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Featured Artist: Constance Klippen

After a one-week hiatus I am very happy to be back on Decadent with a new artist for y'all.

Constance (she/her) may be the single most inspiring young artist I have ever met. I hope you enjoy her irreverent but profound approach to art in this interview.

Constance Klippen
i am a human being and my soul is an artist. my clothing line is it’s own entity. it picked me to be the channel of manifesting itself and i feel really lucky. it has a mind of its own. my soul is amazing. it is a creator— that is all it does. not just in art. my entire life, existence, and experience is art. every thought that i think, every conversation i engage in... it's all my art. the paintings just show you that i am an artist.

Constance is an young artist from Minneapolis who recently moved back to the city, as she put it:

the universe kind of shoved me here and i plan on blowing my dwindling savings at dogwood coffee until i feel happy about it. so yes, very big plans.

In her typical, lovable, no-nonsense way, Constance's answer to my question, "What are you listening to right now?" was,

the thoughts in my head— "why the fuck is it snowing", "why do men treat me like i’m covid-19", "is my landlord trying to kill me?"

What are some current projects of yours that we can look forward to in the future?

i actually have a lot in the works now— i’m in the process of releasing a totally new line of clothing. i’m releasing it slow.

i’m also writing a lot; i’m working on a poetry book called “yellow paint” to release digitally.

i’ve been teaching myself the ukulele all summer— i’m awful but i just love it.

i also just found a mannequin and that feels, for sure, 100%, like a project.

Untitled, Acrylic on wood, April 2020, Constance Klippen

I asked Constance what she does to cope with a lack on inspiration, since every artist approaches that difficulty differently. This was her unusual but insightful answer:

i’m never uninspired. you won’t believe me but it’s true. i’m not always inspired to create art, which i’d guess is what you meant, but i’m always inspired to do something.

there’s a lot i want to do while i’m here. i always just do what i’m inspired to do, whether it’s to take a nap, drink 3 americanos in one day, or drop of out school my senior year.

Reading anything good these days?

“someone like you” by roald dahl. it is absolutely amazing, captivating.

(As a side note, I am a huge fan of Roald Dahl and can definitely see a creative connection between his kooky stories and Constance's fanatastic art.)

What does your background in art look like?

honestly, one day in college (no, not art school, but something much more sinister) i suddenly became obsessed with painting and never looked back.

the only thing that’s been with me since i was young is, like, this constant state of existential crisis. i remember being in pre-school and driving around in those cars you would push with your feet, by myself. i remember thinking, "this shit is so weird, what is the point of this?" and as i’ve gotten older, it’s just gotten worse.

i think i found, that one day in college, that sitting my stupid ass down, taking a shitty paint brush to 69 cent paint, then smearing it wherever i wanted, however i wanted, was the only thing that offered me any reprieve from the prison that was, and still often can be, the thought of, “what is this and why am i here?”

Constance told me that one of her greatest sources of inspiration was "a woman named Eponia". I want to share the story with you, as Constance told it.

i was at this art crawl in northeast minneapolis and i saw this man that i’d been absolutely and totally in love with for some time now. with his girlfriend. i ran outside, so in pain to have seen this.

i prayed to god on that bench that i wouldn’t have to be lonely anymore.

i wandered back inside and ended up in eponia’s studio. we ended up talking for hours. she was magic. when i was with her, life had a totally different rhythm. things i didn’t think were possible were suddenly happening all around us.

i don’t think it would do any justice to try to explain her, she’s far more than i could ever say. she has played, potentially, the most foundational role in my transformation, other than myself.

the king, Acrylic and oil pastel, January 2020, Constance Klippen

2020 has been a difficult but life-changing year for us all. I asked Constance how that has affected her creativity and she told me,

2020 showed me how to be my artist. how to create the work of my soul, with ease and grace.

art used to stress me out, because it can feel like there are a lot of expectations once you decide you’re an artist. i don’t get like that anymore. i’m very tapped into my spirit and i know when i follow her lead i am free.

i know now how to create in this 3-dimensional world, exactly what i see in my head. i know how to do it in such a way that i will like it, too.

because that’s another thing about being an artist— it’s hard to like what you make. you never quite like the finished project. i’m not like that anymore. i figured out why it was happening and i know how to make it perfect.

