Claude Chandler

Claude Chandler

Cape Town | 14 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 with two sell-out solo exhibitions at WorldArt Gallery. 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 TrackStudios, 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?
Cape Town is the world design Capital 2014, that’s my inspiration for this year. Studio 41 and I have jumped on that band wagon and we will get involved in every possible way.

Which South African deceased artist do you most admire and why?

Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (1886 – 1957). His Interpretation of the South African landscape transformed and elevated a traditional subject matter into something profound. He altered the South African landscape commanding a new dialogue to observe and translate the countryside. He was a pioneer and a brilliant artist that represented the growing spirit of national independence which was freeing their culture from its long subservience to Europe’ In my work I also alter a traditional genre (portraiture), by modernizing and transforming it into something new and elevated.

Which exhibition that you have visited made the greatest impact on you and why?

Recollect – Hennie Stroebel. KZNSA Gallery 2011. Stroebel works with embroidery and ceramics. The body of work consisted of a collection of 17 years of work, most of which had not yet been exhibited. At first glance his work appears to be high quality and detailed oil paintings. However as you get closer and more intimate with the work you realize the detail is not captured with a brush but hand stitched with threads of cotton! It has the same qualities as a painting does; the multitude of colours thread follows the movement and the emotion of the image. There appear to be thousands of individual thread in varieties of colour and directions that together form a highly detailed image. It is also not a mechanical process, as Stroebel states the process is very important to him. ‘I want to have the same role as a painter, treating the creation as an organic process instead of a robotic and set/mechanical method. He has created his own form of stitching which doesn’t follow the standard or traditional process of weaving. His work is presented in a number of fashions. Stroebel’s work is often influenced by his travels to Turkey, Istanbul and other Middle Eastern countries. There he was introduced to Middle Eastern pottery and culture which is very ornate and decorative. Stroebel who often works in ceramics (he is also the senior lecturer of Ceramics at the Durban University of Technology). He combines this craft/discipline with his embroideries. All the embroideries in the park gallery were framed with an original ceramic frame/art piece made by Hennie. This was the cherry on top, the combination of embroidery contained by a ceramic window created this intimate relationship, which optimized both mediums and also made a conceptual connection (to the subject matter.

Where do you get your inspiration for your work?

For my current ‘stamp’ series, I often use celebrities as my subject matter so I find myself pausing and taking screen shots throughout every movie I watch. The cinematography and lighting is always of the highest standard. I love sourcing the internet for reference. I make sure I discover at least 3 new artists every week, that’s probably my greatest source of inspiration.

Do you have any rituals or habits involving your art-making that you can tell us about?

While I paint I often bark or howl like a wolf when I get excited or frustrated with the painting I’m working on… The other artists at the studio have threatened to call the SPCA

What do you like most about being an artist?

I wouldn’t change anything about my life, art has allowed me to experience life in a profound and exciting manner. I have met amazing people and discovered things about myself that I wouldn’t have been able to do so without the path I’ve chosen.

How do you handle bad days when you experience artist's block?
I believe if you wait for inspiration you’ll wait your whole life. The best is always to just start working and generally you find your groove and gain momentum. However if that fails I’ll either go to the beach or have a nice lunch… then end up at the pub

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

When I was informed that I was one of the finalists for the SPI National Portrait Awards 2013. For a portrait painter to be selected out of 1800 entries is an amazing accolade and affirmation to the direction I’m taking as an artist.

Do you feel that you want to make a difference to the world or in people's lives? If yes, how?

Yes, I think it’s every artists duty is to enrich the art community and support art. I really enjoy creating work opportunities for young artists. Last year I was able to employ 3 artists for 2 months to assist me in creating over 500 paintings for a corporate event.

What are your plans for the coming year?
Have my first solo show in Cape Town. Grow and expand my figure drawing and painting classes I run from my Studio. Hopefully go overseas to do a one month residency at artist Max Grimm’s Studio