Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hump Day Artist: Chantal Joffe

This week's Hump Day Artist is Chantal Joffe.  Joffe is one of my favorite figure painters.  It's funny, when I was thinking about who to focus on this week, I immediately thought of her, and was surprised that she had never made it onto the blog before.  Her work had a huge impact on mine in college.  Joffe is incredibly influenced by fashion, and often uses popular models as her subjects (Kate Moss and Freja Beha for example).  Joffe also often paints mothers and daughters, and portraits of children, but very rarely does she paint men.  In her own words, "I really love painting women.  Their bodies, their clothes-it all interests me, whereas men really don't that much, in a way." (

Many people see Joffe's work as dark and highly sexualized, but I've always seen joy in her pieces.  She has an unabashed love affair with oil paint, in all of it's sticky, messy glory, and she is obviously an avid reader of fashion magazines.  Both of these passions I share with Joffe, and it is so refreshing to see an artist deal with the world of fashion without negativity.  It's interesting the way she takes something so meticulous and perfect, like a model in an ad campaign, and twists it and molds it into something completely different and completely her own.  Fashion designer (and daughter of Paul McCartney) Stella McCartney is a big collector of Joffe's work and Joffe has even shot models backstage at McCartney's shows.  In an interview with Stella McCartney, Joffe's fascination with fashion is discussed at length (read the whole thing here, it's really great).  Here is an excerpt from that interview:

McCartney: But what's interesting is that you could easily have taken photos of these girls yourself.  Instead you remain a viewer of magazines and advertisements-and create some sort of double take.  Like, I'm looking at this painting you did of Kate Moss, which is from an ad campaign.  So I'm already familiar with the image, and then I come to your painting to see your spin on it.

Joffe:  When you're looking through a magazine, what makes you stop and think is when you see an image and imagine the narrative that is going on inside of it.  Those are the ones I make into paintings.  (

See more of Chantal Joffe's work at

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