Interviews & Conversations Women I've Shot

Women Who Create
This is Erin Chaplin

Women Who Create is an ongoing portraiture project all shot in B&W in my studio in Woodstock, Cape Town. I love to connect with other creatives and see what motivates them and find out what is behind there work.

I met Erin for the first time when she came into my studio in June for her portrait in the series Women Who Create.

I didn’t ever think about the hands of oil painters but they must get super dirty or be super dry from all the turpentine cleaning, for this reason Erin wears latex gloves when she works and I asked her to wear them for her portrait.

Words from Erin:

My work is very personal. I work a lot with nature as a subject matter to communicate how I feel and experience life, my concerns and fears.

Flowers and fruit, specifically are interesting to me as they are temporary and hold a lot of meaning for me. The process of something living and dying and the delicate balance between the two, often overlapping.

Recently, I have been experimenting with texture and application, often resulting in more abstract work. I am trying to set less rules for myself. Trying to focus on the present and letting the outcome be secondary. This is challenging for me as I tend to focus on the past or future.

I would like to explore more abstract work while still spending time with my first love, still life. I am interested to see if I can bring them together.

A Proust-like interview:

What is your all time favorite quote?

“I’ll go if I don’t have to talk.” – Elaine

Do you have pet peeves?


Your worst trait?

Over explaining.

What is/are your greatest extravagance/s?

Travel and takeaway coffees.

Your greatest fear?

Hurting someone.

What defines your idea of happiness?

Being able to be present.

Who are your real life heroes?

People who do what is right even if it’s to their own detriment.

What do you think is overrated?

Fridge cheesecake

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

“I love you” and “sorry”.

When and where are/where you happiest?

Walking while listening to music, sleeping and studio.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Deflective humour.

What do you do to help put you into your optimal creative space?

A drink and mood chosen music

What does your (physical) creative space look like?

 A mess usually.

When creating what is your biggest frustration?

Concentration and impatience.

Name a few quirks that others may not know about you?

I hate being barefoot, mainly inside. ; I talk to myself. ; I do not like the feeling of fitted clothes against my body.

When you’re in your ultimate creative space what word would you use to describe the experience?


Erin Chaplin was born in Durban, Kwazulu Natal in 1988. Chaplin is a self-taught painter. She works mainly with oil medium. She has had two solo exhibitions at Chandler House’s, Voorkamer Gallery, Outgrowth (2017) and Nice for What (2018). Chaplin participated in Everard Read Cape Town’s Cubicle Series, August (2019).

Chaplin currently lives and works in Cape Town.