Courtney Shoudis (born 1982) is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Chicago, IL. Her large scale figurative abstractions explore the female experience. She has most recently expanded this work into carbon steel sculptures.
How did you get into art?
I was a visual director for many fashion and design brands over the years. This exposure to visual creative thought processes naturally gravitated into painting and sculpture. I started making the paintings I wanted to see in my home and has since become a passion and a challenge; small paintings turned into larger ones and that turned into making carbon steel sculptures.
How would you describe your style? What makes your art special?
My works on the female form would be described as minimal figurative abstractions. I want the work to engage thought about how we view and interact with the idea of femininity and sexuality. On a majority of the paintings, I use a mix of oil paint, charcoal, and oil pastels. My sculptures are painted by using a two stage urethane-based, automotive paint, which adds depth and a more resilient surface. I learned this process growing in a family of mechanics; I took the applications and techniques of auto body-work I learned growing up in a body shop to create my sculptures. Not only is this an ode to my family, but I also loved the dynamic of using processes and skillsets apparent in a male-dominant industry to create work that is female-centered.
How do you go about developing your work?
Each project is lengthy in time, thought, and labor. I spend weeks researching and sketching before I reach an idea worthy of being canvassed or welded. This development process creates an infinite loop of trial and error, scrapping, failing, and remaking. Eventually, I arrive at this moment when I know the work has gotten to its final culmination.
Who or what influences you?
I am influenced by women, their experiences, their battles, their strengths and weaknesses. I want the work to make people think about how we view and interact with the female body. Every painting of a woman has been inspired by a woman that I met or have read about; women who particularly peaked my interest and whose stories, in my opinion, should be recreated and shared.
What are you planning to do next?
I want to make more sculpture, I want to expand beyond working with just steel. I have been experimenting with new materials but maybe even creating some furniture could be in my future.