Meet the Artist: Addie Chapin

We are so excited to finally be able to sit down with one of Amber’s favorite artists, Addie Chapin! Addie is a remarkably talented and versatile woman living in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Working with non-traditional media, she creates wonderfully abstract pieces that explore texture and color in unique shapes, blurring the lines of reality in a way that evokes deep and meaningful feelings and emotions.

As the mother of two young children and a dog named Sue, Addie shares her creative journey with us. She explains how a quiet education has become one of the greatest sources of inspiration for her work; create nostalgic expressions of imagined realities to unleash creativity. From architecture to scenography, Addie’s journey ultimately led her to pursue art full time while simultaneously undertaking the journey to motherhood. We know you’ll love knowing Addie as much as we do, so read on and visit her website and Instagram to find out more about her amazing work.


a conversation with addie chapin …


Tell us about your trip. How did you come to become an artist?

I think I’ve always been one, but I’ve spent a lot of time trying to put a square peg in a round hole. You know, the age-old rigamarole of trying to find a safe and convenient application for my creativity that has met with my family’s approval. Newsflash, you can’t make everyone happy! So do yourself a favor and throw it out the window.

My earliest memories are drawing houses on the back of a church bulletin. I made movies with those old dinosaur sized camcorders, built elaborate sets in my mom’s bathroom by arranging all the houseplants and house cats, turned the shower on full blast. by playing “ Jungle Boogie ” from Kool and the Gang to get that just – right rainforest effect. I had a vivid imagination. And a Ouiji board in the Bible Belt.

At the beginning, I decided to be an architect. I signed up for Georgia Tech. I was on the right track, but in the wrong place. I was more interested in breaking everything down, in deconstructing, than in building everything. During group reviews, they looked at my renderings and said with disdain, “Who is the artist?” Ha! Soon after, I transferred to the University of Georgia, always painting alongside and looking for ways to scratch the itch creatively, but never giving myself permission to wholeheartedly. That is, until I apply for an internship with Anthropologie on a whim and get it. It was my light bulb moment. I worked with a girl named Audrey who was by day the chief display coordinator in Atlanta at the time, but was also one of the first MA Sculpture graduates from SCAD in Atlanta. I’ve seen her working in a dimly lit workshop early, early in the morning, doing something from nothing with limited resources, tight deadlines, and coming up with wonderful, crazy ideas. And she got paid for it! My mind was blown away. I realized this was the kind of job I wanted to do. So in 2012 I got off the ship and started full time creative work. I haven’t looked back since!


What have been some of the biggest challenges you have faced along your creative journey and how have you overcome them?

I was my biggest obstacle, actually. The first time I showed my paintings, I marked each one as sold. I just couldn’t stand the vulnerability. Back then, it was still like an extension of me, like walking around the room bare. And then, thank God, I relaxed. It’s a bit like having kids, and it’s probably no coincidence that my development as a full-time painter coincided with my becoming a mother. I could either let the fear of the unknown guide my decisions – gripping it so tightly for fear of the ‘what ifs’, or I could choose the more open path, trusting that she had a life beyond me. . My job was and remains to be its steward, to bring it to life. Letting him out into the world is the real magic. And if I’m lucky, it crosses someone else’s path and hits a weird and beautiful resonant chord.

It might be worth mentioning that from the start, I was committed to doing the job I wanted – not what others wanted me to do. It’s not foolproof, of course. It’s a constant battle to maintain that balance no matter what your trade, while still needing to pay the bills. But I was painfully aware and hamster wheel resistant, taking random orders to paint someone’s long lost golden retriever and slowly becoming a slave to what had initially given me freedom. I knew I needed to protect my art. I said no to a lot of things. I took all the odd jobs I needed so as not to compromise my creative development. It turns out that all of those “odd jobs” actually boosted my creativity. I did interior design, styling and writing. I have worked on a handful of productions as an art director, set designer and various roles in the art department. The pace is fast, the work is disjointed, but I like working in a team, finding ideas and solutions on the fly. Although my work in this area has mostly declined, I am very grateful for it. Not a moment wasted.


What fuels your inspiration?

This is a bottomless question. But at the top of the pile is the environment, that elusive sense of place. The untouchable things that you feel but can’t see. It is ancestral. I grew up in the Deep South and an architect whom I have admired for a long time once said that the combination of warmth, isolation and boredom is an incredible catalyst for creativity. It is true. In a place with such apparent limitation, what we neither see nor have, we create. In our minds or in our surroundings.

