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Coveted Interviews

Inspiration: Serena Cole

Serena Cole’s artwork will stop you dead in your tracks. That was my experience anyway. I first encountered her work at a group show with Zefrey Throwell at Bucheon Gallery in San Francisco. She creates these beautiful watercolor and gold leaf portraits of women from another world. When I heard they were taken from photos of fashion models, my appreciation became awe, my interest was piqued.

The Coveted: Tell us a little bit about yourself…
Serena Cole: I just graduated from the California College of the Arts (CCA) with a BFA in Painting. I have always drawn but when I was in high school I convinced myself that it was too difficult to try to be an artist-like telling people you were going to be a rock star. Once I got over that fear, I went to art school and really grew. Now I try to indulge all of my obsessions, which include gardening, playing video games, traveling, listening to 80’s cock rock and goth bands, and studying pop culture masterpieces like “America’s Next Top Model”. I like to think that somehow all of these things play a part in the art I make.

TC: I was told that the women in the portraits are from fashion magazines, why fashion magazines and what inspired you to adorn them?
SC: I think the particular brand of beauty that is exclusive to high fashion is really interesting. Models are a great example of what we wish we were as a culture. Once more traditionally beautiful creatures who sold beauty products, now models appear to be inhuman; they are grossly thin, their features are strangely disproportionate, some look androgynous, and some look positively dead. It’s not odd to me that women today might look like this, but I find it very odd that we have chosen this beauty as a true ‘model’ to desire. If we didn’t worship this totally unattainable form, we wouldn’t buy the brand, the magazine, or the T-shirts of Kate Moss. I think of this worship in the same way society once worshiped another unattainable idol: the saint.

TC: They seem to have a very ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ - fantasy type look to them, what was your biggest influence?
SC: I do like a little bit of fantasy, but have always been afraid of crossing into dork territory. Now I don’t care if I like “Flash Gordon”. I think of my figures as icons for the future, so there is always some sort of apocalyptic thought process mixed in with the imagery of medieval icons.

TC: Who is your hero?
SC: I actually don’t believe in true heroes anymore which is why I make them up in my paintings. If I had to say who I admired, I would say Nick Cave
Wangechi Mutu
Petra Bibeau
John Galliano
Martha Stewart
Alexander McQueen
Keith Richards
Hilary Pecis
Joan Jett
Jean Paul Gaultier
and anyone else who has spent their life doing the things that they love.

TC: What are your future plans?
SC: I would love to have more art shows, especially in cities like L.A. or Austin, TX where I have never shown and would have a good excuse to visit and explore. I would also like to get more expansive with my art. I would like to make some installations of shrines and other larger works where the work can be explored.
TC: Where can we find you?
SC: I have an artist collective with a lot of talented people from the Bay Area called the Thin Ice Collective and we are having a show at Hinterconti gallery in Hamburg, Germany in June, as well as a show at Mina Dresden in San Francisco in August. I will also be in a two person show at 111 Minna gallery in San Francisco next year.

I don’t have a website up yet (I’m working on it!) but I have a myspace page of my work:
as well as my collective’s website: www.thinicecollective.com
You can reach me at: iamserenacole@yahoo.com


4 comments for “Inspiration: Serena Cole”

  1. wow, what a great interivew, she’s so inspiring and her art work is beautiful and amazing, thanks for getting this out, i live in s.f. and i never know what’s going on!


    Posted by Anonymous | May 10, 2007, 10:21 am
  2. Really enjoyed the read :-) Nice job

    Posted by JO | May 10, 2007, 12:53 pm
  3. miss you!!

    Posted by Drea | May 11, 2007, 5:13 am
  4. i’m glad you guys enjoyed this post, i really love serena’s work…

    and drea, i miss you too, love!

    Posted by Jennine | May 11, 2007, 11:59 am

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