Gorgeously feminine and decorative, the paintings of Anglo-Italian artist Chantal de Gaudio are not entirely as they seem. You wouldn't know it to look at them, but the artist has used somewhat unconventional materials for her work – instead of choosing artists' paints, Chantal has opted for none other than Dulux to create her pieces.
Where do you go when you need inspiration?
Living in London, I am spoilt for choice and always love going to an art exhibition. There is endless amounts of inspiration there if I need creative feeding. But I am inspired by so many things, pretty much anything that surrounds me. Even going to the farmers' market on a Sunday is a feast of colour and joy. If I was to choose my most creative catnip moment, it would be Cirque du Soleil. The creative energy I gain from those shows is incredibly inspiring.
What was the first art 'thing' that had an impact on you?
Gosh, that’s a difficult question. I was brought up surrounded by art at home, so to choose the first one is difficult. I would say Anish Kapoor's exhibition, 'Turning the World Inside Out' at the Hayward Gallery in 1998 stands out – the whole show was an experiential feeling-frenzy! The ‘Untitled’ red piece that hung off the ceiling blew me away the most. It was so big and so red, I was completely enveloped by it. The colour was intense, with an exquisite layer of deep dusty red pigment that lay on the surface. Very powerful.
Why do you prefer to use Dulux rather than artist's paints?
I bought my first house at 18 and it was a hovel, so I spent many years doing it up. I ended up falling in love with DIY superstores, since the materials represented endless possibilities. When the time came to paint something, it represented a fresh start. There's nothing more luscious than a pot of fresh coloured paint – that’s how I got hooked on it, really. Whenever it came to using artist paints, I could never get the shiny finishes I wanted. What I love about the Dulux paint is the richness; the effect it has as liquid translates beautifully into dry colour. I find it extremely satisfying. I also really enjoy the ritual of getting a colour made up, it’s like being a kid in a sweet shop. Also, its water coloured glosses have improved with time.
Do you have a favourite artwork?
Rachel Whitread's piece ‘House' struck me when I first came across it. It’s an incredible shame that it got demolished, I would have really loved to have seen it, but it only stayed up for 11 weeks. Rachel Whiteread opened up a whole new world for me when I discovered her work.
Do you display your work at home?
Yes, I do display my work at home. My husband loves it, he’s very supportive – for Christmas he even gave me a couple of mugs with my paintings on them.
Describe your studio/work space…
My art studio is situated in North Acton; it’s run by artists and has quite a few housed there. My studio is divided up into sections. When you walk into the main space, there is a huge window where all my blank walls and tables are arranged ready for making. On one side of that space I have my inspiration library and music – very important. I couldn’t live without my music station. I range from Radio 4 to my faithful iPod throughout the day, whatever suits the mood.
As well as painting, I also love…
Yoga. I was introduced to it when my mother studied a yoga correspondence course to America in the early 80s. She used to teach a class at home after school for mothers with their children. It keeps my body flexible and healthy and helps me look after my posture, especially with repeatedly leaning over my paintings or my laptop!