Digging the dirt on ex-zinesters
By Nathaniel G. Moore
Chloe Griffin is a DIY artist multi-genre, zinester, silkscreenster, filmmaker, painter, writer, performer, singer and it seems fitting that she be profiled in the style issue here at Broken Pencil.
In 1997 Chloe Griffin was accepted into McGill University and dropped out after two months of hell in the Molson hall residence. “I spent the rest of the year working as a life model in an atelier near Jean-Talon Montreal in exchange for drawing classes. In this little atelier I built my portfolio for Concordia fine arts and learnt the most important skills I would need as a visual artist.”
One summer Chloe took a motorcycle trip with her boyfriend through the States to Mexico. “We had some pretty wild adventures; shooting an AK47 in a backyard in Houston, I had a wipe out going 140 on the interstate between Memphis and little rock, had my bike run over by an 18-wheeler… to name a few.
“I starred in several independent Québécois horror films by Izobel Grondin, one which was filmed in my loft in Montreal, called Sans Remords: A Vampiress Killer shot in black and white on 16mm which premiered at the old Rialto theater on Parc ave.”
Work in Montreal was hard to find so Chloe took on a couple bizarre jobs, ranging from working as a dancer on St. Catherine to a construction worker in Orlando Florida and Indianapolis. Through a series of creative attempts to make money, Chloe landed on the fashion industry. Using techniques like silk screening “and my outdated student card secret access into the fibers dept. I began printing drawings on tshirts and fabric, cutting it all up, sewing it back together and calling it ‘designer’. This began my fashion label Autocherish, which I am still selling in shops in Berlin, Paris and New York.”
Meanwhile Chloe founded a video production outfit called Final Net Pro, now changed to Patrick and Kitty Productions. The whole thing started with a beautiful dream to make movies and moviestars and stay up all night. The first piece was made in 1999, called Destiny Rides about four hysterical girls who dream of being stars and live in a tiny one-room apartment with a sewing machine and hair curlers. “Then we did Pay Attention 2001, an anti war disco video with loud noise effects and a montage of car crashes, then “Monkeyface”, a tragic mother daughter terrorist answering machine dialogue.”
In 2003 Chloe moved to Berlin where she still lives. The following year she co-founded with GG Rattke “a design/art/DJ/anything team called Tensified Chaos. We had an art show called Crisis Points and Gentle Gestures in the Knoth und Kruger Gallery, Berlin, where we covered the walls in drawings, silkscreens, massive wall and ceiling sized intricate collages, tape, lightbulbs, records, old snapshots from our friends, chains etc. We stayed up ’til the morning DJing, drinking and having fun for the opening and during the whole three-week show pretty much. We are still working as a design team making album covers, t-shirts and weird DJ performance art nights.”
In 2004 work began on Speed Madness and Flying Saucers. “We shot it in Berlin where we rented a space and collected stuff from the garbage, built sets, casted our infamous friends and invited gypsies and transsexuals to play music, took poppers and filmed run-on dialogues.”
Speed Madness has been screened all over Berlin in small cinemas, nightclubs, underground film fests, galleries and bookshops. It screened in Toronto at the metro theatre, in Montréal at Zoobizarre, in New York at Pianos and at CLAWS in San Francisco. All screenings also had a live performance from the original cast before the film started.
“I have also been a guest singer with the Vanishing, a San Francisco darkwave cult band. I performed and sang with them for their shows in Warsaw Poland and their last tour through San Fran, Oakland and L.A. I have been a guest singer also for a teenage punk band from the former east Berlin, Die Drei Punkt Band.
“A project I am working on presently started last year when I decided I wanted to make a homage piece for a heroine of mine, Cookie Mueller. She is best known as one of the early John Waters actresses. She died in 1989 of AIDS. She was an amazing writer; her autobiography is an inspiration on life. Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black, I recommend it to EVERYONE.”