The new Vanguard – Artist Profile: CHLOE GROVE

Photography ROBERT BEYER

4SEE puts a spotlight on young artists from the international art scene whom we deeply admire for their explosive talent and limitless creativity. We respect them even more for their tenacity in the face of overwhelming odds of fame and success in the hypercompetitive artworld. Their incomparable ability to let us share in feelings, emotions, ideas, issues, and concepts that count make us want to take a second and third look at their work. But it is their genuine passion for their art that comes through when you speak with these heavyweights of the art world in Berlin and New York—two of the cultural capitals of the world.

Age 35
Nationality British
Medium Coloured pencil on paper
Based in Berlin, Germany
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Sonnenbrille von MICHAEL KORS 0MK2048
Sonnenbrille von MICHAEL KORS 0MK2048

Did you always know that you were going to be an artist?

Growing up, my parents were designers working from home so I was surrounded by artistic activity from the beginning. I started drawing in their studio with the abundance of materials available when I was very small so I was always pretty sure it would be a part of my life in one form or another.

Do you find the artworld cutthroat and competitive, or is it also supportive and community-minded, or something inbetween?

On the whole, my experiences so far have been very positive. I find that if the reception I get isn’t such then it is best to just forget about it and try a different avenue. I get a lot of inspiration from other artists I have met who are further along than me who have been warm, encouraging and insightful. I have also encountered gallerists and curators who truly believe in nurturing emerging talent. It is, of course, a very competitive industry but, for me, it is all about searching for the right people and building relationships with them.

What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment so far?

I spent a number of years experimenting with different media: painting, printmaking, sculpture, and then developed a relatively unorthodox way of working with coloured pencils which took a significant amount of time to really get to grips with. Striving to become a draughtsperson whereby creative output can then emerge intuitively in a learned language is certainly something I am happy I invested so much into. It is, however, definitely something which is always, as it should be, in-progress.

Does art always need to be relevant? Is there a place for aesthetic indulgence, or do politics come into play in your motivation?

In these seemingly crazy political times, there is a propensity towards feeling art has to incorporate politics in order to be relevant but there is also room for pure visual escapism. Considering the rise of camera phones, instagram and the prevalence of image-manipulation software, I think aesthetic indulgence in art is relevant as a commentary on today’s society. I try to emphasise this aesthetic focus by producing large-format, tangible manifestations of digitally-inspired imagery as a reaction to the stream of instantaneous visual information we are so used to viewing, mostly on tiny screens. 

If not politics, then what are the key sources of inspiration for you? 

I feel being the age I am and witnessing the watershed of the digital revolution first-hand is a massive inspiration. I saw my family, as designers, alongside their contemporaries, having to make the leap into the unknown and saw the effect it had on those who went with it and those who tried to resist. I try to always incorporate into my work the two points in time, the before and after digitalisation. I believe we are on the verge of another watershed now with what we understand about the essence of matter and the universe: the work at facilities like the Large Hadron Collider and through ever-advancing space exploration which also stimulates my imagination and which I reference in my drawings.

What is it like to live/work in Berlin?

Berlin is a rapidly evolving city which is exciting to witness firsthand. There is a tendency to throw around terms like ‘gentrification’ and complain about the rising cost of living but I continue to find it a very inspiring place to be. I still encounter great aspects of the place, both historical and recently established, which are new to me all the time. I was lucky that I managed to find a studio here when I did, in 2009. If I was trying to follow the same path, to come here and have the freedom to really experiment and not have to rush to make what I do instantly economically viable, then I think it would be much more difficult now.

What is next for you, an immediately upcoming project or chance to see your work?

I have work on show currently at Galleri Heike Arndt in Berlin until the end of September. Aside from that there are at least two more upcoming exhibitions in the pipeline for this year about which I will release details on my website very soon.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time, where would you like to see your artwork and at what scale?

Within the next few years I hope to be able to exhibit outside Europe, to produce work in response to encountering a culture new to me such as Japan. I want to continue to produce larger, more meticulous drawings in coloured pencil and advance the new technique I am currently developing which evokes the crystallization patterns found in iron meteorites. Further into the future, I would love to send a physical piece of work into space and let it drift out into the cosmos or to have an exhibition on the moon!