Kate Moss by Fahren Feingold for The Untitled Magazine’s ART ISSUE, 2019

“Through my dreamy, elusive and multifaceted viewpoint, I explore deep emotion and beauty that I feel can be otherwise lost in the male gaze,” says watercolor artist Fahren Feingold.

Fahren Feingold presents a whimsical medley of watercolors exploring female societal taboos through a variety of themes. Her intense pastel watercolors aim to empower women of the present while giving voices to the women of the past, with an emphasis on the female gaze. Feingold incorporates depictions of female nudes, pregnancies, and even menstrual blood in her works, converting all of these “taboos” into something beautiful, feminine and most of all, relatable. In her piece “MORE THAN MY BODY,” her painted muse displays the words “My body is not the most interesting part about me” on her torso. In her “Golden Touch” series, Feingold reinterprets menstrual blood in shimmery metallic hues – transforming the stigma with her celebratory golden, watercolor strokes.

Fahren Feingold “OCEAN EYES,” painting inspired by Billie Eilish, 2019.

Feingold’s interest in nudity comes from an early interest in French erotica, Japanese stickers, and vintage pin up magazines she unearthed in friend’s homes and thrift shops. “The idea that it was taboo made me want to explore it even more,” she recalls.

Painting wasn’t an obvious career path for Feingold; her artistic mindset evolved from her previous career in fashion design, having worked for brands including Nicole Miller and J.Crew. When her career shifted into “an incessant panic to produce more stuff that no one really needs,” her female empowerment through art began.

“Women are beautiful, smart, magical creatures, who should be celebrated and heard not shamed or closeted.” – Fahren Feingold

Feingold currently resides in Los Angeles and is represented by The Untitled Space gallery. Most recently, she participated in the gallery’s group show “IRL” Investigating Reality” with her artwork “My Life is Not an Audition,” curated by gallery director Indira Cesarine. Feingold’s work has been featured in VogueInstyle, Marie Claire, Vanity Fair, and Forbes among many other publications. She has collaborated with Nick Knight’s SHOWstudio as well as fashion brands including Fleur Du Mal.

Fahren Feingold “BREAK AWAY” 2019

What’s a day in the life of Fahren Feingold like?

That’s a difficult question. Since transitioning into a full-time artist, my days vary greatly. I try to keep some structure to my schedule by going to the gym regularly – which really helps. Following that, I come home and get straight into work mode. Whether it is phone meetings, organization, prep work, commissions, show deadlines, or personal work – I return to my studio and focus on making art.

On painting days, I am quite ritualistic. I create my ambiance (music, candles, lighting, inspiration images, whatever I need to feel sparkles), arrange my work space – and then generally get lost in my painting for the remainder of the day.

What inspires your painting?

There are so many people and things that inspire me. My favorite artists (Egon Schiele, Marlene Dumas, Rodin, Picasso, Louise Bourgeois, Joan Semmel, Lisa Yuskavage, Robin F. Williams, Jenny Morgan, Elizabeth Peyton, I could really keep going), discovering new artists that I align with, photographers like Nick Night and Guy Bourdin, colors from nature, and of course women from all decades.

“LEA SEDOUX CRYING” by artist Fahren Feingold, 2018. 

How would you describe your own art?

I describe my art as the female gaze on nude female figurative painting, which has previously been shown from a male gaze. Through my dreaming, elusive and multifaceted viewpoint, I explore deep emotion and beauty that I feel can be otherwise lost in the male gaze. When I paint my subject, I envision giving women from the past a second voice and women today a place to express a sentimental impression which extends beyond their exterior beauty to tell their emotional story. Sometimes, these are self-reflected sentiments, and sometimes they re current political issues – but I always look to connect with my subject in a symphonic way.

When did you first start to get interested in French Erotica?

I think I have always been interested in erotica. Whether was finding naughty Japanime stickers in skateboard shops, unearthing friends’ brother’s pornographic magazines, seeing early French nudes in the library… the idea that it was taboo made me want to explore even more. And with the internet boom, all of the sudden everything was at my fingertips.

