And Then There Was Brittain

LPTrendsPopCulture: The Artist With The Mostest: Chloe Brittain Part 2

Chloe Brittain. Photo by Silke Gabrielle. Hair flower(s) by Butter’s Market.

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.

Butterflies. Oil on canvas, 2005. Chloe Brittain. All Rights Reserved.

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.

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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.

DeLauney Homage, 2003. Chloe Brittain. All Rights Reserved.

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!

Graphic Girl. Acrylic on paper, 2003. Chloe Brittain. All Rights Reserved.

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. Punk Rocker Series. Oil on canvas, 2001. Chloe Brittain. All Rights Reserved.

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 father; life inspiring art.

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.

Mermaid, 2005. Chloe Brittain. All Rights Reserved.

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.

Resurrection, 2012. Chloe Brittain. All Rights Reserved.

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.

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“Interesting facts about my dad that I forgot to mention in my interview…

My father’s etching and work he would send with letters.

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.

My Father. Punk Rocker Series II. Oil on canvas, 2001. Chloe Brittan. All Rights Reserved.

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.

xoxxox

Let me know if you need anything else…”

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Oh, don’t worry, Chloe. We will. 

Drip Series I, 2004. Oil on canvas. Chloe Brittain. All Rights Reserved.

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.

 

Bitchin’ People Changing the Game: Chloe Brittain Part 1

LPTrendsPeopleArtInnovation. Chloe Brittain. Your next most valuable asset in your art and friend collection. Written by Tracy Saille.

My father.

This first piece of the tale is just a taste of the brilliant work, spirit, and life of Chloe Brittain. Weekly we will be publishing 5 parts of the feature story of Ms. Brittain, because her work is so damn prolific, and because this is a story, like all of our stories, that will take some time to tell.

Chloe Brittain (Evans really but her workist name we love) will grace an issue cover before the year is out because we promised her that, and all 5 parts will be rolled up in that issue so when we all look back on her career fifty years from know (and lord knows how many babies), we can say yeah, I have that magazine story in my iPad, that old school cool story LP Magazine ran back in the day. You’ll say, “dude, I bought her work when I was like 22. Who knew I was buying the next Warhol?”

Me and the Anarchist.

Here then is a taste of what we know about Chloe Brittain. I will begin after her beginning, but I think at a critical juncture of her story. We begin with her origins, by sharing some of the memories and work of her father. Her anarchist, drug-addicted father who loves Chloe like no other, and whom Chloe loves and can quite likely thank for a great deal of her artistic flavor and inspiration.

To know a person is to also know the origins of their maker’s story. Our parents, our mothers and fathers, these are the acorns of our true natures, for good and bad. In Chloe’s case her father had (and has) a drug addiction, a disease which quite likely tamped down the possibility of his own career as an iconic artist himself.

His letters and artistic musings.

This is a not a story of judgment or of lament, but rather a story we all share. Those who make us are not perfect. Those who make us are not always what we wished they might be. But those who make us try their best to get past their own weaknesses and limitations and in some small way be what they can for their children. Most of us anyway.

Chloe’s father is an artist above all things, and he loved his daughter intensely; and so while he had his demons, he also did write to Chloe relentlessly and share with her his meanderings and his art, his thoughts and truths, and they came in the way they came out of him: authentically real.

These are just a few of the samplings of what we’ll share over the next 4 pieces to this part of Chloe’s story, which in the end becomes one big love letter to us all.

To be continued…next up next week we begin the interview. But for now?

Who is Chloe Brittain?
We let her tell you who she is because like her paint brush, her voice rocks…

Chloe Brittain, artist & innovator. Photo by Silke Gabrielle. The MUA is Lexy Lally. The hair flower(s) are provided by Butter’s Market.

“2012 is the official beginning of the rest of my life as an artist. A long time coming.

I buried my passion for art and dream of becoming a creative fixture in the community when I lost my mother in 2006.

I have vowed to myself to make it happen and stop making excuses. I will find the time. I will find the space.

