b. Chehayeb Interview - The Hopper Prize

b. Chehayeb

b. Chehayeb on falling in love with painting, meme culture & 90s nostalgia, exploring a visual language & thriving through chaos and constant movement

How did you get into making art?
I was trying to get into a theater class in high school and was put into fine arts instead. Fell in love with painting instantly during an assignment on Robert Rauschenberg and knew I was an artist after seeing a Jenny Holzer piece. It was a rush, I would skip class and sometimes lunch to paint in the art room. Haven’t really stopped making and writing since this time.

What are you currently working on?
While I paint every day and it’s integral to my practice, I’ve been exploring a language that is painting with and investigating more personal and untraditional materials, I call them memory studies with working titles because they change a lot. I was excited to turn some of these in for my MFA thesis. You can find my artist talk and presentation of these ideas here. Also, the pandemic has increased my dependence on more flexible and manageable materials like paper so I’ve also been focused on adapting to these changes. I’ll be attending the Studios at Mass Moca this winter as an artist in residence where I hope to continue the memory studies, paintings and experiment with scale for my installations.

What inspired you to get started on this body of work?
A lot of meme culture, 90s nostalgia, reading Joan Didion and George Saunders and Junot Diaz and Jose Olivarez. Delayed grief processes, moving away from Texas and feeling culturally hyphenated every place I go. Loteria, a Mexican bingo game I used to play as a kid. The song ‘real death’ by mt. eerie and my children. fake flowers and birthdays, the loss of language

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?
I think I work most efficiently with several pieces coming together at once. Every professor I have ever had told me I do better in chaos with constant movement and forces around me. I tried to challenge this with attempts at being a good student with a keener sense of focus but nah they were right and I still function the same in my studio.

I work most efficiently with several pieces coming together at once.

b. Chehayeb

What’s a typical day like in your studio?
I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s pretty much dead quiet in my whole building until I get there because I come in with a lot of racket, sweaty and ready to be in air-conditioning. I’ll usually start off the day reviewing or making edits on work from the night before, coffee and loud music, writing and reviewing writing then I’ll just jump into to whatever is grabs my attention first.

Who are your favorite artists?
too many to name but here is a few in no order: Robert gober David hammons Kevin Beasley lois dodd taryn Simon Laura owens Richard Aldrich Shane Bradford Michelle Rawlings a billion writers & poets

b. Chehayeb

Where do you go to discover new artists?
instagram has been a goldmine for new artists and work if you don’t get a headache from scrolling. friends are always sending me writers and musicians and artists they are looking plus I just moved to Brooklyn from boston and it feels like there are artists of every kind all around me

b. Chehayeb is an artist based in Brooklyn who was recently shortlisted for The Hopper Prize. To learn more about the artist:

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