Chelsea Granger is a multidisciplinary artist. Painting, drawing, illustration, murals and tattoos are the foundation of her practice. She recently self-published a zine about death and grief titled So Many Ways to Draw a Ghost. After the death of her mom as well as a dear friend, she started seeing her art as a way to ‘sing up’ life, with the hope that her art can act as a doorway to create conversations about death and grief. Chelsea’s art is of the everyday, inspired by the overlap of earth/spirit dimensions, and woods as church. She is interested in painting as medicine, painting as a portal, painting as a spell. Her work has been exhibited across the northeast and her murals exist across New England. For over twelve years Chelsea has collaborated with Thyme Herbal, making medicine posters and zines. Chelsea attended Parsons School of Design before receiving her Bachelors in Painting from UMass Amherst and a Certificate in Therapeutic Recreation from Gateway Community College. Her work celebrates life while honoring death, and walking gently into the unknown.
Artist Statement, JUNE 2022
When I was 32 my dear friend Ruth died and soon after, my mom Suzann died suddenly. It took a long time to want to start painting again, but when I did, the only thing I wanted to paint was ghosts and spirits. I wanted to try and visually articulate, and make possible, spaces where the dead move alongside us. Or, if I wasn’t painting ghosts, I wanted to paint flowers- the blooming sitting alongside the dead and the dying.
The spirit & ghost figures have changed over the years. I like how they aren’t solid, there isn’t just one way I’ve drawn them, not just one way to imagine them, I like that we have no idea what they might look like. I like the questions, the unknown of it, the making it up. Sometimes the ghosts are made up of stars or checkers, a swan or a butterfly, most recently– the classic, goofy sheet-over-a-body ghost. Drawing spirits was a helpful part of me working through my grief. To make visible the invisible, to add weight, bulk and a visual dimension to what I couldn’t make sense of. I think it felt less overwhelming if I could see it, less scary if I could paint it, my own kind of haunting.
This show is me working through the pain of the grief that followed these two significant deaths as well as the beauty I find possible in the idea of multiple dimensions. These paintings also hold many classic symbols of transformation. For what is death other than a transformation, a shift, a glitch, a change, a turning.