We’re celebrating IWD all this week and we have been uploading our print interviews of rad female skaters to the site. Next up, it’s the multi-talented Chloé Bernard! Delve into this productive woman’s interview by Guy Jones below. This interview was lifted from Issue 20 of the mag. Get hold of a physical copy here!
Introduction & Interview by: Guy Jones
Photography by: Clement Chouleur
Artwork by: Chloé Bernard
If there’s ever an individual to inspire productivity it’s most certainly Chloé Bernard! What she’s accomplished so far is obviously amazing, but you can see the momentum is constantly growing and the end is very far from sight. The versatility to her work and sheer passion for things of interest is almost overwhelming, to the degree that after seeing her work you end up leaving the house with that extra spark which can never be artificially created. We can’t thank Chloé enough for this issue and we wish the whole mag could’ve focused on her, but that’s more of a subtle request to see more of her wherever possible.
Hi Chloe! How are you? What have you been saying lately, be it activity wise or a specific word you keep saying for whatever reason?
Hey Guy! I’m fine, and super stoked to be part of a Vague Skate Mag issue, thanks a lot!
Lately I’ve been drawing, everyday. I’m trying to make a living out of tattooing so I’m learning this huge science, using colours etc… I’ve been painting too, when I find time. Every week I give skate classes to girls at the bowl and I’m also trying to get the diploma to be a proper skate teacher. Basically, lately, I’ve probably been on the edge of a burnout hahaha.
You had a sterling interview in one of my all time favourite publications, SOLO Mag. How has your life been since then and should we just copy and paste that interview, as it was a banger?
Wow, I’m glad you liked it. You can copy and paste it for sure. My memory is really bad, I’m probably gonna repeat the same things anyway.
Apologies in advance for how ambiguous this question is, but what inspires you? Be it other artists, skaters or specific social situations? It seems the range is vast!
Many inspirations indeed! Movies, music, people, video games, comics books, advertising. Just everything and everyone over the world. If I have to say one name I will say Tarantino, one era, the 80’s and one skater, Guillaume Guené!
You’re definitely someone I think of when I’m not being productive enough, aside from skateboarding and the vast array or art, you also tattoo, which is obviously art as well but a more specific avenue I guess. Please tell us that’s it and you don’t have any other interests or activities, or are you making use of every single second?
Hahaha thanks! I think it’s kind of reassuring if I seem productive because it feels like you’re never working enough when you try to make a living out of your passions. You’re constantly thinking about all that you could do more. I have so many interests, it’s my sickness and it will make me crazy. Sometimes it’s been embroidery, but lately I’ve been trying to play drums. It’s hard for me to choose only one thing, or two, or three. Fuck!
Your creativity is very versatile and it seems you have multiple mediums, do you have a preferred one or do you like jumping around between, say, tattooing to an installation? How does this variety benefit your creative process and can the restrictions of one material inspire another?
When you are a skater and you try to surf or snowboard, all the different disciplines will serve each other. They all are a different way of doing one same thing. I reckon it’s the same with art. When you tattoo, for example, you push yourself to be the best drawer that you can be. Trying to make the perfect line. But when you paint big pieces, you need to step back and look at the piece as one big thing. So from one medium to another you learn precision or visualisation. Some are defined in a canvas, some don’t know borders. I think art can be a way of expression, and many are the things that we want to say, so it kind of makes sense to try many different mediums to say it. Right?
You got into tattooing because you dreamt about it, is that right? Could you elaborate on this dream if you’d be so kind?
Haha yes, I was dreaming about tattooing my own legs for two years and I had this feeling of happiness every time I woke up. And then I was sad because it was just a dream! It was like Christmas morning every morning. When I got my first gun machine, I started to destroy my legs.
You write as well don’t you? What kind of things do you explore and will we be seeing some of your writings in books or zines in the future?
I only write sometimes. I guess I have plenty of little stories going on in my head all the time, but it’s something else to write them down. I made a little comic book that I should try to sell some time haha. I made a zine for a project I did with Vans, a short story about the power of our inner dreams. It will be available soon, along with a video being released in July.
By complete contrast do you have days where you just sit staring at a blank wall for hours on end to reset?
Yes, it happens when my mind is in another space-time because an alien besieged the mother brain.
It seems your studio would be an ideal thing to be stuck in a lift with, so much weird and wonderful stuff. Are there any particular favourites/ones you’ve acquired with an interesting back story?
All of them. I do love the formaldehyde jar with the tattooed pigs feet.
The scale of your work obviously varies largely, what’s one of the largest pieces you’ve made and why that size?
The project with Vans, it’s about 20 metres long from the bottom to the roof. It’s trippy!
You’ve been in Marseille for a while now, it’s one of my favourite cities I’ve visited and reminds me a lot of Liverpool. What big ups would you give this place to someone who hasn’t been and what establishments/hang outs are a must?
Go to the bowl! And check out La Friche, le Cours Julien, les Goudes, le Couvent.
You say it was the bowl that led you to fall in love with Marseille. Since then have there beenany favourite events or sessions at this iconic spot and what are some of your favourite trips you’ve been on?
I guess some of the best sessions are just with the homies… skate, music, BBQ, sunshine… and of course the Red Bull Bowl Rippers. Fave trips include Denmark, the USA and Spain!
Please give us recommendations, be it book, artist, music, food or anything.
Comic book: Ranxerox / « Doggybags » editions
Artist: Don Ivan Punchatz / Crocodile Jackson
Music: Marie & Me / Grimes
Movie: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Video game: DOOM (remastered)
Best thing to check in this world: Meow wolf
It seems more pertinent than ever that the patriarchy still needs to be smashed and your artwork definitely incorporates strong identities with female power. What advice would you give for anyone wanting to be an ally (including publications and brands) and could you explain how involving sexual undertones in your work is the opposite to objectifying women?
I don’t know if I wanted to make people react, or just needed to spit out all the things I’ve heard for many years, but I guess all female identifying is interesting. The world put us in boxes for ages; sensuality, weakness, stupidity. Man and women, we all can be like that sometimes. Does it matter? We can use our weakness as strength. I think many people don’t know how to react to these emotions and it’s okay. It’s okay to be objectified, or weak, as long as you decide it. As it should be OK to be whatever you want, as gender or sexuality.
In the past, as a tomboy, I was subjugated by women femininity and I didn’t really know how to deal with my own femininity; especially when you are constantly judged by a society which wants you to follow a model. I think drawing women for years helped me a lot to raise my inner femininity. And I accept the responsibility of making people feel unsafe in front of so much strength. Haha I mean it! So, to answer your question, it’s easy to be part of the revolution. I think if everyone is just living as they want, and letting other people live how the fuck they want, then the world will be a safe place for all of us. Stop judging people or putting them in boxes. Embrace diversity.
What have you got coming up in the pipeline Chloé?
Tattoos, painting exhibitions, diploma, skateboarding. In July the video of my latest big painting for Vans will be out. I hope to be spending time with my friends and family. Thank you!