We had the good fortune of connecting with Phoebe Clemens and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Phoebe, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
When I was in junior high I read Kurt Vonnegut’s Slapstick, and a particular line from the book stuck with me: “Paddle your own canoe”. I recognize that it not quite an affirmation, however I find myself saying/ thinking it when I am feeling the pressure from outside influences that my work isn’t good enough. I love conversation and am open to criticism, but the language I want to create and the feeling that I want to portray through paintings is ultimately something that I get to decide alone.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am an oil painter and am attached to conventional subjects: I paint people, still lives, flowers. My aesthetic has been described as expressionistic and very much “LA”. I am inspired by the people, scenery and the objects that surround me. I love painting and I think that it shows through my art. I got to where I am today by simply just doing it. Being a professional artist has never been easy, and I have definitely worked other jobs along the way to support myself, however I’ve always said that I’d sacrifice anything to just get to paint. Although I haven’t consciously worked on creating or generating a brand, I believe that my interests, thoughts and decisions are reflected in my paintings.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
As a huge fan of wine I would turn this hypothetical bff visit into a wine tour of my side of town. First stop would be Mignon DTLA. It’s a small, quiet French wine bar with good music, lighting and small plates. Then we’d hit up Cafe de Garcon, another French wine bar (also DTLA). Next stop would be Tilda in Echo Park which host outside seating and a decent natural wine selection. To ensure my friend that I’m not a complete wino, I would then take them for a hike through one of the trails of Elysian Park to detox. After enjoying the beautiful views of DTLA and dodger stadium I’d then suggest a retox at Bar Covell in Los Feliz. Perhaps there’d be some art gallery/ museum hops along the way… Hauser & Wirth, the Broad (depends on what’s showing). We’d finish up the night picking out some bottles at SilverLake Wine.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to give a shout out to fellow painter, Jeremy Okai Davis (based in Portland, Oregon). Not only has he been a good friend for several years, but also a solid soundboard for ideas and a go-to person for painting technique/method questions. Additionally I would like to recognize my grandpa, Robert Rigg who was also an oil painter. As a kid I spent numerous hours looking at his work and it inspired me to create my own art.