We had the good fortune of connecting with Trine Churchill and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Trine, how do you think about risk?
Risk? I don’t think you can be an artist without it! For me at first it was the quiet risk of a choice spoken, that had already been introduced to me by way of my dad. He was an artist, supporting us, his family, with the cartoons he was creating from his home studio north of Copenhagen in Denmark. Therefore my choice to also become an artist, although not a cartoonist but a painter, at first was not dangerous – it didn’t at the time occur risky, at all. But soon enough, out of art school, Otis College of Art and Design, and now face to face with the big, hairy beast called “reality”, being an artist came with a price of frequent rejections, which in turn fostered self-doubt, and worse – scary little money to get by on. A healthy portion of naivety paired with an unshakable stubbornness along with – fortunately – a true passion to keep making art made me embrace the risk involved, regardless. This is the first risk many artists take. Followed by that is the risk one needs to apply within the art making process itself in order to grow. Every new piece comes with a cross road build into it. You can take the path known to you, the one you have become comfortable with, familiar with, where you know where the finish line is and what it’s supposed to look like. Or – You can go down the other road and challenge yourself with a little something different. Something that makes you step back and wonder where it came from. Risk certainly doesn’t happen with every each piece, but it is something I am very much looking out for, to create challenges for myself and not to end up in a routine of doing what I already know and do well.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
When I paint, my goal is to render it personally and to be authentic with my voice. I am steered into the process by use of photographs. The photographs oftentimes come from my family’s own photo albums, or photographs I have snapped as I take notice of life around me. The use of these photographs frees me up to not think too hard about what I am painting, but instead my intention becomes focused on how I paint it. What I get the most excited and proud of when I either sale an artwork or have a great conversation with someone about it; is the experience of how that one painting made a connection to someone else’s personal story. Early on in my career, I unfortunately listened to advice of not getting too personal in my work, that it would turn people off. I avoided painting people for many years specifically because of that, thinking that without a human body “gate keeper” people could more easily move around in the painting. I steered clear of painting the human body for a number of years, until I found myself in a dry-spell period of no inspiration or desire to make one more painting. I had hit a dead end. That’s when I sought out help from Ellie Blankfort, also known as the Artist Whisperer in my house! She helped me find my way back to what was more close to my heart and personal to me by way of journaling. I still go back to the journal, sometimes more, sometimes less, but it has become a true and tried method for me to get back to the roar of the lion. In my painting I mix styles – going between realism and more suggested, more abstract and loosely painted gestures. With that the painting takes on a feeling of a memory or a dream. A bit of fantasy takes place too, as things can seem out of the ordinary at a closer look. So not much unlike life itself, when you slow down and take in the finer details, a story of the ordinary reveals itself to give you insight in something larger than what’s in front of you.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Griffith Park is for me a must-see if you are visiting Los Angeles. Its raw nature in the middle of the city never ceases to amaze me. And the wild life spotting – for me counting a deer, a bob cat and a tarantula within just the last 2 weeks – is fantastic. Also you can take in the whole city from up there, beats any postcard you may pick up at the tourist stores on Hollywood Blvd. For the art fix I would go to Hauser & Wirth, The Broad + Susan Vielmetter’s building on Santa Fe Avenue For shopping I would go to Sunset Junction for all its great small business boutiques and lack of chain stores. Not going to the beach while in LA is a crime. Venice Beach, Santa Monica Beach..If I’m up for the hike and having more adventurous guests visiting I would go to Matador Beach up by Suma Beach. It’s been years and years since I have been there myself – it’s a challenging hike to get down to the sand down many and very steep steps, but once you are there it’s really hard to believe you are still in Los Angeles, and not on some beach in Dali’s beloved Catalonia. My food faves are: Momed in Atwater (my studio used to be right next door). Great covered, outdoor seating and delicious modern mediterranean food. Back on the Beach – eat a mediocre sandwich that tastes ten times better because you are sitting with your feet in the sand and take in the beach crowd! MoonShadow – for cocktail and lounging on the balcony – Sitting there, looking over the water there is nothing that beats seeing the sun go down over the water while sipping a drink. Reel In in Santa Monica – Oh so delicious seafood, eaten cafeteria style – outdoor patio with picnic tables.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents were firm believers in following your dreams and they would continue to reinstate strength in me when I needed it the most – and a much needed injection of a little cash now and then! I also have several friends from childhood who commissioned me for paintings when I was first starting out. My very first “true” collector was my best friend’s mom, a school teacher. She bought up several of the paintings I created for one of my first exhibitions, shipping them all the way back to Denmark. I’ll never forget this. Over the years I have had my studio work space in various artists communities where fellow artists and personal relationships propelled me forward, such as Santa Monica Art Studios and Santa Fe Art Colony. Also, the artist adviser Ellie Blankfort helped me find my way back to the core of my art, at a time when I felt like I was not growing. Still to this day, I continue to meet up monthly with her and her husband Peter Clothier’s artist group Artists Matters where we support each other and discuss what is on our minds.
Stacie Jaye Meyer