chai south couple 2Chai South

New Jersey, USA


Oil paint, water based paints, digital, pen and ink and I use recycled materials for sculpting.


I am an expressionist with tendencies toward the abstract. For bread and butter still life’s with a bit of a twist. I tell a story using various mediums.

Couple 2 – U Don't See Me © Chai South

Some emotions are completely isolating and because I think visual the room of my emotions is dingy and dark.

I think of myself as an old village woman who shares visual stories about interpersonal experiences. I’m a creative who is emotionally damaged and beautifully imperfect. My work is about passionate phrases.


“Please tell us about your first experience creating.”

As a child I was discovered to have a knack for drawing. My art was entered into a contest. I won and my mom was told my style was similar to Van Gogh. My mother was panicked by the thought of her black daughter becoming an artist. (she lived through the South when colored toilets were creeks if you were lucky.) Her answer was to protect her child from poverty and insanity. So she confiscated all my art supplies and vigorously discouraged any creative expressions.

Forty years ago things were changing but my mothers own ambition constantly thwarted by prejudice was overwhelming. She thought I would end up like Van Gogh. So for over thirty years a part of me was missing, that is until…

Out of nowhere my husband bought me a French painters box for our first anniversary. My husband said I talked about art a lot, but I have no idea why he had thought a painters box would be an appropriate gift for the first anniversary. I was angered by the gift I wanted jewellery.

I have a chronic illness that leaves my body wreck with pain. So the idea of painting was just crazy. Well I tried and realized almost ten hours later I had not taken any pain meds. Art became a pain management tool.

goodbye fieldAn artist saw my work I was sharing at a blog. He wrote me. his name was Dir. John A Richardson author of Art the Way It Was and several other books. I was amazed we stayed in contact for years. Without him I would never have admitted I was an artist.


Goodbye field © Chai South

In response to a news item I cried. I had no words so I drew and a an entire series resulted in my sketchbook. Two of that series have made out of the sketchbook.



“How long have you considered yourself an artist?”

I was convinced I was an artist about ten years ago. I entered a summer scholarship contest at Art Academy University, San Francisco. I won the highest amount for the summer scholarship. I was shocked.


“What are you trying to convey to viewers through your art?”

The beholder determines messages and meanings in my art I know it might seem a bit out there, but when I create I try to allow what resonates with me and then I try to let go. By letting go the creative experience does not stop at the end of my brush or instrument. I know most people love stories and are touched by visual experiences. It has been my experience the work can metamorphose once one lets go. The mutual exchanges that tend to happen between the artist and those who love or hate the art piece are often instructive.


chai south art

untitled © Chai South

I have an idea of creating environments for a story. The above was an experiment that I happen to like. This piece was done on a cell or transparencies.






“Tell us about your creative process, from the beginning of a typical piece to its completion.”

Creative process begins in a sketchbook. My sketchbooks act as my artistic diaries. Once I have a concept, a story I begin doodling in either my digital sketchbook or the hard sketchbook. I actually use a storyboard to work out what I want to voice visually.

I allow the images to direct the vision; I literally will draw all day, weeks, and years to come up with one image or a dozen or a hundred. I choose the images that resonate. Once I have images picked, I begin studies using inks, or acrylic or both and sometimes I do oil studies of images I like. Once I have studies, I then choose the medium I want to work with, sometimes a work feels like an oil painting or an acrylic or or or. Every now and again the work feels like it needs to be a sculptured piece. Then I work until the piece is finished. Of course there are pieces that demand spontaneity, which blows my entire process out of the water!!!


just one more work 

Just one more work © Chai South








“What things inspire you to create art?”

Right now my art is about discovering my visual voice. But ordinary things like seeing a couple interact, or news items that catch my eye. Sometimes a series of colors suggest images to explore. My entire body of work is call Moods, Madness, eMotions. (MMM) I have sub categories, for example at the moment I am working with Mood, Madness and eMotions- The couple, another body of work is MMM  - Collateral Damage.


“What exhibitions have you had?”

I have been involved in several exhibitions at the Arthouse in New York. Also was involved with a studio of artist in the Bay area outside of San Francisco.


Lady Sings the blues

Lady Sings the blues © Chai South









“Have you sold any of your artworks? How?”

Yes I have sold works. I have sold mainly through Saachi online.


“How do you promote your art on the internet?”

I have used Saatchi. I am currently creating work to use on DPW a daily painter site. I will be using Ebay and Etsy later on in the year. I am just realizing that blogs like ArtProMotivate are resources I should investigate.


“Tell us about influences.”

Kathe Kollwitz was a great influence. The themes of her work were death, the stories and cultural conscious of her time. I’m influence by the hidden voices of human kind. I of course like the old masters, in particular Munch. Love abstract and am fascinated with digital artist.


Im done ok Chai South

I’m done ok © Chai South


“Please recommend another artist you admire, and tell us a little about them.”

Qiang Huang I admire I have been watching his work from the very beginning. In a few short years he has come into his own I really love his brush work.


“Tell us something interesting in your life.”

My life at the moment is about overcoming a struggle with health, I have been left house bound for awhile. One of my windows is art.


“What is the most annoying thing someone has said to you about your art?”

I think what annoys me, are folks wanting an artist to keep the same style. When I first began painting I had a folksier style. I changed toward an expressionistic abstract style that folks who have followed me for years don’t appreciate. I still get comments from people about my earlier works, but I’ve moved on.


Whisper Chai South

Whisper © Chai South




“Do you have any regrets in your life as an artist?”

I have not been an artist long enough to have real regrets.



“What plans do you have for the future of your art?”

At the moment I am entered a contest at I need loads of support, the contest ends 29 Jan 2013. I’m also currently creating 40 paintings for an exhibition in 2014. For 2013 I plan to expand my website and offer custom pieces and unique frames.


“Do you have any good advice for emerging artists?”

Remain focus and work at ones creative self.

The business of living often does not lend itself to the creative process. It’s a good idea to have a schedule and a routine. I also believe one can’t wait to be in the mood to create. Also make sure to have a notebook or some vehicle to write or draw an idea. Most times to be creative will take a good deal of hard work and dedication, but life should happen too. Being in balance is important.


Chai South - Some Dreams will not Die

New Jersey, USA

Website: Chai South | Twitter: @sombertwin | Facebook: Chai Artist



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1 comment:

  1. I love it that the artist has chosen to move forward with her art even with the nay sayers. Good for her. I very much enjoyed viewing and learning about Chai's work and hearing her thoughts.


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