graffiti art history lane, to understand all those who influence culture.
As Chloe Brittain makes her own name in history, you’ll want the proper appreciation for the weight of her talent and the aesthetic quality of her work.
Read Part I of the Series: bitchin’ people changing the game: chloe brittain part 1
Series by Tracy Saville.