We had the good fortune of connecting with Courtney Chapman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Courtney, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
It’s in keeping in touch with what makes me excited and always working toward that as opposed to what I think may be successful. While my brand is uniquely focused on trending topics, images, and characters in the present, I’ve found that creating artwork based on what excites me personally has led to more motivation in my own workflow as well as recognition. When you are passionate about a certain project or product, your audience will notice that and share your energy. I’ve often found myself in a pit attempting to gauge what will perform well on my social media platforms while ignoring an exciting idea I’ve had for ages, and it always turns out that trusting in what brings me joy leads to greater success. It influences everything: from an elevated desire to create, to quality of work, and to the ripple effect of excitement that will stimulate your business through genuine human connection.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve been sculpting since childhood, and I think my current artwork reflects the childlike joy I still get out of sculpture. I love the idea of creating something entirely new out of clay, which drives me to continue to create new artworks that go beyond what I’ve made before every time I pick up my tools.
I create jewelry, sculptures, and figurines of trending topics in pop culture. This can range from movie characters to memes to abstract representations of TikTok sounds. I’ve been making this type of artwork since the summer of 2019, with my first TikTok video that got over 5 million views the week it was posted, boosting me to 100,000 followers within my first few days on TikTok. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind of attempting to keep up with trends and sculpt as much as possible between my college classes while also launching my own line of products like plushies, pins, and lanyards.
It has taken much of my life to get here. There are about 4 abandoned Instagram art accounts that I’ve attempted to make businesses out of throughout my teenage years, and it wasn’t until I joined TikTok that I gained serious traction for my work. I learned that my work translates very well into a video space. The quick cuts between sculpting clips played over a well timed song/audio brings before a grand reveal of the ridiculous thing I’ve just created brings forward a comedy in my artwork that I hadn’t been able to explore before. In taking my time to explore different mediums and ways to communicate my art, I’ve finally reached a level of success with my art that excites me and motivates me to continue with this exploration in the years to come.
Now, I’m expanding into designing manufactured products to lift some of the weight of hand making every single item I sell. Currently, I have two plushies out: a Cosmic Buzz bee plushie and a Cowboy Ghost plushie. These have done remarkably well, and I plan on moving into creating even more products like mugs, apparel, and more with my designs.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love to explore Los Angeles with my roommates, and often go out to find new places every week! Here are the spots I’d hit if I were to show you around:
1. The Academy Museum – If you’re a lover of movies (who isn’t?), then this place will delight you to no end. There are props, scripts, and costumes from the most famous movies in history here and the exhibits have the most beautiful visuals that I am personally obsessed with. Also, the Ghibli exhibit is here, which is so magical you just have to see it as soon as possible.
2. Dayglow Coffee – The best coffee ever. They have a setup that resembles a mixologist’s bar with muddled fruit and spices all catered to making the perfect coffee and tea beverages. I always get their Ponyo latte which is made up of strawberry, espresso, and coconut milk and it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever tasted.
3. Kura Revolving Sushi Bar – I’ve been here too many times to count. The joy of seeing a plate of sushi on a conveyer belt for the taking is something that is so personal to me.
4. Book Soup – I personally love wandering bookstores, and this is by far my favorite one to do so in. They have the most interesting (sometimes signed!) books here alongside a rotating cast of trinkets and gifts that are all tasteful and terrible for my wallet.
5. Largo at the Coronet – If you like stand up comedy/improv, this is the best place ever. It’s my safe place, my little pocket of LA that makes me feel so at ease while laughing so hard my stomach hurts. Tons of famous comics come here to practice new sets, do improv, and put on shows with featured guests. Every show is the same priced ticket, no matter who performs, so it also provides me the stability in knowing I won’t have to blow all my money in one night.
6. Thai Emporium – This is in my town, Westwood, and they make the most amazing Thai Curry. I had it as catering for a set I was working on and ever since then, I’ve been craving it every single day.
7. Flax Pen & Paper – This is also in Westwood, and I often find myself wandering the aisles in this little stationery store just browsing the endless supply of gorgeous pens, paper, and gifts. The people who work here are so kind, and they just have the most wonderful selection of products ever.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to dedicate this to my parents who bought me my first pack of clay when I was 8, and who today help me pack hundreds of orders for my business that grew out of that moment of encouragement. I don’t say it enough, thank you so much for all the love, help, and belief in my passions.
Other: TikTok: tiktok.com/@cosmicfuss?lang=en