LA-based artist Fahren Feingold is a trailblazer in the world of illustration, depicting elevated realities of the female form in a sensitive, often surreal application of color. The Parsons School of Design grad transitioned from a speedy career as a designer—namechecking J.Crew, Ralph Lauren, and Nicole Miller on her fashion CV—to explore the worlds of style, feminism, and body positivity with a water-dosed paintbrush in hand.
With commissions from photographer Nick Knight via SHOWstudio and a fresh exhibit at The Untitled Space in New York under her belt, the artist speaks to Vogue Arabia about what’s ranking high on her Richter scale, inspirational Arab women, and the intricacies of her work.
Have you experienced an “I’ve made it” moment?
While I do try to take a moment and enjoy the achievements, I never want to feel settled in one particular success. Any time I think I meet the “I’ve made it” moment, it’s fleeting. This is much more of an ongoing journey without a true destination.
What are the qualities that make someone interesting to draw or paint?
It’s difficult to describe what cannot always be seen. It is a quality and sensibility […] that captures my interest. Something beautiful in their gesture, facial expression, the way their clothing is styled, how they are holding their hair-––and I want to capture that same emotive beauty.
Who do you rate in style and substance?
There are so many amazingly inspirational women around the world, it’s hard to name just a few. Of the women who inspire me, Malala is at the top of the list. Joumana Haddad and Nayla Al Khaja, who, by following their own career paths, continue to open doors for others. Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel uses her position to help others around the world and does so with grace and beauty. Nora Attal is strikingly beautiful; it’s so wonderful to see her walking the shows and landing campaigns.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
I think that women, artists and designers especially, should help one another more. The more we try to tear each other down, [the more] we are doing a disservice to ourselves, really. Helping someone in your same industry is a sign of strength and confidence.
Who are two artist that have inspired you?
Egon Schiele (forever) and Cy Twombly.
Finish this sentence: A woman is at her best when…
…she is patient, calm, [and] self-assured.
What’s on your playlist when you work?
It very much depends on my disposition, but right now it’s a moody mix of La Femme, Lou Doillon, The Velvet Underground, Grimes, Middle Kids, Cage The Elephant, Grace Jones, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Solange.
How long does a painting take, from start to finish?
Between all the research, prep, and actual painting, each painting takes approximately 10-15 hours.
What do you love about the Middle East?
I love all the rich history; when you visit historic sites it feels like you are traveling back in time, so much is left untouched. The bazaars and spice markets, so unlike anything we have here in the US. The aromas; I love all scents laced with vanilla, oud, tobacco, and leather.
Vogue Arabia is…
An exciting collection of beauty and style from essential influences and influencers––not to be missed.
Fahren Feingold’s work is currently exhibiting in a collective show of 80 female contemporary artists called Uprise / Angry Women at The Untitled Space, New York from January 18-28, 2017.