Charleston’s emerging female artists are taking the city by storm and Charleston native Chambers Austelle is no exception. Her female portraits with bold pops of color are beautiful and intriguing. Her work makes a statement symbolizing a world where women are both idolized and objectified.
The College of Charleston alum has been a darling on the scene of young contemporary artists. Austelle’s work has been featured in local galleries like Redux, The Southern, and won Best in Show at The City Gallery for “Piccolo Spoleto’s 2016 Juried Exhibition” as well as across the country as far as New Orleans and Philly. Nationally recognized publications like Expose Art Magazine, The Artist Catalogue, Fresh Paint Magazine, The Jealous Curator, Create Magazine have featured her work, cementing that the south is ripe with progressive artists.
The first time I laid my eyes on one of her pieces I was immediately captivated. She recently launched her series of limited edition large scale prints for only $100 and I’m so excited to finally own one of her pieces. Fashion has greatly inspired Chamber’s work and now her art is wearable on her new graphic tee’s. If you’ve been wanting to scoop up Chamber’s art and t-shirts, then take advantage of her 14% off promotion she’s running from now until Valentine’s Day by using the code vday14.
View more for my Q & A with Chambers Austelle and find out what inspires her.
Did you study art in college? Yes, I majored in Studio Art at The College of Charleston
What inspires you? Birdcage is a continuation of my on-going work exploring the complex way in which our society views women and its relation to beauty. These mixed media pieces—employing wax pastel, chalk pastel, and acrylic— place idealized women in isolated, domestic environments, the bright colors and alluring surroundings helping to mask their confinement.
With the renaissance of mid-century home décor, the furniture and plant life depicted challenge the viewer to question whether this is a scene from the 1950s or of modern times, further illuminating the recurring nature of a woman’s plight.
While creating these works and incorporating furniture and plants from my home, I came to the realization that my own daily routine—hours spent in solitude working in my home studio—in some ways mirrored the isolation of these women.
Did the afro inspire your hairstyles for the women in your art? I’ve always loved big hair, probably because of how fine mine is. It’s probably a combination of that, along with design. The detailed, more realistic faces transition into larger, flat areas of shapes and color, and the shape of the hair just works really well with it.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
What is the story behind the hand design on your t-shirts? I had a bunch of the hand sketches that I used to make the CSA (Charleston Supported Art) paintings lying around in the studio one day, and I thought they would look really cool collaged together. I hadn’t planned on making any t-shirts, it was more of a happy coincidence that I stumbled upon the idea for the design.
Do you plan on having new t-shirt designs every season? I’d like to offer multiple designs in the future, but I’m not rushing it. I’d like it to come about more organically.
I have to give a shout out to my three amazing studio mates that always keep me company 😉
(left to right: Ella, Wilbur, and Piper)