The ESSENtialists with Chainky
Welcome to the ESSENtialists, a series where we connect with inspiring creatives, entrepreneurs and like-minded women over the Essence of Less.
Chainky Reindorf has always understood the power of clothing as an extension of self. With a portfolio that spans painting, tapestry and sculpture, the multidisciplinary artist explores the idea of world-building and mythmaking through the art of masquerade. “My interest in the masquerade stems from my fascination with clothing and how our behaviours are affected by what we wear,” so naturally I have a deep love of and fascination with fashion.” A quick scroll through her Instagram backs this fascination up in spades. A medley of art and personal style, Chainky’s online presence is a study of how minimalist and refined ideals needn’t be boring.
From understanding her practice to its influences on her personal style, read on for our first instalment of The ESSENtialists in conversation with Chainky Reindorf.
Can you tell us a little about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
I am a multidisciplinary artist with a deep interest in world-building and mythmaking through the art of the masquerade.
Can you tell us about your creative practice?
My current practice involves creating artworks ranging from paintings and tapestries to sculptural installations which revolve around a fictional world I imagined. I am inspired by my own personal experiences, and my exploration of West African folklore and religious cosmologies. I am particularly interested in masquerading as an intervention through which guises and mutable personalities can be used to explore deviancy and nonconformity. So, a lot of my work references these ideas in one way or another.
Your artistic style fuses bold colours and architectural lines. How would you describe your personal style?
My simple answer is that I like what I like. Except what I like changes all the time. I tend not to describe my style as being one thing or another, because it is quite mutable. I am generally drawn to interesting and unique looking pieces, especially sculptural looking pieces. I am also drawn to interesting textures, with a focus on materiality and tactility. I look at pieces and judge how I feel about them from an artistic or aesthetic point of view, so I am more inclined to collect pieces that make me think twice or make me excited and can act as conversation starters in their own right.
How does your creative practice influence the way you dress?
I’m all about color-blocking and texture in my work and I think that spills over to my wardrobe. I’m particularly drawn to colorful sculptural pieces and pleated materials that create interesting and wonderful shapes when worn.
What is your idea of luxury? What informed that idea?
I think about ease and satisfaction when I think of luxury. Being happy with my life trajectory and being able to afford things that make me happy, but also worrying less about things I cannot control. So, this translates to ease of life, and ease when making choices.
I am pretty high strung, especially when it comes to my art practice and my creative career, and it involves trying to be in control of everything. There has been a certain level of relaxation and giving up control which has brought a feeling of peace to my life when I lean into it.
What’s your mantra when it comes to purchasing new pieces?
I try to avoid trendy pieces as much as possible and focus on finding pieces that are unique or one of a kind. I tend to find that this is possible with pre-loved items or smaller brands who create pieces on a made to order basis. I will often reach out to a brand and ask them if they are open to making a piece. I think because I am coming from a creative career myself, I know how much work goes into creating special pieces or art, so I like to respect and honor what these pieces cost.
So I look at it like I’m collecting a piece that is special that I know that I will love and cherish for a long time. Within my friend group, I am the one obsessed with fashion, so we have an approach where we often share clothes, which I think is pretty special as well.
Which is your favourite ESSEN piece and why?
I really love The Chunky Slide. It is a simple yet stylish design that looks very comfortable and will elevate any outfit.
Which piece in your wardrobe have you had the longest?
I have had a silk scarf I got from my mother for about 13 years. Even though it’s a bit worn around the edges because I use it for everything, as an accessory, as a headwrap, even as a top, it will always have sentimental value to me.
What piece of style advice do you always come back to?
Listen to your intuition.
What inspires you?
Most broadly, I would say life, because a large part of my personal experiences informs my art practice; people I meet, books I read, art that I see. My art practice is also a large part of my life, so everything is connected in one way shape or form.