For our first artist interview of 2015, CSA co-founder, AnneTrabue Nelson talked with Chambers Austelle about her daily life as an artist, how she became an artist, and more.

AT: Do you remember the first piece you ever made?

CA: My mother has so many pieces she’s saved from me growing up. They’re almost more like artifacts. There are pieces framed from before pre-school, sculptures from grade school, high school still lifes, and some really embarrassing paintings from college. The really old ones are my favorite.

AT: When was the moment that you decided to become an artist?

CA: I always loved taking art classes but I had never thought of it being anything more than a hobby until college.  Eventually I switched my minor to Studio Arts. I took Drawing 1, my first college art class, over the summer and that was it. After that it was all art.

AT: Do you have a favorite color combination to work with?

CA : I try to make sure I’m always switching it up. There are so many combinations I love, and a large amount of them have come from pushing the boundaries a little and trying something new. I do have a few favorite colors and I can assure you at least one of them is mixed into the any palette I use…Prussian Blue Hue, Yellow Ochre, Light Turquois (Phthalo) and Quinacridone Magenta

AT: What does your average day in the studio look like?

CA: I structure my time as though I have a 9-5 job. My morning starts out with hot tea and anything that needs to be done on the computer. I’ll square away all emails and any shipments or errands that need to be made. I like to get everything out of the way before I start painting.  And then I paint the rest of the day. I’m lucky enough to work from home, so it’s easy for me to take little breaks and hang out with the pups.

AT: What are your goals as an artist?

CA: I think ideally I’d like to be able to balance everything I want to do (creatively).  I love painting and right now am devoting most of my time to it, but I also really enjoy working with patterns and illustrations. My husband and I are writing a children’s book too.  Although it’s moving along very slowly, I’m super excited about it.

AT: How has Charleston influenced your work?

CA: I constantly talk about how much I love Charleston. The biggest influence Charleston has had on my work has to be the crazy amount of support it gives to all its artists.

AT:How do you enjoy your spare time?

CA: When we’re not working we like to be outside with the dogs. We spend a lot of time at Hampton Park, the County Parks, and the beach

AT:What do you like to listen to in your studio?

CA: If I’m listening to music I probably have it on one of these two Pandora stations, Robert Schumann or French Guitar. Most of the time though, I have a movie or tv show on in the background. I have a tendency to want to do a million things at once and having a narrative playing in the background really helps me focus for longer periods of time.



Chambers Austelle is one of the 2015 Spring Season artists.