THE HIDDEN ARTIST: Chloe Cumbow
CONNECTION TO NOHO: She was a “geeky teen who used to live there”
MEDIUMS: Painter, photographer, textile artist, and jeweler
Chloe Cumbow is about as hidden from the world as any artist can be. A somewhat recent L.A. returnee, she settled in Reseda where you will find evidence of her beautifully painted utility boxes that have begun to dot its streets. Chloe can be seen in the late hours of the night perfecting the wings of a swallow flying among the oranges of one her box paintings or removing yet another sad incident of tagging on her most recent box of the world map gloriously painted upon it. She’s at every local art event with her Nikon camera, snapping pictures of other’s works and the onlookers enjoying them. She draws on the lives of artists like a sponge—learning from them and living among them. But the best association that can be made to Chloe Cumbow is Fun-A-Day.
Chloe gave Fun-A-day to Reseda by way of Rhode Island. She learned of it from someone who brought it there from Philadelphia, where it was originally created by a group called The Artclash Collective and is now in its twelfth year. The premise is simple. After the holidays, wintertime is sluggish, so why not do something? They invited people to participate in Fun-A-Day by encouraging them to do one creative thing EVERY day for the month of January with these few rules: it is free to participate in, you can make anything (art, written word, music, etc), it’s for all ages, it’s not juried, and it’s noncommercial—meaning no judgements and it’s not done to make money. After the month has passed and the participants take their thirty items or the one item they spent thirty days making, they install their own work at a designated pop-up gallery that has been publicized, and have a no-admission-paid art opening for the community. This is usually scheduled for sometime in February with dates and location TBD. Why do this? Cuz it’s FUN!
It takes a lot of hutzpah to put on any event, but just because Chloe is, well—Chloe, she’s been able to oversee three of these by now. She does so with diligence, dedication, and the determination to keep Fun-A-Day as it originated—with the same rules and allowing the participants to be hands-on and not mandated by anybody else’s guidelines. It’s sorta like letting go of all formality—having nature take its course as a free-for-all. But it works and it’s fun at the same time. I sat in on the planning committee for the upcoming Fun-A-Day and listened as Chloe asked the group to think about the diverse mini events they might have within the main one—what musicians to invite to play, the possibility of poetry slams, perhaps some belly dancing, who would help with promoting it, and who would volunteer snacks and beverages. The show of raised hands was all the evidence needed of who would follow the leader. From the looks of that meeting, this Fun-A-Day is certain to be much more than just fun!
Chloe Cumbow is a strong example of what community should strive to be. During our interview, she said, “Home is where I live.” If you think about that statement, she’s absolutely right. We don’t just live in our apartments or houses, we live in community with others—our social family. Thankfully, Chloe is helping to remind us of that by being that family and making it fun at the same time.