Who am I? I am like you. A busy woman with a demanding career and 3 year-old daughter, with a baby on the way. My creative flame only burns inside of my soul and this year it must be released. I’ve devised a plan to take 2 Me Days each month to focus on all things art & grow as an artist. The first piece I have created out of pure desire and internal inspiration since I lost my mother is titled resurrection. To get to this point I spent my first “Art Day” cleaning out a Tuff Shed in my backyard that was packed floor to ceiling, front to back. Buried deep inside were all of my Art Supplies, canvases and art created throughout my life. Resurrecting all of these items was an overwhelming triumph. 

Eyes, By Chloe Brittain, set of 5 body parts, all rights reserved.

I was an awesome accident born in Reno, Nevada to a conservative, prim and proper, classy, sophisticated, intelligent, successful, long legged, career Mother and an Anarchist, non-citizen, drummer, punk rocker, prison frequenting, heroin induced, Cuban Father who escaped Castro’s regime at the age of 5. Although absent most of my upbringing, I idolized him for his rock star status and amazing talents as an artist and musician and my angel of a mother encouraged it; only ever speaking highly of him and limiting any negative thoughts to a journal for the future grown up me to read one day.

My family which comprised of my mother and grandmother, (better known as nana), moved to Sacramento when I was 5 and in the beginning I was being raised with 4 generations of women in my home; myself, my mom, nana and my Great Grandma Eleanor, who had the coolest costume jewelry, by the way, from her Roaring 20’s Flapper days! I am an only child who only ever dreamt of being as perfect as her own mother and having a daughter one day too.

Lips by Chloe Brittain. All Rights Reserved.

My dream came true when I gave birth to Bailey Beth in 2009.  I consider my wonderfully handsome and supportive husband to be a bonus to my childhood fantasies. My handy hubby builds and remodels homes for a living and has recreated my childhood home, where we live together now, into a home of our own. Our home is a vibrant and happy place, endearingly nostalgic yet very much our own.

I moved to Rohnert Park to study Art and Cultural Anthropology at Sonoma State University in 2000 and in 2002 also enrolled in Applied Graphics courses at Santa Rosa Junior College where I also fell in love with Typography and Graphic Design.

Breasts by Chloe Brittain. All Rights Reserved.

In 2005 I finished my Degree back on home turf with a Studio Art Major; Emphasis in Painting & Anthropology Minor at Sacramento State University. After graduating, I found myself among my peers in Second Saturday Shows and thriving and alive with all of the exciting scenes our great city has to offer. My biggest show was my mother’s last and I have not had another show or created another piece from sheer inspiration and desire, until resurrection.

I am a chameleon girl that loves a little bit of everything whether glitz & glam or getting’ high-centered on a diffy. I wish pink hair was allowed in my day-job and dream of owning a jeep to go on long drives and deliberately get lost in. I’ve been called OCD among my day job colleagues and feel quite proud if a day goes by where I can handle leaving the bed unmade.

Butt by Chloe Brittain. All Rights Reserved.

When it comes to my art however, the messy me comes out and by the time I am done will have paint all over the place. Not only will my hands & clothes be covered but a mess elsewhere is inevitable. Once I get started and enter my creative realm, a multitude of ideas pulsate through my soul simultaneously so I like to have many paintings progressing and evolving at one time.

I thrive on the playfulness and experimentation I bring to my art and get most excited over eye-popping colors, flowing lines, and the spontaneity of the media. I love to break the rules and embrace the result. It is the accidents that are completely out of my control and can neither be planned nor recreated with intention, that are often the climax of a work of my art.

Legs by Chloe Brittain. All Rights Reserved. The entire BOdy Part collection was done in acrylic on wood in 2002.

My art is whimsical and vivacious and I love it. I was frequently shunned by my professors and peers in college for creating “pretty” art but if beautiful creations make me a rebel, than a rebel I shall be.”

Stay tuned for Part 2.

Check out Chloe on YouTube….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0C98TYUdjk0 Chloe Brittain