This particular notion of southern Gothic is as real to me as anything. My grandmother was a classmate with Flannery O’Connor, believe it or not. And where I come from, it’s downright languid; beauty and death come together. There are spectacular landscapes, abundant holm and prehistoric oaks. And yet, it’s the backdrop for a long, terrible story that, frankly, isn’t as far away as we would like. In fact, he’s looking us straight in the face. You could say that the convergence of good and evil, death and life, holiness and irreverence has always been my landscape. This is where I learned to see.


What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

And to quote art critic Jerry Saltz, who says nothing: “Get down to business, great craft babies!”


What does a typical day look like during quarantine?

I wake up between 5 and 6 in the morning and go down several cups of coffee. Add 2% milk, a stevia and leave me alone. It is in the morning that I think best. Then the children’s education rodeo. We spend most of our time outdoors, swimming and playing. If I have a daycare, I head to my studio for a full day. This is my happy place. But at 3 p.m., I have a toast. I also like to hike or trail the Lookout Mountain side in Georgia. This is where I live. It’s beautiful. And if my eyes are still open at 9:00 p.m., it’s a wild night.


Do you have a daily ritual to comfort yourself at home?

I am in the process of restoring an old Tudor summer cottage that was inundated, so solace is not in my vocabulary at the moment. Add two small children and a dog named Sue. What day is it? But there is a lot of good creative energy. I can see about six people working outside my window right now, trying to piece this thing together and complete my vision of a place to rest and call home. And preserve his personality. There isn’t a single right angle in this whole house, the floors are wavy and I love it. It looks like a boat. You should come someday when I have a chair to sit on!


What would you have liked to know 5 years ago?

Nothing. I think everyone is doing their best with the information they have. I just wish I had trusted my intuition more – but it came with time. Artistic creation is the ultimate exercise in trusting yourself. Learn when to accept and when to push. You quickly discover what motivates you. Performancism, approval, freedom, rejection? The answer doesn’t matter as much as the ability to be honest with yourself. Does this have to exist in the world? Even though everyone thinks it’s crap, does it still have to be done and am I proud to stand by? If so, get your ass back on the chair and get the job done.


What are the three things you cannot live without?

Humor, personal space and my people My friendships are the most precious thing in the world to me. Especially my artist friends. And my two wild children, Virginia (4) and George (2). She decided to potty train him last week. I said, “Go ahead, sister.” And Chick-Fil-A. They have their corona protocol locked, as far as I’m concerned. And if you think I only eat fast food, which is half true, I sometimes pay $ 12 for a bowl of açaí.

Here is a short list of things I come back to when I feel stuck. “Beauty is Embarrassing” a documentary about artist Wayne White. The films of Jeff Nichols. “Hold Still” by Sally Mann. Judd Apatow’s book “Sick in the Head”. “Seculosity” by David Zahl. And this year, I fell into a Wyeth-sized inspiration hole; a whole family of painters is as crazy as you might think. Read Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life of Richard Merryman. It is in no way a well-being. But this is a lesson for two in family systems and American art history. I think it changed my life. And my friend Blake Weeks sends me all the music I need.


What’s next for Addie Chapin?

I am really excited about the work I am doing at the moment. If that’s not the most mundane thing I’ve ever said… but it’s absolutely true! I spent time in quarantine in Inverness, California. Hike Point Reyes, Tomales Bay, and soak up the rugged scenery. All of this future work comes from this place, created from memory. It moved me, the warmth and freshness of it, the chaparral, the textures, the colors. I’ll stop talking before I ruin it. I can’t wait to show it to you.

Some of Addie Chapin’s works are available in store

Manka by Addie Chapin

Collating mixed media paper in a custom black frame

36.75 “x 39”

$ 3,800

Contact or (747) 266-3898 for more information

Tule Elk by Addie Chapin

Home acrylic paint and wax on canvas

48 “x 60”

$ 5,200

Contact or (818) 814-9952 for more information

Pierce Point Ranch by Addie Chapin

House paing and graphite on paper assembly in a custom white frame

46.75 “x 47.75”

$ 4,600

Contact or (747) 266-3898 for more information

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