Words by Greg Mania
Photography by Jimmy Tagliaferri
Her ticket to art-comedy-amalgamated notoriety came from trolling one of the world’s biggest fashion houses with her infamous Chanel bagel bag. Combining her unique brand of humor along with her diverse skill set ranging from sculpting to painting to video installments, Chloe Wise is unequivocally carving herself a space in the art world and is not scared to troll a few people on the way. Below you will find an unorthodox interview with the Canadian art world star-on-the-rise where we get a sneak peek into her not-too-distant future and may or may not have a troll-off.
I know you’re notorious for using food in your pieces. What is your favorite 2 for $20 combo at Applebee’s?
Literally that’s a non sequitur and I respect it but – no.
I love your Chanel bagel purse. Would you be willing to lend me one for NYFW? I shall lend you my Hermes colonoscopy bag.
Also no, but thank you so much! The Chanel bagel bag has sold, and I’m making a bunch of new ones but they are never to be worn again- that was a performance art stunt and these pieces reside on a wall – unwearable seemingly-wearable art. Sorry, bud.
Scratch that, I love all of your installations involving bread. I love anything that rises in the oven. What food groups do you derive the most inspiration from? Is there a caloric range that would qualify for it to be turned into one of your pieces?
Carbs are definitely the source of my food inspiration right now, although I definitely plan to make some kale-based work. Previously I dabbled in quinoa. Bread items have such a beautiful color scheme – similar to that of a portrait, or like, equestrian clothing. Burnt sienna, yellow ochre…Oh I love it! I don’t discriminate calorically.
Are you a firm proponent of brunch? And if so, what are some of your favorite spots?
No, fuck brunch – it’s like the biggest waste of time, smack dab in the middle of the day like that. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Brunch culture is so Brooklyn. But, like, when I find myself in the luxurious possession of a Saturday fit for brunching – I would definitely like to find my way to Russ and Daughters for some smoked salmon! And Montreal has the best bagels. I miss those.
Okay, now I’m too hungry. Let’s talk about art. Tell me a little bit about your background. How did you get started as an artist?
What artists did you surround yourself with growing up? How have they influenced you?
My favourite artists when I was younger were traditional oil painters such as Sargent, Waterhouse, and the pre-Raphaelite school. I was also interested in portrait painters like David Hockney, Alex Katz, and Alice Neel, as well as pop art by Oldenburg, Warhol, and Rauschenberg. Cindy Sherman and Tim and Eric were also big influences. I’m still in love with all of these artists, especially Claes Oldenburg and Tim and Eric. The combination of the aforementioned artists, that of traditional portraiture, rich thick paint, comedic objects and commodity based sculpture, self reflexive humor, and so on, all combine and influence me to this day. My work and my sense of humor and the things I find beautiful are totally penetrable by the things that inspire me.
I feel very connected to you on a comedic level. I love that you and I are attempting to inject comedy into fields where it’s susceptible to some heavy eye rolling. My responses usually range from someone laughing to someone stop, drop, and rolling out of an interview. What type of responses do you get from the art scene?
I’m thrilled that people have been reacting so well to my devious trolling. It’s been a really crazy year. The whole bagel thing where I trolled Chanel was interesting. Seeing the fashion world come to embrace a critique of itself was exciting and hilarious to me. In terms of the art world, I think that maybe there isn’t that much comedic and figurative/representational art around, so it seems the response I’m getting is that of pleasant surprise. Mixed with inevitable and occasional eye rolls.
Now that we’re talking about humor, do you have any favorite comedians? Why are they your favorite?
Tim and Eric because they changed everything for everyone and have been consistently doing so for like ten years and I’m not even going to get into how important they are as artists and visionaries so just do yourself a favor and order all their DVD’s and thank me later and yes, I’m wearing a Tim and Eric t-shirt as I type this and no, I’m not going to send you a photo.
Were you the “art geek” in High School? What medium did you explore most as a teenager?
Yes, haha. I was a hippie art chick. I was super into recycling (not that I’m not into it now, but like, active in the recycling game). I was in AP English and AP art, reading E.E. Cummings and painting during lunch hour. I was really into oil painting and portrait painting starting around the ninth grade. I was exploring video art as early as the eighth grade without even knowing what I was doing. I would carry around my webcam and shoot all this weird footage. Even made a stop motion using clay. Didn’t really realize it was comedy at the time. Hindsight is 20/20.
What is your most used emoji?
The purple devil and the baby.
It’s abundantly clear we’re living in a media inundated age? How does the digital landscape influence your work? Is it a positive effect?
I don’t think you can talk about the current state of our media saturated situation with polarizing terms such as positive or negative – it just is. So, given that, hey, here we are, this is the way we interact with each other, with images, with art work, with the dissemination of information, why not allow that to influence the work. I am a millennial and I gregariously interact with social media because, of course I do. And I live and breathe my work, so my life does trickle into the work, naturally. Also like in terms of visual hedonism, the Internet and social media allow us to have access to images and photos and information with complete immediacy, which is beautiful, and art is inherently beautiful, and it’s all beautiful, namasté.
How do you see your work evolving in the not-too-distant future? Are there any concepts you can tell me about?! I promise I won’t tell anyone. Except…everyone reading this.
I mean. I have a solo show coming up in Montréal that will have a lot of new things. Insane things. Sculpture, painting, video, installation. You’ll see. There’s a leather component. I can’t get too into it, let’s chat…later….. 😉
You’re a multi-faceted magical creature. You sculpt, paint, etc. Are there any unfamiliar vistas you’d like to explore?
Stand up comedy. Belly dancing. Surfing. Mixology. Spanish. Pole vaulting. Tennis. Accounting.