Interview with Chanelle Love
Can you talk a bit about your background and where you’re from?
It’d be a pleasure. I’m from Hull, East Yorkshire, brought up on a council estate with, still, one of the highest numbers of crime and poverty in the city. I’m currently studying BAFA at Central Saint Martins, London. I’ve lived down south about two years now.
Can you tell us about your practice?
I’m an interdisciplinary artist; outcomes span from paintings, photography, video, documentation, sculpture, and performance. Limitless really. Recognising the displacement, I initially felt from living and studying amongst such wealth and ignorance became the catalyst for my narrational approach to working now. I guess my works present themselves as complex acts of protest, which are characterised by the lived experience of classism and the prejudices that causes. This is made constant through collaboration, conversation, and my recollection of childhood. I try to have as many exchanges with as many people as possible in every situation I face. Works often carry out elements of naivety and humour to subtly subvert the truths of authorship and legality, and authority.
HDC Tag, 2020
How would you explain your processes whilst making? How do you go from idea to finished piece?
I have an idea and act on it. A big part of finishing a piece is allowing the time to realise the work; have more conversation, read more, infer, educate myself and push it on that way. I try to document as much as I can, knowing everything has the potential to be refined and polished off; but giving the time to realise what it is that I want to designate my time to is how I often work. I try not to think about works needing to be finished, or at a final point. Sometimes the outcome of an idea doesn’t need revisiting though; trying to revisit an impromptu performance for example, makes me lose sight of why I wanted to act the spontaneity.
Would you say you had a traditional or untraditional route into the arts?
I’d say I’ve had a pretty traditional route. My parents always steered me to pursue the things I enjoyed rather than what I should’ve maybe have been doing instead; though , I’m not at all from an arts / culture inclined background but I studied Art and Design at Foundation level in Hull and from there began my degree at CSM.
Louis Vuitton HDC Tag, 2020
Social media, especially Instagram, has been said to have democratised the art-world. From your experience, do you see truth in this?
It’s definitely made it more inclusive and accessible to a degree. Artists can showcase themselves without the need of galleries, and able to network globally with ease. Though, it’s quite an odd notion still; that artists are showing works in the same format of a little low-resolution square. You can be your own dealer and curator and still have criticism and collectors have their input. I guess opportunities and exhibitions are easier to find thanks to social media too. And if you’ve a following, opportunities come to you personally without cuts or commission taken from your hard work. What’s saddening is seeing underrepresented artists have their work used but not, at the very least, credited.
It’s good to remember that not everyone has the privilege of accessing the internet, or desire to have social media. Online persona is something I’ve been pondering a lot recently too.
The art world has felt inaccessible by many working-class individuals, not only in terms of trying to succeed within it, but also in regard to feeling welcome in galleries and museums. Was art a part of your environment when growing up, or was it something that you engaged with later in life?
There was only one main art gallery in Hull when I was growing up, it was always free, and we would go on school trips there to see the same paintings each year. The same with the history museums we had. I always felt welcome, I always do in Hull. Statistically though, Hull is the third most deprived local authority in England, so it was only really when I was around 13 and started travelling around the UK each summer that I started to really realise class divisions, culture and exclusivity. I would be socialising with working class, middle class, Romani travellers and millionaires all within the same month. Now I kind of, force myself to feel welcomed, because why shouldn’t I be. I feel a bit anxious at private views sometimes because I recognise, I’ve a northern accent and prefer a beer to wine. But that’s something I quickly surpass.
Documentation of family conversations, 2020
What do you appreciate about the artworld?
A lot. To summarise in one sentence, I mostly love that it’s a universal language; Cultures, histories, politics, passion, and love combine.
Conversely, what frustrates you about it?
A whole lot. Inaccessibility frustrates me. Industries should be accessible to all regardless of class & identity. The amount of unpaid/voluntary work; passed off as ‘networking’ or a way into organisation that are funded millions – that frustrates me. Barbaric pay gaps in general frustrate me. Elitism frustrates me. I’m frustrated at the inevitability of contributing to capitalism, basically – I realise the degree I’m paying for contributes massively, lol.
What would you say has been your top experience in your art career?
Career is a funny word! Definitely the friends I have met. As well as realising my own resilience and willingness.
What is your dream project?
I wouldn’t call it a dream, because then it almost seems unfathomable, but I would like to perform a pub crawl starting from South London and ending in Hull. I’d stop off at least 10 places at random on route and find a pub. I would hope to make as many exchanges as possible over the one drink I have at the one pub I land in per stop, and for one random person I met, to join me on my travels. We would end in Hull as group of strangers, hopefully, no longer strangers.
What do you feel is integral to the work of an artist?
To teach themselves to not be an ignorant person.
What’s the best piece of artistic advice you’ve been given?
You can never be too well read.
You can see more of Chanelle's work here.