Interview by Tonia Trotter
Photos by Ambre Amari
Meet Chloe York: fine artist, maker, and CO.SHOP champion. Exploring themes of identity, appearance, and decoration, Chloe meticulously creates colorful abstract paintings that are inspired by underwater environments. This week, Chloe speaks to us about how CO.STARTERS equipped her with the business skills to drive her art career forward, what she is continuing to learn post-graduation, and why CO.SHOP is a maker’s perfect test market.
Chloe, what impact has CO.STARTERS had on your career as a fine artist?
I actually signed up for CO.STARTERS as I was moving to Birmingham from Memphis because I realized that I didn’t have any contacts, and I also wanted to meet people who had similar goals. I believed in my artistic ability but, as an introvert, I didn’t feel confident going out and networking. CO.STARTERS gave me the tools to learn how to market myself and a network of like-minded people to advise and support me. I also gained knowledge and confidence in organizing and taking charge of the financial aspects of my business.
That’s awesome! You were recently featured in Birmingham Magazine and have been steadily exhibiting in various galleries and alternative art spaces. What helps you continue to keep that momentum post-CO.STARTERS?
That’s the best thing about the CO.STARTERS program and community! I have had so much additional support post-graduation, whether it’s bouncing ideas off of others or finding the resources and information for the next steps I want to take, all I’ve had to do is ask for help. That kind of follow-up is invaluable.
When you’re not in your studio creating new work, people can find you and your art at Square One. How did you become involved with CO.SHOP, and what has your experience been?
I met Kate Hardy, Square One’s owner, through CO.STARTERS and knew that I wanted to be a part of CO.SHOP. It has been an awesome experience! It has given me such helpful feedback from a retail perspective and connected me with other local makers and potential clients. I think people are looking for quality goods made by local artists and makers, and CO.SHOP offers an incredible platform for showcasing your work. Create Birmingham also provides printouts that accompany our products, so that shoppers can see who we are and learn our stories; they aren’t just buying blindly. CO.SHOP has given me the opportunity to experiment, ask questions, learn, and build an audience.