It’s an empowering time to be a female artist, and Fahren Feingold isn’t wasting any energy second guessing herself.
Portraits by Sye Williams | Art by Fahren Feingold
The Los Angeles native recently showed her work as part of a collective of female artists in New York and on eve of her another show in her home town, we caught up with Fahren to explore the plight of the female artist, circa now.
The New York show that featured Fahren’s work was a collective of 24 female artists, representative of the modern, cohesive state of female art, according to Fahren. “There was no competing art in the show,” she tells me. “Whether it was an installation, or video art, or photography, everything really complemented each other. Each piece had its own space; it didn’t feel like there were 24 artists in there, it just flowed really nicely. And we got a lot of press.”
I ask her whether she feels like she’s part of a feminist movement, in the traditional state. Her response was representative of the reclaiming of the feminist movement, and wiping the stigma associated with it. “I think that there’s a female art movement and the female presence in the art world is definitely growing. It’s feminist, but not in the traditional sense. It’s feminine but not feminist. It wasn’t trying to be anything against men, or saying ‘I am a woman’ or anything like that. It was more of a celebration of being female.”
We move onto the subject of sexuality. Fahren’s work is certainly suggestive, but it’s soft and beautiful too. Overt sexuality can be confronting, but you wouldn’t call Fahren’s work overt, that’s far too crude a word.
“I feel like some of my work is obvious,” says Fahren. “But mostly it has an undertone of sexuality, and I try to be somewhat playful and tongue-in-cheek with it. I don’t want it to be so obvious and overtly sexual that it makes anyone feel uncomfortable. I want it to feel beautiful.” Fahren’s use of colour is as subtle as it is unique, and it certainly makes her work vibrant to look at. But, she explains that it also serves another purpose. “I feel like the watercolours kind of soften everything, and the colours are soft and hopefully it flows together nicely. But at the same time there’s nudity. I’m not trying to cover that up, so there’s obvious sexual undertones.”
Rather than painting poses, Fahren prefers moments. “I hope that I’m making people feel comfortable with this and portray that it’s a beautiful thing rather than anything crude or confronting and not garish; I try to take a beautiful moment. I don’t like painting things that feel posed or arranged.”
The female as a subject is well coveted, and Fahren believes that the way in which male artists treat the female form can often overstep the taste-line. “I feel like there are so many male artists who like to do things with nudity, and a lot of the time it’s so in your face,” she says. “I personally feel like, especially with female nudity, that it can be seen as something that’s beautiful, and it doesn’t need to be overt to get attention. It can be a quiet presence, sexy and playful and get attention that way. Sometimes it’s a personal moment, it can be playful with lingerie, it doesn’t have to be aggressive.”
Fahren comes from a hefty fashion background, having previously worked for Ralph Lauren, DKNY and Nicole Miller, among others, and it’s something that’s inevitably seeped into her art. If you’ve ever seen couture drawings—as beautiful as they are practical—then you’d agree that Fahren’s work definitely tips the hat to the dress makers of old.
“It’s funny,” says Fahren. “A lot of people tell me that my stuff’s really, ‘fashionable’ or that they see the fashion influences, but I guess that I don’t necessarily intend that. I’ve always looked at women as fashionable, maybe that’s it? Growing up haute couture was very influential to me. I’d pour over things like, lyon chillet – marlin de motte, they heavily influenced me.”
The domestic pendulum of cultural significance in the States has long swung between New York and LA, and while you can never discount the Big Apple, you’d have to acknowledge that there’s something rumbling in downtown LA (DTLA to the savvy). Fahren’s an LA native who moved to New York with a dreams of fashion and has since returned to pursue her art career. She knows as well as anyone the buzz of a scene, and she says that the LA art community is brimming with optimism at the moment. “LA’s definitely having a moment right now,” Fahren tells me. “In downtown especially, with the arts district and everything. I wouldn’t have said that before, but I’m connecting with other artists—many of whom used to live in New York but’ve moved to LA. It’s really been great. It’s a great place to be right now.”
You can expect to see a lot more of Fahren as her profile keeps swelling, and her diary’s sure to keep filling. She’s got irons in the fire covering the fall fashion shows for some rather iconic fashion magazines, she’s collaborating on a project with singer Kacy Hill, and, she’s about to feature in an LA show called EAT ME, which focuses on the sacred art of cunnilingus. We’s suggest grabbing yourself a piece, before it’s too late.