Caroline Wampole has spent her life in the arts. She was born in New York City and grew up on the East Coast in an artistic family. Her early years were spent in theater, including touring with a theater company in Belgium at age 11. She moved to California in the early 1990s and became a bass player and singer/songwriter with the rock band Big Soul, which later had a platinum record in France. In 2002, after years of recording albums and performing on stage, Wampole moved to Paris to focus on visual art. Since then her paintings have appeared in solo and group shows in Paris, Boston, and San Francisco, and she has done commissioned work for clients around the world.
When she's not painting, Wampole is a video editor and creative director with Story Eyed Media, the video production company she started with her husband and creative partner, Cedric Pilard. She also writes poetry and memoir essays and has read her work at SF Litquake and other venues around the Bay Area, and performed solo shows based on her memoir writing at San Francisco's Stagewerx Theater.
After years of living as an expat in Paris and as a transplant in the San Francisco Bay Area, Wampole recently returned to her roots on the East Coast, where she now paints in an old barn in Western Massachusetts.
You can follow her process on instagram.
ABOUT THE WORK
When I first started painting, I was drawn to portraits. I've always loved the idea of being in someone else's skin - drawing cartoons, acting out characters on stage, and doing impressions of famous people and loved ones. In painting I found I was able to capture likenesses of people, similar to doing impressions. I'm interested less in realism than in finding the "truth," or essence, of a person, and expressing that in paint.
In the late 2000s, after I returned to the U.S. from Paris, my portrait subjects expanded to include figures from American culture and politics: the Obamas, Alan Greenspan, Howard Zinn, and popular TV shows like Mad Men. I have also done many paintings of food, words and objects - inspired by old Jello recipes, vintage book covers, and the abundant farmers' markets I've been lucky to have access to wherever I've lived. Though my paintings may range in subject matter, they all share the same fascination with color and expressive movement, or what some might call emotion: the visible energy left behind of the painter's hand moving across a surface.
In 2016 I plunged head first into abstract painting, which felt like a natural evolution for me as an artist. After years of doing mostly representational art, I now feel confident to use my experience in color, line, and composition to paint in a more intuitive, responsive way. I consider these finished pieces the results of conversations I've had with the painted surface - about where to go and what to do next.
I work in acrylic and gouache paint, as well as mixed media with acryla gouache, pencil, pen, and oil pastel.