Artist Feature: Chloé Berthelier
March 13, 2021
For how long have you been drawing/making art?
Ever since I can remember! Even when I was really little and it was just some crayon coloring, I’ve always done some kind of art. I started with drawing I guess. Pencils and paper are just always around so it was what I gravitated towards.
When did you start to get more serious about your hobby and focus on developing your talent?
When my friends, teachers, or parents’ friends started to genuinely compliment my art, it made me feel like I found my thing, something that I enjoyed and others appreciated. In the many different schools I went to, art class was always something I would look forward to more than some other classes; when I started to realize that more and more, I knew that my life and my future had to involve my art, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing what makes me happy. I would say I was always “serious” about what I did, but high school was definitely the time it hit me to take even greater action to improve my existing skills and practice new ones because I know it’s what I’m meant to do.
Would you say your artistic inclination runs in your family?
Yes. Art is a broad term. It can be seen, heard, felt, tasted. My dad, for example, is a chef, and in general is also very handy with things. My dad’s brother is a chef too. My father’s mother and sister are also very talented when it comes to sewing. I consider food as art that can be tasted and clothes as art that can be worn. On my mother’s side, my great grandmother was a singer, so I think of that as art that can be heard. I don’t think you have to be artistic in the same way as a relative—I think it’s the creativity and eye for aesthetic that is passed down.
What is your preferred medium, or do you alternate?
Great question, because I’m trying to figure that out for myself! I try many different things and always want to try more.
Where do you find inspiration for your pieces? Does it come randomly, or do you intentionally search for it? (Or both?)
Both. It depends on my mood and what I’m doing. If I want to try something completely different than I’ve done before then I might search for inspiration, but most often it’s just urges that get me going on something. The most common inspiration I have is random things I see that just strike me, or simply really strong emotions.
How do you approach making a new piece? Are there steps you tend to follow, or is it random?
Totally depends, (sorry if I’m no big help here lol)! A lot of the time I’ll sketch my idea on paper to gather my thoughts, because if I’m really inspired… it’s chaotic. Other times I just look for colors, mediums, and references that draw my attention for the particular piece and just go for it.
What is one of the most difficult things about art?
Being done. I’m never done! There’s always something more I could do… but I think most artists struggle with this. I love what I do so much that it drives me a little mad sometimes. Also, ideas are hard to materialize all the time… some are so complex that only a summary of it can be achieved. This doesn’t mean it’s any less great, but it’s just not the same, especially if it’s based on an abstract thought.
What is the most rewarding thing from art?
Feeling like I expressed myself the way I wanted to.
What do you hope to accomplish through your artwork? (For example, do you want to send a message, put meaning or your feelings in it, tell a story, evoke emotions, etc?)
All the above. I want to express myself and my ideas or feelings, but also create an opportunity for someone to feel or see something meaningful when they look at my art, even if it’s something completely different from what I feel or see. For example, some people don’t see the beauty in the abstract because they can’t see physical objects or things, while others see ideas or emotions. They can relate to it. The same is true for realistic pieces. Some people just see an image, a thing or person. Others see the moment that was captured. The entirely separate existence of that moment in the present, and all the life it was surrounded by in that distinct moment in time.
What do you tend to focus your artwork on? (For example theme wise: faces, nature, surrealism, supernatural, random…)
Anything. I love faces because I like thinking really deep into how they exist and are perceived, I could ramble on about that, but I still do all types of work.
If you draw faces, how do you approach drawing them?
I tend to go realistic, however I have done abstract before as well. I have a lot of appreciation for cartoon faces too, but I gravitate more towards realistic due to my fascination with facial expression. When I approach a realistic face I either gather lots of references before I begin or make my own by photographing myself, friends, or family. Then, I do a lot of sketching.
How do you deal with art block? Have you come across hitting a skill plateau when you feel like you’re not improving, and if so how did you overcome/deal with it?
Yeah, I’ve had artist’s block, but I was lucky so far and didn’t have it go on for too long. I think it happens emotionally and then once you understand it you can get over it. Getting inspired by other artists motivates me during such times too!
When I was a little younger and had phases where I only drew or I only painted similar things, that’s when I probably faced a skill plateau because I didn’t try anything new. I think to overcome it you probably just need to force yourself to try something completely different. You can’t not improve if you keep doing art, while also pushing yourself out of what you’re used to. Great art teachers that make you try different concepts, techniques, and styles really, really help you improve too! (Shout-out to Mr. Wilson)!
What are some of your favorite art classes you’ve taken in and out of school (or other learning resources), and what have you learned?
Honestly, other than school art classes I haven’t really taken any others yet, I plan to do that more though. I definitely have to say that I learned a lot out of taking Drawing & Painting 2 and 3 with Mr. Wilson this school year and the last. As for other resources, YouTube is really great! I mostly just use it to watch other artists do their style of art, which inspires and motivates me to do mine and try new things too. Sometimes I’ll just look up a specific style or technique and watch videos from there to learn a new trick.
Do you plan on pursuing a career in art?
100%. What career in art I wanted to pursue has changed here and there, but currently I’m thinking about becoming a digital artist of some sort, maybe for logos or book art or something like that.
What advice do you have for other people wanting to improve their art?
Don’t give up. Learn from your mistakes. And honestly, keep practicing, you can’t get good if you don’t do enough of what you want to be good at. Just remember, (and I’m trying to remind myself of this daily), there’s no such thing as perfect, and that goes for everything in life!!
Want to see more of Chloé’s art? Check our her art account on Instagram @artiste_cocob