Fahren Feingold


1 What are the qualities you see in someone that makes them interesting to paint?

FF – It’s very difficult to put into words what makes something or someone inspiring. Sometimes it is a gesture, someone’s unique face, historic photos of women –it’s that indescribable thing which grabs your attention the moment you see it.

2 Do your paintings come from your own imagination or are they inspired by photographs?

FF – I paint from photographic references, but I tap into my own insights and imagination. I build a story around the pictures I find, creating narratives and possible story lines about what led the subjects to have the photo taken. Asking myself where they might be today and how they feel now about the decisions they made then to model nude.

3 What first drew you to watercolors?

FF – watercolors are such a gentle and poetic medium, they whisper to the observer rather than cry out for attention. Sometimes ones message can be heard more clearly like this, and for me it felt like a nice juxtaposition for a controversial subject matter and important topics of feminine equality.

4 Is there one particular artist you are inspired by or one who has affected your work?

FF – I have long been inspired my both Egon Schiele and Marlene Dumas.

5 Your paintings are very moist and slick with bright pastels and soft colors seamlessly blending together. Is watercolor the only material you use or have ever experimented with other materials and techniques?

FF – currently I am only painting with watercolors. I have used oils and other mixed mediums in the past, but I’m enjoying the wet painting techniques and learning all about that. There is so much to learn about watercolors, technique, inks, pigments and earthly materials that I feel consumed by so much to absorb.

6 Your illustrations reference early 20th century French erotica clashing with vintage American magazines from the 70s and 80s and today’s internet girls. What made you decide to start painting women? Why nude?

FF – I have always loved drawing and painting the nude form, and I particularly like painting women. The female body is beautiful. I paint mostly women not just because of beauty, but because I can relate to the way women move, feel, think as a woman. There is a language that our bodies create with movement and gestures, being in tune with yourself as a woman helps to connect you to other women with this unspoken language.

7 Your paintings recall women in various stages and chapters in life. To you, what is the most impactful chapter in life a woman goes through?

FF – I do not think there is any one most impactful chapter or experience for a woman or any person for that matter. Life is about collective moments and chance encounters that, when you look back, seem to fit together perfectly -but at the time feel random and chaotic.

8 Women’s bodies are constantly objectified and censored in today’s social media driven world. Your work very explicitly translates liberation. Does censorship affect the way you work? Do you see your work as being political?

FF – we live in a world where the media hyper sexualizes women’s bodies, while at the same time raises puritanical standards censoring the right to show our own bodies. It’s difficult not get upset when you see the impact it makes on young girls and women’s self-image and self-worth. My work is often censored on social media, citing too much skin or sexual nature. These are such vague categories under which to censor paintings, while Instagram will allow photos of much more risqué and provocative expressions. Instagram and Facebook have made these subjects political -they don’t need to be, if they would allow artists to have more creative freedom.

9 In 2016, you were commissioned by the legendary Nick Knight to illustrate Paris Fashion Week for SHOWstudio. What was it like to work with him and how did it feel to have your work exposed to such a large platform?

FF – working with Nick Knight and SHOWstudio is an honor and the experience really catapulted my career. They gave me a forum with such a wide audience, while allowing me such creative freedom. I can’t say enough wonderful things about the experience and the team at SHOWstudio.

10 Supporting yourself as an artist is hard. Was there ever a time in your life where you had to take a second job to uphold yourself financially, especially when you were just starting out?

FF – of course, it’s unrealistic to think that artists starting out can solely support themselves without secondary employment. I have done work as a graphic designer, take work where you can.

11 You have worked as a fashion designer previously for Ralph Lauren, J Crew and Nicole Miller. What made you decide to return to fashion illustration, which is what you had previously studied?

FF – honestly, I was so sick of the fashion industry. The business of fashion is quite ugly, and it sucked the joy out of designing. I felt creatively undernourished, and if your job is no longer satisfying -it’s time to move on.

12 Do you prefer an independent artist practice or collaboration?

FF – I love both! It’s great to work on my own with my project and paintings, but I also love working with people and building ideas together.

13 Talk about how your collaboration with Fleur du Mal came about. What excites you the most about your exhibition, The Peep Show?

FF – I love that the space is intimate and creates a unique environment for the viewer. Le Peep Show is like a secret room, you get to steal a private moment, away from the busy everyday hustle – share a cocktail and a secret with a painting.

14 What can visitors or the exhibition expect?

FF – the allure of colorful paintings and enticing lingerie all in one location.

Featuring: Fahren Feingold // Author: Renee Huffman //