Artists We Love: Mia Chaplin

INTERVIEWED BY Lindi Brownell Meiring

Cape Town-based artist Mia Chaplin’s whimsical works consistently grab our attention. We decided it’s about time we find out more about what inspires her and what she has planned for 2015.

When did you first start painting?

There are blurry memories of painting and creating some strange artworks from when I was very small. I distinctly remember becoming obsessed with painting in high school when I was about 16. We had to copy paintings and I chose an Edvard Munch. After that I tried painting in oils and fell into some sort of painterly spell that has continued to mystically absorb me ever since.

What inspires your subject matter?

My subject matter is inspired largely by photography, specifically from old family photographs. I love the awkwardness and rawness of film photography. I enjoy painting figures in spaces that seem familiar and are yet distanced by the medium.

Which one of your works did you enjoying creating the most, and why?

Painting is a strange thing, I love it but I don’t always enjoy it. Everything rides on that moment when it starts to work, and then there is hope for it, and that’s when I start to enjoy it. The least enjoyable ones are those where I overthink and try to make the painting look like the source rather than just using the paint to convey an idea of the subject. What I enjoy most is making smaller paintings that I can finish in one sitting. Those works tend to be much looser and full of energy and just less stressful.

What can expect to see from you in 2015?

I am going to be taking part in a few group shows in Cape Town and am slowly starting to work towards my next solo show. I will also be on the Cape Town Art Fair with Barnard Gallery and exhibiting at the Art in Red Light Fair in Amsterdam. I feel like I have a lot to learn about painting and about what being an artist means, and I’m hoping 2015 will be a year of understanding my place better. I’m really excited and scared about the future actually. I don’t think that feeling will change anytime soon.

Visit to view more of Mia’s work.