Diane Chappalley . . . Studio Visit

Diane Chappalley's studio

Diane Chappalley . . . Studio Visit

Diane Chappalley in her studio

What does your studio look like today?

At the moment, the studio is buzzing! It’s absolutely full of paintings and drawings, some of which are finished and others in progress. I am working on a series of large paintings of forest understories. They are based on Saint Sebastian and the symbolism behind the story; he is regarded as having the ability to intercede and protect from the plague.

What are you most excited by right now?

It’s hard to talk about the lockdown in a positive way when the whole world is in grief and the virus has exposed and amplified so much inequality, but at a personal level, I have learned a lot about myself. Painting feels extremely relevant to me right now as a way to comprehend and then articulate what is happening in the world. I also just ordered some books: The Nabis & le décor and Odilon Redon, Prince of Dreams, which I can’t wait to receive!

What is your must-have when working?

Music – Radiohead is my go-to in the studio.

What would we find in your studio that is unexpected?

A folder with drawings I made when I was four years’ old.

What might people not know about your work?

There is much more to the paintings than what can be seen at first glance – and I believe this mystery is very powerful and is what keeps the viewer looking. When I paint, I work through art historical influences and autobiographical references that vary from vague memory to specific anchors in my life: it is a distillation process. All these thoughts and emotions give weight to the work, and are embedded in it.

What do you do to make yourself feel better when things don’t go according to plan?

Chocolate, red wine and a French movie – a good drama full of cigarettes, deviant sex and some heartache.

What is your dream commission?

Painting the interior of an entire space – perhaps an old chapel that is now secular. It would be an immersive painting without border.

If you could own one piece of art by someone else, what would it be?

Primavera by Botticelli. I know exactly where I’ll put it in my house!


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Diane Chappalley's studio