Claude Chandler

Claude Chandler

Cape Town | 15 artworks for sale

Portraiture is the cornerstone of my creative journey. I started my art career with portraiture in 2005. It enabled me to grow and branch out as an artist over the years. It is my concrete as a young artist. The subject keeps me focused, motivated and confident. Portraiture has also given me the skills needed to pursue other fields of art with technical confidence.

Trained as a realist painter I soon found myself at a dead-end. My creative dialogue felt muted as there was no sense of interpretation or transformation with my subject matter as they became mere copies.

I discovered Chuck Close in my first year of studies. I fell in love with the marriage of Impressionism/pointillism with Super Realism. This relationship created a new dialogue with the viewer and the subject. Up close a sense of intimacy is established as web of patterns and forms emerge creating a new channel for communication. Which viewed from a distance a single or unified image is visible.

In a world now molded by social and online media, everything has become digitized. In its primal core all internet information and imagery is nothing more than 1’s and 0’s (binary code), this transformation factors to the basis for my body of work. As a child I was fascinated with computers, especially the ability to ‘Hack’. To me this meant that a world could be manipulated and transformed with creativity… Hackers challenge and change the system to make them work differently, to make them better. A ‘Hacker’ then could actually be applied to any field… I describe myself as a ‘Portrait Hacker’.

My process is to modernize the traditional portrait by mechanically etching it into text. The digitized rendition transforms and re-invents the subject. When constructing the portrait the conventional process of paint brush to canvas is eliminated. I make a stamp by using foam letter cut outs. I assemble a name or word which has a connection with my subject. I continuously stamp and layer the print, working almost ‘blind’ but mindful of structure and tonal values. The process might seem very mechanical, however the formation of the image is very organic as I cannot dictate exactly how the stamps form the portrait… The image finally emerges: transformed in a coded and industrialized web of paint.

N.Dip Fine Art (Durban University Of Technology)

Claude Chandler (b.1989) moved to Cape Town to pursue his art career after graduating from university in 2011. He was a finalist for the 2013 SPI Portrait Awards and has participated in numerous art fairs and group shows. Since 2017 Claude has produced a number of murals in Cape Town and has slowing been building a portfolio of street art works.

He currently works from Side Track Studios, a creative collective of which he is also the manager. In 2018 he also began a new venture with Blended Audio, hosting a visual arts podcast called Art Pod.

Selected Exhibitions:

'Liminal Timeline', joint exhibition with Pascale Chandler, StateoftheART, Cape Town

'Hyperlink' - solo exhibition, WorldArt Gallery, Cape Town
'Together Apart' - joint exhibition with Pascale Chandler, Trent Gallery Pretoria

TR!PT3CH - solo exhibition, WorldArt Gallery, Cape Town

Ways Of Seeing - solo exhibition, WorldArt Gallery, Cape Town

'That Art Fair' Art South Africa. Cape Town.

'2014 Turbine Art Fair' Turbine Hall, Joburg. World Art Representative.

'5th Toilet Cubical Exhibition' Studio 41. Cape Town - Claude Chandler, Roscoe Masters, Kirstie Samson
Finalist in the SPI National Portrait Awards

‘Mash-Up’ Alex Hamilton Gallery, Woodstock, Cape Town - Group Show
‘RED’ KZNSA Gallery, Members Exhibition, Durban – Group Show

‘Re-use’  Durban University of Technology Art Gallery – Group Show
‘DUT Fine Art and Jewellery 3rd Year and BTech final exhibition’ DUT City Campus – Group Show
‘Grand Opening’  The Collective, KZN Durban – Group Show
‘DAG Inspired’  ArtSpace Durban, KZN top 25 recognized painters - Group exhibition
‘Bold and the Beautiful’, KZNSA Gallery, Members Exhibition/competition - 2nd Prize – R5000

'Sasol New Signatures Art Competition 2010', Pretoria Art Museum, National Competition
'Something Blue, Something Borrowed and Found', ArtSpace Durban, Group Show

‘Affordable Art Fair’, ArtSpace Durban,

'Start, The Nivea Art Awards 2008', KZNSA Gallery, Durban, Provincial Competition

Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
I’m really enjoying the explosion in the local street art scene and it’s influence in mainstream culture.
It’s also great to see artists using Tiktok as a platform to showcase their process and/or work.

Which South African deceased artist do you most admire and why?
As of late Vladimir Tretchikoff. Kitsch is kool

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1987

Pick three artists who you would be honored to exhibit with – and why
Mustafa Mulaka, Xevi Sola and Emilio Villalba. Besides the fact that these are some of my favourite artists right now, I feel my paintings would make sense among their artworks.

How did you get started? Did you always want to be an artist?
From an early age I was immersed in the Durban art world, with both of his parents being talented local artists and prominent figures in the art scene. I grew up in galleries and studios and was constantly surrounded by artists. My passion for portraiture was cemented when, in 2005,I began a project of painting my teachers at Glenwood High School. This set off my career as I started receiving portrait commissions, as well as developing my own personal identity as an artist and increasing my confidence and artistic abilities.
I didn’t always want to be an artist, I also had ideas of either pursuing a career in acting (when I was much younger), Stripper after watching the movie The Full Monty, which is still one of my favourite movies of all time. If I focused a little more in school, I would have most likely pursued a career in engineering. I thought in high school that a career in computers was most likely but besides LAN parties, ultimately, I didn’t want to commit huge amounts of time behind the screen.

What are some of the key themes you explore in your work?
•    Digitization
•    Identity
•    Reinterpreting the traditional portrait
•    Pop and tech/digital culture
•    Reality vs abstraction
What should people know about your art that they can’t tell from looking at it?
The model, text/stamp, colour palette and stencil I use to create a painting is often influenced by a movie, song, clothing, videogame or YouTube video I was exposed to. I like taking elements that left an impression on me and put into my latest artwork or at least document or write it down, saving it for later.

Tell us more about your creative process.
I attempt to create paintings the same way one would code a program or render an image on a computer. I emulate binary coding by stamping words and numerals with paint until an image is formed. The result is a pixelated image etched in text

Do you believe an artist should use their platform to influence society? Why?
I don’t think artists are obligated to use their platform for such a thing nor do I think it makes for better artworks or artists. Personally, I feel art is much better at reflecting or mirroring the current Zeitgeist. Artists share their inside world with the outside and sometimes the byproduct of that can influence society.

Do you have a favourite or most meaningful work?
There is a portrait my father painted of one of his students that has always been a favourite of mine which hung in my bedroom throughout high school and university.
Of my own work, I painted a portrait of my cousin who past away which I have hanging in my house, which I never plan on selling.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
As of late, I would have to say it’s the launch of SideTrack Studios, an artist studio and collective. I am so proud of the space, facilities and community thus far. I can’t wait to see it grow bigger and stronger.

What are your aspirations for the future?
Growing my presence in the international market. Focusing on SideTrack Studios and hopefully develop it into a powerhouse art collective and institute within Cape Town.