Chanel Markus is the type of artist who is unlikely to be bound by the physical and material constraints we all seem to face as creatives. Her art is transcendent, stretching beyond technicalities and allowing us to explore the depths of her unique visions.
Cultured and introspective, Chanel mesmerizes audiences with watercolours and we can’t think of a lovelier place to be than inside her beautiful mind.
The Chanel Markus Interview
Hey, Chanel! We’d love to know more about you.
I am a self-taught artist. I’ve always loved colours and creating. I painted and decorated almost everything I owned growing up. The walls of my bedroom were covered in mood boards, posters, and pretty pictures. I’m a very visual person. I always feel the need for my surroundings to be beautiful and interesting. People have described my apartment as a museum, where they want to stare at all the objects I own [laughs].
I became a Makeup Artist after high school. I loved having faces as my canvas and being able to transform people. The fun I had with makeup stopped once I dove deeper into the industry, finding most people to be very superficial. I realized I didn’t want to surround myself with that. I went on to start teaching children’s Art and Craft classes as working with kids had a more positive energy. I created art and was selling and sharing my work on the side for years, but more recently decided to dedicate more time to my passion. I created a website, and this year, opened an Etsy Shop!
Personally, what would you say is most inspiring and challenging as a watercolour artist?
I find inspiration in how fluid the water is. The colours move effortlessly with the water, mixing and softening. Sometimes I feel it’s got a mind of its own. I love working with that. In contrast, what I find challenging in painting with watercolours is how what I paint can, at times, look different once it has dried.
I notice that there is so much culture and diversity in the Little Ladies series. What’s the story behind it?
Little Ladies is about a simple uniqueness. There are things about each one of us that stand out or makes us stand out, from our hair to our eyes to our accessories, etc. Whatever it may be, each little lady has her own little look.
The Faceless series is powerful to say the least! Does this series represent feminine identity or lack thereof … Or is it a way of showing that there is so much more beneath the surface?
Thank you! The Faceless series is about many things, and to each his own. I love your interpretation, and for various pieces, you are spot on! I mix images to evoke different ideas and feelings. Sometimes, it’s a glimpse at a side you may not instantly see in her – what she may be thinking about. Judging a book by its cover only to find out how wrong you were. Duality is also something I’ve always found interesting. I am a Gemini after all.
“I created the Enchanted Planets series because I love astrology and astronomy and have always been interested in things beyond our typical reach. I like playing around with both concepts and creating my own planets places.” – Chanel Markus
Are you a big fan of comics and animation?
Growing up, I watched cartoons on TV all the time. Here and there, I still do. I wouldn’t say I am a big fan of this genre, but it is art, and I love art! As far as comics went, I had a very small interest. Archie and Cheryl Blossom comics were my favourites, with the classic images, fun fashion, and funny stories. I also absolutely love Junko Mixuno’s mangas as well.
So, what draws you to the magazine images you incorporate into your artwork?
Magazines are everywhere and they were when I was growing up. I kept seeing the same images or models or ads. At first, it was just fun playing with changing these things from something I was sick of seeing into something I had never seen before. I still love doing this, creating and transforming images into something I love seeing.
Eye See You is very intriguing. For a series based on the eyes, what made you leave the eye sockets empty?
The idea that we have a third eye, an inner knowing, and are able to see without using our eyes – seeing without seeing. I took this concept and my love for creepy things and meshed them together. You will notice many eyeless faces in my works.
I’d love to take a guess here. The vertical connections of Abstract Nature represent the beauty and the power of nature both above the surface and underground. Is this assumption somewhat correct?
Yes! I believe everything is connected in ways we cannot even fathom at times. These connections we cannot often see in reality, but I have represented them clearly in my paintings.
Do you have a favorite piece or series at the moment?
That’s a hard question to answer, I bounce between favourites. I love creating and expressing my ideas in various ways. If I had to pick right now, I would go with Faceless. As I collect and compose different images, my mind floods with new ideas constantly, which is always fun and inspiring.