Spencer Chalk-Levy was born and raised in New York City and graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor in Fine Art from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. He currently works in Vienna and New York.
In his work he confronts the role of beauty and the grotesque as an aesthetic category, while using it as a vehicle for exploring subtler themes, such as mortality and conventional ideas of society.
The inspiration for his playful and bizarre figures, often presented in dramatic narratives, are mainly drawn from real life observations, following the inspirational sources of artists he admires most. Notably from 2012-2014, he worked as a bartender in one of Berlin’s upscale Gentlemen’s clubs/Brothel to follow in the footsteps of both Egon Schiele and Toulouse Lautrec. He wanted to capture and live amongst modern day versions of the prostitutes, Schiele and Lautrec obsessed over.
With an acute sensitivity, he taps into to traditional techniques and the pictorial language of historical art genres, while injecting contemporary elements through blending it with the colorful and detailed aesthetic, descended from book and fashion illustrations. The emotional resonance of his staged scenes and characters trigger the viewer to dive into the current state of the narrative, instinctively approaching his/her active powers of the imagination to continue on the sequel of the scenery. Colliding traditional genres, illustration and subject matter, Chalk-Levy has developed a unique style with a distinctive design.
In his recent experiments in the realm of digitally woven tapestries, he explores how his contemporary re-interpretations and the use of advanced production processes, impact their meaning and tradition.
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