Aje Insider Creative Collective | Artist Chanel Tobler

Stepping into the mind of multidisciplinary artist and friend of the brand, meet our latest Aje Insider, Chanel Tobler. Captured at the Chroma Visual Experience, discover the process and inspiration behind her bespoke, live and interactive art piece from Chroma Resort 21 as well as her thoughts on the role of art in 2020 and what colour she resonates with most. Immerse yourself now.


Find the first arrivals from Chroma Resort 21 available here.

Chanel Tobler in the process of creation, wearing the Semblance Shirt throughout (arriving November.

“I watch the world embracing bountiful warm tones as a way to combat the current global situation, unencumbered by the heaviness that I’ve just mentioned.”

As a multimedia artist, what led you to explore such an array of techniques and how does this drive you creatively?


I think there is much to be said for an unruly childhood certainly. But more than anything really just the nature of my personality. A mixture of indecisiveness and a longing to want to know all things. I am enamoured by process and tactility, which I’ve always had an eagerness to explore.


Clay is haptic, earthly, and bodily, it dates back to at least 24,000 BC, it feels deeply linked to humanness. It’s connection to home, nourishment, the domestic, physicality vs fragility and raw earth materiality provide a medium that has always felt intrinsic and deeply grounding. It is a process that requires a slowing down of, which can be frustrating but equally meditative once entered.


And drawing, the corner stone from which all my other techniques and mediums spring forth from, feels the most direct and immediate way to convey what I need to release. It has become its own language for me, a place I feel safest to say everything I need to. It provides me with the space to critically analyse and feel my surroundings and experience. Drawing for me, is a practice with a perfect push and pull between challenge and satisfaction. Each discipline is generous in providing me with a specific path of expression, sometimes I need slowness and a connection to the earth, other times I need immediacy, freedom and colour to release. Each medium is an entry point for a specific and poignant way of giving and receiving in order to make sense of this here.

Describe the body of work you created as a part of the Chroma visual experience.


The chroma visual experience was this rich whirlwind of colour, energy and movement. With people entering the space at regular intervals and interacting with it differently each time, I was immersed in a world that was familiar yet entirely not my own. My work might feel as though it’s made quickly but in actuality it takes a great deal of time to reach a point where I gain a sense of completion.


The chroma visual experience moved me into a mindset where I relied heavily on kinaesthetic movement - shifting my engagement in response to how guests travelled in and out of the space, as well as how the models engaged with my direction.


As a result, I made quick response work, constructing drawings that were assemblages of fruit and ceramics, smaller more detailed drawings and the bodies and clothing of the models I worked with. From this evolved an ephemerality, as once a group of guests would enter the space, drawings would be built up, constructed with all the aforementioned elements and have layers, marks and colours placed on the paper. Upon the guests leaving a deconstruction would ensue, removing all objects and leaving oil and pastel created marks.


In short, a body of work was created in response. Quick, expressive, raw, medium to large format works in bright energetic colours pallets, abstract, charged and at times suggestive, all in the nature that is my work. The drawn pastel mark is pervasive but has often been softened by the inclusion of oil that creates a painterly washed stroke, motivated and infused by the chroma collection itself.

How did it feel to see your art through the eyes of others as they created their own content around you?


I think there is this strange phenomenon that takes place once a drawing, for example, enters the world by virtue of my hand - I see it and I know it has come from me, but I am curiously aware of the fact that I and the marks/aesthetic choices I take are a product of my environment. Therefore, there is this release in a sense that occurs once a work is made, it now has left me and takes on another life, a life in the eyes of people that create content in this particular case. And I enjoy watching that interaction and that new life play out. I have no control over it, and so I like to surrender at that point. In many ways I would like to eliminate myself entirely from being attached to it.


However, there is something to be said for the internet and social media, and how we interact with it and the content we create. As a maker of physical tactile work, watching images of what I produce enter the online sphere can be uncomfortable too, there is a sort of flattening of content, everything is reduced to the same level by the engine and this content contributes to the mass flow of information. I wonder about this and our constant need of validating and adding to it. I suppose what I’m saying is that I still feel new at it all, I haven’t yet figured out how to do everything and whether it’s positive or negative, this feels destabilising, often overwhelming. The beauty and the beast of a giant anthropological archive of our interior lives played out in the exterior.

What colour most resonates with you or connects with your current mindset or mood, and why?


It could rarely be a single colour for me, rather always a selection of feelings. I’ve found myself in a place where I am consumed by deep pure pigments and their values, Phthalo blue, Phthalo green and then a deep rust- a sort of off red nearly. Grounding, yet high in vibrancy colour values that have a sobering darkness to them. The colours really being indicative of the intensity of this moment in my personal life, the need for greater depth and critical inquiry into what is needed to create a way of being that supports and nourishes. A seeking to let go of frivolousness that seems to be becoming antiquated in my personal day to day as well as in my work.


I watch the world embracing bountiful warm tones as a way to combat the current global situation, unencumbered by the heaviness that I’ve just mentioned. Watching this, it makes sense, as a collective we are seeking hope. I feel as though I may have missed this mark from my brooding corner of cooler darker tones, but it also makes me realise we all move at varying paces, processing our inside lives differently.

“The chroma visual experience moved me into a mindset where I relied heavily on kinaesthetic movement - shifting my engagement in response to how guests travelled in and out of the space, as well as how the models engaged with my direction.”

What do you see the role of art in today’s society as?


I’ve been ruminating on this point since before I started art school in my early 20’s, but I still wouldn’t say that I have a concrete answer or that I know. I often worry that art should be political, should take a stand. But really, I don’t think that should be the obligation of an artist, to speak on the behalf of entire populations. I certainly think art has the ability to, however, it can be much more complex and greyer than that. Art is often formed in an interior where there may not be words for what needs to be said, as such, art becomes something that one cannot always easily or quickly interpret. Like when a drawing for example doesn’t give you all the lines of the story. It leaves something for the viewer to make out, so one is left to their own devices to make sense of the image with what information they are given. This makes a work more interesting generally and provides the viewer with an autonomy to think for themselves but with fresh guidelines. Allows an entry point to new ideas, opinions, and ways of feeling.


I think art’s role in today’s society should push people out of their comfort zones, make one doubt their own certainties-update/refresh or establish new neural pathways.


Something that has also stuck with me on this topic though is what Camille Henrot once said in an interview, that art in society is “… to help human beings feel less resigned; and to help others feel happy despite their resignation.”



Which was your favourite Aje piece featured in the Chroma visual experience?


The Semblance Shirt. Possibly because I was wearing it and had the pleasure of experiencing its lightness. It made me feel feminine and elegant all while allowing me to maintain my tomboyishness when paired with my studio jeans.

Aje Insider : Chanel Tobler

Photographer : Jess Ruby James and Sonia De Pelle


Captured at the Chroma Visual Experience, Sydney, Australia