Distil Artist Series: Chechel
Chechel works with pen, watercolor, and silver leaf to create works that evoke perseverance, repetition, and movement.
Chechel grew up in Alabaster, Alabama, and after college, she wanted to move and try a new city/state. She had a couple siblings already living in Charleston, so it was the perfect place to start a life that had the ocean, family, and a great art community.
Chechel became really interested in photography in high school after she took a dark room photography course. She then attained a degree in photography at Univ. of Alabama. It wasn't until after college that she really began to explore other areas of art, when she didn't have money or darkroom readily available. She feels as though it's actually kind of a fluke in how she fell into what she does now as far as medium and subject matter.
This is Chechel.
What's your favorite part of the creative process?
The start of new stage on a piece. Each stage takes SO long that when I move on to new one, it feels like such an accomplishment. There are 2 stages to the drawing part, then depending on how many colors I use, different stages to the watercolors. Then if there is silver leaf work involved that adds another stage. The last stage is always the most satisfying, the cutting. The cutting is what adds the 3 dimensional look to each piece.
How does your everyday life influence your work?
I would be lying if I said my everyday life influences my work. Or maybe I'm just too lazy to realize how it does. But I'm definitely inspired by environments I'm in. The colors I use can definitely be inspired by where I am, i.e. desert = natural neutrals, beach/ocean= blues and greens. Right now I've definitely been inspired by the desert and neutral tones.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what tunes are you listening to lately?
YES - Oh man...I love Monster Rally. Its my absolute go-to zone out music.
Who or what is your greatest source of inspiration?
My greatest source of inspiration are fish swarms and how they move. The forms they create are mesmerizing to me. I could just stand in front of the large viewing tanks at the aquarium and watch for hours.
Obviously there's no color option for laser-engraving, but when you do get to work with color, do you have a favorite color to use, and why?
Silver. I love working with silver leaf. It's a challenge to work with, but the results are my favorite and come the closest to simulating the shimmer that a fish swarm has.
What are your go-to tools for creativity?
Art museums, Travel, Google, and aquariums.
Has having a smartphone affected your work, or your life as an artist? If so, how?
I would be lying if I said it didn't. Everything is at your fingertips with a smart phone. In bad ways and in good! You can get paid, look up information, take pictures of works and load them onto Instagram for everyone to see. There is just so much you can do instantly right at your fingertips.
Check out more of Chechel's process by following @checheljustiss on Instagram.