‘Sex belongs in art’ – Revealing Cape Town painter Rose Chaston’s adorable abstract nudes

“I am not a wordy person. Painting and creating is my language. It’s my way of making the world a better place,” says Cape Town-based painter Rose-Marie Chaston, known for her abstract, adorable nude paintings.

Rose began a degree in graphic design but dropped out in the first semester. “I just couldn’t deal with being told how to create and how to be creative,” she says. “I wanted my ways to stay uninfluenced. How I do things is what makes me, me. I found it hard to do things their way, and really did not appreciate being told that my own ways were wrong and unacceptable.”

After leaving school, Rose stopped painting for a while, until she met her husband, who’s a tattoo artist. “Being around him and seeing how passionate he is about [tattoos], I realised a big piece of who I am has been missing since the day I put down my brushes,” she says. “I told him this and the next day he rocked up at home with a big canvas, paint, a drawing pad and pencils. Once I got back into it, I couldn’t stop.”

Please tell me about the sexual themes in your work. 
I naturally paint a lot of ladies because I love the female form; I love being a woman and I love everything that makes a woman a woman. I paint a lot of chubby ladies with wack boobies and out of proportion body parts because there’s so much more beauty in imperfections.

What are your thoughts on sex and nudity in art today? 
No thoughts on it at all, just all the good feels. It belongs in art! I hate painting people with clothes on. The naked body is timeless and beautiful in any shape and size… I mean life could have been a whole lot more boring. Imagine if we were born with clothes on? Imagine no sex?

Growing up, were you encouraged to pursue creativity?
I was super lucky to have a really encouraging family, from my dad who sent me to art classes to my mom who has supported m non-stop since day one. My aunt, who is an artist, also gave me a lot of guidance.

Which other artists do you draw inspiration from?
I don’t use references; I paint out of my head. My style pours out of me naturally. Never have I looked at other people’s work and said, ooh that’s how I want to do it and how I want it to look. This is just how my hand moves; what my brain thinks of and how I do things. Follow Rose.

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