On a warm, bright morning in July, we caught up with Chelsea Jeffers in her studio, the walls were covered in her recent paintings, so full that several canvases were stacked, leaning on a wall near the door. Preparation for her upcoming show.
As you scanned the walls of the room you could see the range of her work from art school to the present. Her move to Los Angeles documented in her evolving vision. One wall was filled with her current work: an explosion of colorful figures growing out of one another as another wall held older works, a series of blind contour drawing in mix-matched frames. Her cement floor was home to her dog’s bed, a chair she fabricated in art school, and a small collection of past pallette cloths in a pile- too beautiful to throw away. Wearing paint-stained overalls and a messy bun, Chelsea sat intently in front of her current canvas with her small, fluffy black dog Booda at her side.
Hi Chelsea! Tell us about yourself.
I was born in the bay, raised in Georgia, and I like to say I grew up when i moved back to California in high school. That’s when I really came into my own.
What’s the name of your show at Allmost and what inspired the name?
The name of the show is, ''its getting crowded in here'', because it is getting crowded in here. This planet I mean–I'm not saying some of the crowd needs to be removed or thinned out though...I'm just saying there needs to be some understanding and acknowledgement for the person standing next to us in the crowd, maybe even a little less ego.
What pieces in the show you’re most excited to share?
I feel like the first piece in the series, "loud", is my most successful. I'm also looking forward to showcasing how this series started out, as drawings. The show really explores evolution; from concept to completion.
When did you begin drawing and painting?
Now that I think about it, I've always drawn. Art class was always my favorite in grade school. I still have some of my drawings from 7th grade. But I really started drawing to deal with some rough times in my early years of high school. My senior year is when I realized that is what I want to do with my life and the art class I took that year is the one class that I consider to have been the most impactful. I was able to dip my hands in so many mediums and learn how to use them.
How have you honed your skills since then?
I went to college at CSU Chico for my BFA degree in painting and drawing. I was able to practice the things I was exposed to my senior year. I wouldn’t say I honed anything. I feel like I will always be in that process of trying to hone in on my skillset.
How do you get inspired? What kind of headspace do you need to be in to create?
People really inspire me. And when they are too much I like to turn to landscapes. At times I have combined the two, in an abstract manner.
As far as headspace. When I am too stressed I find it really hard to focus. There's ups and downs and sometimes its a struggle to get into the studio...it's like that with all practices, Im sure.
What subjects do you like capturing?
I like seeing people at their most candid. People who are experiencing life. Reacting to their surroundings naturally.
Since your move, what aspects of LA have inspired your work?
The traffic, the amount of people. I drive on the freeway during rush hour. Drive over a hill and the perspective changes. You can see the ocean of cars all going in the same directions. The white lights and the red lights. The same goes for the sea of people.
How long have you been in the studio, and why is it important for you to have a dedicated workspace?
The month of October marks my one year anniversary with Allmost, which is why I wanted to have a show. I love having a studio here because its not like painting in my garage, I'm surrounded by like-minded people. There are opportunities here. It’s a growing community that has changed a lot since I first moved in. I have really enjoyed being a part of it.
Her show, "It's Getting Crowded In Here" opens on October 13th.