Mia and Erin Chaplin are South African born artists both living and creating in Cape Town, South Africa.

Mia (b.1990) completed her BFA at Michaelis School of Fine Art in 2011. Since completing her degree at Cape Town’s top University, Mia has gone on to host four solo exhibitions locally, as well as two international solo exhibitions. Mia predominately works with oils and although her most recent work is made up of a muted colour pallet her impasto artworks are expressive and thought provoking.

Erin (b.1988) is a self-taught artist. Her main subject matter and focus has been still life and portraiture, however in more recent years Erin has been experimenting with abstract art. Her work is deeply personal, and Erin feels it holds a sense of vulnerability which she feels almost every time she releases an artwork into the world. Erin also uses heavy brushstrokes and her thickly applied oils create a sense of movement and texture within her work. Within the last six years Erin has participated in more than 10 exhibitions, both group and solo.

It seems all too fitting to have the Chaplin sisters exhibiting at Blewcoat as we officially open our showroom this month. Sophie’s deep love and connection to South Africa has allowed us to welcome these talented sisters into our space.

Sister: What does an average day in your life look like?

Erin: I laze in bed doing some admin. Then I go and get coffee which I drink en route to studio while listening to music. Work in studio. Have a nap, almost everyday. Then I walk home and chill. Very basic but the little routine is very good for my well-being.

Mia: Everyday is different but my average morning ritual is having coffee and cuddles with my cats in bed. Usually I will then slowly make my way to my studio, a 15 minute walk away from my flat. Depending on my mood and energy I’ll either start a new painting or work on a sculpture while listening to music and podcasts. 

Sister: When you are not working, you are…

E: Napping, eating, seeing friends, watching bad television and crocheting.

M: Rock climbing, having coffee or drinks with friends, visiting exhibitions, hanging out with my partner, visiting my sisters, reading, napping, cooking, attempting to be a domestic goddess, etc

Sister: What is the first step to starting a new piece?

E: The right music for my mood. Choosing the size I feel like painting and then a basic colour palette as a jumping off point. Size usually depends on if I’m working on abstract or figurative work.

M: Making a good reference to work from, I usually work on Photoshop to create a collage from both found and personal photographs. I know it has come together well when I cannot get to my paints and canvas fast enough. My best paintings come from being really excited about the movement and colours in my reference.

Sister: What is your main source of inspiration?

E: Nature, time, mood.

M: I am inspired by everything around me and in the world, anything that affects me emotionally inspires me.

Sister: What is one thing you would tell your younger self who was just stepping into the Cape Town art scene?

E: Stop asking for permission.

M: I would say, make whatever you want to make, and don’t try to force it. In the spirit of woo-woo wellness, follow where your energy leads you. Also, put on shows with your friends, advertise those shows on Instagram – you don’t need to wait for a gallery to exhibit your work.

Sister: What is your favourite thing about your sister and the work she produces?

E: Hard to pick just one but in relation to her practice, her honesty. Her work is vulnerable and bare but there are secrets hidden. Her work is very human.

M: Erin has the best sense of humour, she is incredibly kind, open and loving and I’m so grateful that we are so close. I love the emotionality of her work and the richness of her colour palette.

Thank you Mia & Erin!