Today we’d like to introduce you to Chanel Thervil.
Chanel, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I grew up in public housing in Brooklyn, NY. Back then, my perspectives on art were limited to graffiti, design examples that covered the windows of tattoo shops in my neighborhood, and the plethora of comics I’d check out from the library. I was always drawing at home and doodling in class but I never thought much of that. Towards the end of high school, I went to a museum for the first time and it changed my life. I couldn’t believe that there were whole places dedicated to showcasing and relating artwork to important topics in society.
This led me to get a BFA in Fine Art at Pace University. Initially, I thought I wasn’t talented enough to be an artist, but I loved the way art could be used as a bridge to help people connect and think about difficult topics. I moved from NYC to Boston to complete my Master’s Degree in Art Ed at Mass Art. While I was a grad student there, I had many experiences in classrooms, galleries, and studios of other artists that opened my eyes to the endless possibilities. I made the decision to professionally pursue a career as an artist in 2016 and haven’t looked back since. In addition to my practice as an artist and educator, I’m the Program Manager of a non-profit called The Art Connection.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My work falls all over the spectrum of mixed media. I’m traditionally trained as a painter, but I’ve made public art, sculpture, installations, and large-scale portraits on wood that grapple with the intersections of community and individual identity. My training as an educator is a rich subtext of my practice, most visible in the warm interactive and placemaking components that engage viewers to inquire and reflect upon their own experiences to find personal meaning within the artwork. The collection and creation of a wide range of materials for my end products complement the tension and harmony that comes from the desire to have a voice as an individual while also seeking context in a common narrative. I do a lot of research in the form of interviewing people, reading, and watching documentaries as the baseline for how I choose materials and create compositions. The best feeling for me as an artist is when someone encounters my work and they see something in it that feels familiar. Overall, I’m fueled to create things that generate hope despite uncertainty.
What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
I feel most successful as an artist when I have resources, and space to create new work without compromising my integrity or livelihood. I’ve learned the hard way that not everyone interested in my work understands what I need to make it, and that can be frustrating. Many people overlook that making artwork requires space, tools, materials, and a solid amount of time to turn those ideas into something tangible. I’ve become comfortable with the fact that I’m selective about the kinds of things I say yes to. The key lies in the two “P” s: Persistence and Passion. You need equal amounts of both to create work of substance and continue to create despite how confusing your trajectory as an artist may feel.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
In October, a fellow creative, Iris Lapaix and I were chosen as an artist duo for Hyde Square Task Force’s Artist in Residence to create Mariposas & Mangos as a part of their programming for the Latin Quarter. One of my works in currently on view at in Nine Moments for Now, a group exhibition curated by Dell Hamilton at The Copper Gallery in Cambridge as a part of the For Freedoms 50 state initiative. I will also have multiple works featured in the DeCordiva’s 2019 Biennial. There are a couple other projects in the pipeline that I can’t talk about yet, so the best bet is to check out the event section of my website for updates (www.chanelthervil.com). I can also be found posting behind the scenes footage from my studio on Instagram. Right now, the biggest way people can support is by sharing my work and attending events as they arise!
- Website: www.chanelthervil.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chanelthervil/