Chloe Wise, ‘I have bad taste in people but good taste in myself’

Chloe Wise is a multidisciplinary artist with quite the deadpan, quirky presence. Her paintings are recognizable for the array of playful female characters that usually pose alongside any type of food, though, squishy, unctuous fruits and carbs hold a preference.

Life’s rough, but not rough enough, 2016

A Fantastic Ignorance, Pornographic Christmas Tree, I have bad taste in people but good taste in myself, You’re going to need a better rival, etc. are just some of the catchy phrases Wise used to name her picturesque works of art. She has exhibited along some of the biggest names among artists. Artists like Richard Prince, John Currin and Jeff Koons. Her work has been shown at Frieze, NADA, Art Toronto, artmonte-carlo, Dallas Art Fair, artgenève… She published a book that includes contributing texts by Jeffrey Deitch, Loreta Lamargese and Eric Wareheim. Her closet is enviable, she exudes flamboyance and on top of everything, she is funny.


Chloe, for a start, what is your art about?

A lot of things. My work is pop art, in a way. It explores portrayals and stereotypical depictions of the female body in art history and in the media. It satirizes the imagery, symbolism, language and tactics used in advertising. I aim to dismantle the banality and simultaneously celebrate the humor and beauty found in the trend cycle as it pertains to fashion, food and mainstream media. Also, I aim to compare cycles to the continuous mutability of life and death.

When and how did the switch from being a stylist, blogger and cat enthusiast to being a practicing artist happen?

I’ve always been an artist since I was born. I’m still a cat enthusiast, vlogger, class clown and I’m not even in school.

When you show your work to a wider audience, what kind of reaction do you find most complimentary?

Laughing, crying… Any emotion will do.

You work as a multidisciplinary artist, do you usually work at one thing at the time or you switch throughout different mediums to eliminate boredom?

The latter, but only boring people get bored.

How often do you paint? Is it like a job schedule, or you paint when you feel like it?

I paint all the time. Whenever I can, which is usually every day from 4 to 10 hours, depending what else is going on that week. But yes, it’s like a job, but it’s also the thing I love to do the most in the world. Aside from dancing and eating.

If your paintings came with a soundtrack, what would we be listening?

Angelo Badalamenti with Ja Rule rapping (defensively) about Fyre Festival over the verse, with some rainforest sounds sprinkled in for ambient effect, and the sound of my phone receiving texts.

What was the last text message you send and the last one you got?

The last text I sent was, “Hopefully in 2 hours you’ll be dancing and shredding guitar on your roof lmao.” OK, that was actually a DM.

The last text I received was from a friend who is on the way to Venice, “I’ll bring you back pasta and kisses #pastaflavoredkisses.”

When did you notice people started paying attention to your work? Was it one piece in particular or was it a building thing?

It built up. But the first piece that got attention was the Star of Larry David, a Jewish star made of hand painted bacon. Then came the bread bags.

What’s the best criticism you’ve ever received from someone you respect?

People I respect and don’t respect both tell me to slow down. I speak really quickly and take on too many projects at once. I think that’s good advice. I usually just ask a Berlin-based Canadian artist who is also a mentor of mine, Stephen Appleby-Barr, for painting advice and he generally schools me on color theory.

What’s the worst criticism you’ve ever received from someone you respect?

I get irritated when people I respect seem to adhere to a very conservative way of seeing art and the future of art making. When people tell me to tone it down or be less “out there,” I think “naaah.”

Do you like collaborations or you are one man’s band?


On what?

Depends on how I feel.

What are you working on at the moment?Painting and plotting one thousand sculptures.

“Wise has a lot of friends.” taken from an article written about you. But how many of those ‘many friends’ do you actually consider being your real friends? I can imagine a lot of people know you and are fond of you, but how tight is your inner circle?

My inner circle looks like the logo for the Olympics. I have different inner circles and love a lot of people. My inner-inner circle is roughly eight people who are ride or freaking die. Do you want to know my star sign or favorite color too?

Sure, go for it. While at it, what is your favorite food and go to drink?

OK, I’m a Sagittarius and my favorite food might be Shakshuka, but only today because I made it this morning and it was terrific. Favorite drink, I don’t know, I love anything grapefruit related.

 How good are you at keeping secrets?


What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever overheard?

Everything ever and that’s why all of the titles of my work are overheard quotes.

Interview: Katja Horvat

Photo: Courtesy of the artist

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