Chloe is an artist from the small town of Russia, Ohio. She recently graduated from the University of Dayton, and has exhibited her artwork across the state of Ohio as well as in California and Massachusetts. When I contacted Chloe about photographing her at work, she told me she had recently moved into a studio in a farmhouse north of Dayton.
I first came across Chloe when she was in a Dayton show titled “Art in the City.” Arriving at the farmhouse, the view was anything but “city.”
I learned that the farmhouse was the home of Chloe’s grandmother. Chloe converted one of the bedrooms into her studio and spends time working there each day. Chloe said her grandmother likes the company and the rent is free – important for a young artist. We climbed the stairs to Chloe’s studio.
Chloe’s studio is filled with her art. The five faces on the black background are all Chloe. It is done with chalk and acrylic on roofing paper.
The green painting shows a young mother who has recently become part of Chloe’s family. The man in the red painting is Dan, Chloe’s boyfriend. She just finished a series of paintings with Dan as the sole subject.
Chloe told me the photo below shows some of her “what am I doing” moments. “I like to take breaks from my focused series of works and simply make things” Chloe said. “These are drawings, doodles, paintings that are a bit different and out there. “
The drawing at the top left is by Chloe’s cousin who lives next door.
Chloe grew up on a farm, and I asked her how that experience shaped her work. “It might have given me a good work ethic” she said. “My parents worked hard and I think that might have rubbed off.”
Chloe was working on a painting of her little sister Emmie, on a 5 X 7 foot canvas. I remarked on the large size and Chloe said the three paintings she had previously done were all larger. Her recent show at a gallery in the Short North area of Columbus was all very large works. This one is for a show in Yellow Springs.
As we talked, Chloe switched from using oil paint and picked up a handful of oil paint sticks.
I knew that Chloe had lived and studied in Dayton and that she had also lived and studied in San Francisco. While in San Francisco many of her models were homeless people she met as she walked the city. I asked Chloe about her decision to move from Dayton to an area with fewer people.
Chloe said rural Ohio had all the models she would ever need. Her parents regularly invite people in need to move into their home. Chloe lives with pregnant teenagers, abused mothers, neglected children and recovering addicts. As an artist who is trying to paint more than the surface – to “weave emotion, desperation and hope” into her work – she is in the right place.
These large paintings seemed like they would make a great backdrop, so I asked Chloe to pose.
As I was packing up my things, I noticed Chloe considering her painting of Emmie. This final photo, with three of her works as a backdrop, was the one I posted on my facebook page “Dayton at Work and Play.”