You were previously a fashion designer – how did that job shape you as the painter you are now?

Being a fashion designer in the contemporary market taught me a lot about how people think and spend their money – and not just in big cities but all across America. Designing clothes really showed me how most women feel about their bodies. These are tools which are really helpful to me today. But I also wanted to break free from that. Every company was so busy looking at what their competitor was going, there was no originality. There was just this complete lack of creativity, and the rat race was an incessant panic to produce more stuff that no one really needs. I wanted to feel good about the art I was creating, and make people feel good about what I had to say and show them. I needed there to be a connection between myself and the art and people.

“KATE THE QUEEN” by artist Fahren Feingold, 2019.

Who are your muses right now?

I have many muses. I have some muse that have been inspiring me since I was young, like Kate Moss, who remains a constant source of inspiration. Kate’s timeless beauty, elegance and allure is a never-ending source of vision.

But for the most part, my muses are ever expanding. Sometimes I find someone and need more of them – I am completely captivated by a certain beauty, and I look to consume as much imagery as I can. Other times, just one moment in time is all I need to feel satiated.

What inspired your celebrity portraits featured in this issue?

There are many important, popular artists who I admire and who play a role in shaping our culture. I try to honor the ones that influence me by painting portraits. I really admire Billie Eilish, not just for her talent (which is insanely superb), but also for her unique message and voice, which at her young age takes a lot of courage. Madonna has shaped pop-culture for decade, and she’s still making music, few people have that kind of tenacity to stay in their career. I love how strong and brave Adwoa Aboah is, using her platform for speaking up about mental health, female solidarity and gender equality.

For your most recent group show, IRL: Investigating Reality, you created a self-portrait titled, “My life is not an audition”. Can you fill us in on the inspiration for that and what it means to you?

There is this constant pressure to show yourself in social media. As an artist, for me personally, I prefer to show myself in my artwork. It’s much less comfortable for me to post a ‘selfie’ on social media, as a way of sharing ‘me,’ yet I feel compelled to share more than one dimension of myself. So, who am I ‘IRL’? This is what people on social media are looking for… well it’s the nature of this beast we have all crated. But I still resent feeling that I am waiting for approval and ‘likes.’ In “My life is not an audition,” I am kissing myself on the cheek gently to symbolize that it is okay to take care of yourself and love yourself, despite this continual demand.

Fahren Feingold “IT GURL” 2019, Inspired by Adwoa Aboah.

What are you working on at the moment? Any new directions?

I am working on some larger pieces art the moment. It’s challenging, but in a good way.

You recently posted some paintings on Instagram featuring pregnant women – what is the inspiration behind those?

Women creating life is magic, and their journey while pregnant is so beautiful and sacred. This is a time that should be celebrated, and I think expecting mothers should be encouraged to feel beautiful, attractive and alluring.

Is there a specific message you wish to put across with your work?

That women are beautiful, smart, magical creatures, who should be celebrated and heard, not shamed or closeted. Our voices should be heard, our beauty should be seen (however we want to express it), and our opinions matter.

You collaborated last year with brand Fleur du Mal for a solo show. What other brands have you been collaborating with lately?

I recently collaborated with Shiva Rose on her beautiful skincare line. Shiva created a very special new love oil. I painted art for her limited-edition box. It’s a very special marriage of personal, sensual oil and my feminine, floral watercolors.

What can we look forward to from you this year? Any other exhibits we should put on our calendar?

Yes! I am excited to be included in this year’s Sotheby’s Auction Take Home A Nude on October 15th. I will also be in a fabulous group show this fall at The Untitled Space, which is the perfect time of year to pick up some gifts for your loved ones. And I am getting ready for a solo show next year in 2020. Lots of exciting things on the way!

Madonna by Fahren Feingold – The Untitled Magazine cover.

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