Cole Chickering Works in a Cubicle and Wears a Headset by day; however, by Night He’s a real Power Chick With a Purpose.
What is your name, how old are you, where do you live, what do you do?
Name: Cole Chickering — Age: 31 — Residing in: Chicago, USA — Work: My day job is full time at a national healthcare nonprofit. I have a cubicle, go to meetings, wear a telephone headset, and everything else you could imagine from an office job. Before this, I worked in libraries for nearly 10 years. My art practice pulls some inspiration from my professional life. I collect discarded books and magazines, browse them cover to cover, and save images and text that I like. These appropriated images are what I share on Instagram and tumblr. I also use these source images for collage work. My collages are usually posted online or printed in magazine and poster formats.
Who is your favorite woman of all time?
This sounds corny, but I think I have to say my own mother! She fueled my interest in depictions of women from the very beginning by giving me fashion catalogs to cut up and glue back together, buying me the “girl toys” I asked for, and letting me pursue my interests without judgment. She created a female-centric environment without even trying, and I quickly realized the obvious truth that women are extraordinary.
However, if I had to pick a non-family member for my “favorite woman of all time”… Martha Stewart.
Are you a feminist? What does it mean to be a feminist in 2018?
Yes, I am a feminist. My definition of feminism in 2018: The belief and practice of equalizing all people in respect to rights, privileges, and dignity. The condition you find yourself in at birth, or at any time of life, should not be a barrier to fair treatment. All people are inherently different, and we should seek to embrace and validate differences. Intersectionality is what makes feminism perpetually vital and universally relevant.
I don’t necessarily have feminism in the forefront of my mind when I am collecting imagery, but I think the message ultimately comes through. The depictions of women I am drawn to have an uncanny blend of institutional stiffness with conventional softness. For me, it’s all about recognizing this familiar dynamic and reevaluating it.
If you could score an endorsement deal for @womans_day with any company, which would you choose?
At first I thought it would be fun to be endorsed by one of the publishing companies that make the types of books I go for. But I like being a rogue agent, with my own interpretation of their content. I prefer to keep things enigmatic whenever possible. Maybe I would like to be endorsed by a company that makes surreal and contextless products without irony. Oriental Trading Company would be fun and weird to work with.
Who do you collaborate with and who would you like to work with going forward?
I have collaborated a lot with Mitch McGuire of refigural, mostly doing illustrations for the amazing writer Laura Payne. I also wrote an article for The Smudge last year, a brilliant publication put out by two of my good friends. I prefer to be kind of solitary when I work on things, but I love having a prompt or assignment. Creating imagery to accompany great short stories or articles is something I’d love to do more of.
images courtesy of COLE CHICKERING
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