SOFA Chicago! November 2nd – 4th
Tickets click HERE
The VIP opening night for SOFA was yesterday evening (November 1st). This marks the 25th year of the Chicago-based art fair. The Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design (SOFA) Fair is the premier gallery presented art fair dedicated to three-dimensional art and design. SOFA takes place at the landmark Navy Pier. The art fair is held annually in the fall with an average of 80 dealers and 35,000 attendees. Sales are estimated to be between 15-20 million dollars per show.
Last night opening beneficiary presented an evening full of experiential sculptural pieces that will evolve throughout the duration of the fair as well as a variety of musical performances. I definitely want to share my highlights from the evening, but first I want to share with you an artist that is showcasing her sculptures at the show.
I was fortunate to interview presenting artist Tracey-Mae Chambers before the show. Tracey will be showcasing her Encaustic sculptures and vessels at Booth B30. She’s being represented at the show by Maria Elena Kravetz Gallery-Argentina.
What is Encaustic you ask?!? I didn’t know either, but I did know her sculptures were beautiful, so I needed to find out. Encaustic is an ancient art form of painting with melted beeswax mixed with Damar resin (tree sap) to make the wax more resilient and pigment for colour. Tracey-Mae took her work to a new level by using Encaustic as a sculptural medium. Check out our interview below and keep scrolling for more highlights of SOFA Expo 2018!
Tavi J Interview with SOFA Artist Tracey-Mae Chambers
Is this your first time exhibiting at SOFA?
Yep it’s my first time and I’m so excited!!
Nice! So you live in Ontario, Canada. Will this be your first time visiting Chicago?
The last time I was in Chicago was so long ago! I had to of been around 13. I’m excited to come back to see what it looks like now.
So much has changed and you will LOVE Chicago! I’m so glad we connected on Instagram. You’re sculptures are beautiful and so vibrant? Can you start off by telling us how you got into art?
I started off painting with acrylics and then I moved to encaustic. I just decided I would begin using encaustic instead of a two dimensional medium. I wanted to use it as a 3 dimensional medium.
I can tell that you’re passionate about encaustic by looking at the art pieces. Can you tell me a little bit about your schooling?
I did not go to school for art. I’m always passionate about natural things. I like natural mediums and I make natural forms. I want to keep and express art as natural as I could….so I use beeswax and only pigments that are natural. Part of my passion part is to use things that are renewable.
How did you come across Encaustic and can you tell us more about it?
Encaustic means to “burn in” in Greek. An element of heat is necessary for a painting/sculpture to be called encaustic. It’s an ancient art form that they used on war ships. The color that you use in encaustic is the same color now that it will be 3000 years from now. We have works that have survived and they are the exact same color because the pigment becomes encapsulated in the wax. And it can’t degrade.
I remember reading something on your website about the temperature. So encaustic sculptures are heat safe in your normal home conditions, correct?
YES! It would have to be above 220 degrees for it to melt. So how hot is your house?? LOL
It’s hard to think of things lasting 5 years 10 years, but encaustic lasts centuries. I don’t want to think short term I want to think long term.
What inspires you? I notice all the sculptures are different shapes and what not?
So the series that you’re looking at right now is for SOFA and it’s based on seeds and corals. I love both of those images. Again…. anything natural and anything that lives under the water. This body of work is based upon those two things.
I think it’s so awesome you’re attending SOFA through a gallery that found you online, correct?
Yes! I’m being represented by Maria Elena Kravetz Gallery-Argentina. They found me on Instagram. I’m so excited to represent for them at SOFA.
I absolutely LOVE Instagram. I checked out your page when you started following me and I immediately fell in love with your work and knew I had to interview you for the show! While browsing your website (www.traceymae.com) I saw you did some work for the United Nations. That is amazing!!! Can you tell us about that experience?
Well this is actually a funny story. I’m sure you and all your readers have dealt with getting spam email. I get tons of spam email so when I was first contacted by the United Nations I didn’t believe it. I got this email that said “I would like to commission you to do some work for the United Nations.” I emailed back and say Bull $hit or something to that effect. LOL…my response was not polite.
I decided to give them a call to see if the person who reached out to me actually works there and they did. I was sooooo embarrased. I called back to tell her I’m so sorry and explained the situation to her. She laughed and I was thankful she had a good sense of humor. They asked me to make awards and it was such an honor.
That is such an honor!! I know you’re artwork is being showcased at several galleries all over. How long have you been doing art for?
I guess it would be around 8 years now. Since I have been doing the encaustic as a sculpture form it’s just been insane. I can’t keep up with request!! It’s been such an exciting period.
For people who are new to art and trying to figure out what they like….what advice would you give them? Especially if there searching for pieces at the SOFA show?
I think my pet peeve is people saying “Oh that would go with my couch.” Or things like that. Instead of looking at things in that way you need to simply ask yourself “Do you like it or do you not like it.” I think instead of thinking about oh is it the right color or it must be the right color….figure out if it speaks to you when you look at it. Whether it’s a painting or photography or sculpture…. when you look at it does it have something to say to you. That’s the most important thing when you are buying or looking at art. It isn’t about if it talks to your Mother-in-law…it’s about if it talks to you.
Make sure to stop by booth B30 at the SOFA Expo and check out Tracey-Mae Chambers Encaustic Sculptures! Keep scrolling below for more highlights from the show. Get your tickets now!
Tavi J. Highlights from SOFA 2018
More from my site