I asked Constance to say a little more about why she thinks artists sometimes dislike their own work:

not liking what i made was a manifestation of not liking myself. everything i made was so me.

it wasn’t about the piece not being perfect, it was about me not being perfect.

i’ve figured out how to execute my work perfectly (to my standards), so there’s nothing i can oppose anymore. i feel the same way about my work as i do about myself. and i love myself, but i can never really love myself the way that other people do. i think it’s totally impossible. i don’t think it’s something to work towards, i think it’s unattainable— to love yourself as well as others do.

i have self love, of course, but it’s different. the love i see people have for me, i’ve never felt it for myself. i accept my work. i feel good about my work. i love it because i’ve put about a million hours into perfecting it, i love it because it’s the air that i breathe. but i know other people can love it more and better than i do. and i know that they do. i feel really lucky for that. i am very loved.

van gogh self-portrait (rework), Acrylic and paint marker, Fall 2019, Constance Klippen

And, as a fellow van Gogh lover, I am curious to know what it is about his work that you find especially intriguing.

what i find intriguing about van gogh is van gogh. when i was 19 or 20 i read up on him and felt understood in a way i hadn’t before. reading the story of what happened with his ear— it was the most relatable thing. seriously, that’s how fucking insane i felt at the time. he was so miserable but would obsessively paint basically when he wasn’t trying to kill himself. the amount of art he made didn’t make sense. he never got recognition for it. he never sold one piece. everyone told him it was awful. still, he kept doing it. everyday he would paint. he needed to do it no matter what. he had nothing but his inspiration, and it was how he survived.

eventually, he couldn’t survive anymore, and i get that, too.

nothing in this world makes sense when you’re an artist. it can be a hard thing to be a part of. it can be a hard thing to stick around for.

Constance is an artist with a endless talent and inspiration.

She not only creates incredible paintings like those featured in this post, but also writes poetry, runs a clothing line and has recently gotten into music/video as a medium.

I asked her about Cover Apparel, her phenomenal line of clothing, which she said, earlier in the interview, chose her "to be the channel of manifesting itself". I asked her what she meant exactly; was this a way of relinquishing control over her creative impulses?

i wouldn’t say i have control over them… i know what you mean, but it’s more like i have a relationship with them. they have control over me if anything.

i’m not kidding when i say it tells me what to do. cover specifically.

i was about to kill it off because i hadn’t heard from it in a while then it came out of nowhere, basically attacked me, and was like “i’m not going fucking anywhere”. you should see me experience this shit, it’s as insane as it sounds. since day one, cover has told me what to do. the only difference now, is i know cover so much better. and i fucking love cover. its a lot like me. it’s totally unpredictable, and that’s my favorite quality about anything.

You can check out her amazing stuff on Instagram @coverappa

Connie was also kind enough to share one of her poems with us:

beautiful mind

how i love you, how i am you

how i long for you on days of rain,

hours of pain, a hidden magician

in all your glory, how have you not taken

the moment to recognize

it is you that you dream about.

hours of contemplation just to remember

your own name

my lover, don’t leave me

love me as i love and long for you

each day,

find solace in the recognition

that you are the artist you dream about,

for years and years

the beauty you crave

exists in each word you say,

each moment you make,

it’s not coming for you, darling

it is you.

a beauty not unrecognized

as it is felt often and always,

but slightly misplaced

nothing too awful, darling,

just a small step this way.

a mind so clever, it fooled itself,

and i love you for that

how you carry on

in puzzles, riddles, clues,

well, well, what an ending to find the trail led

straight to you.

i embrace this masterpiece

with a love never shared

beautiful, beautiful mind

an unearthly creature,

pure mystery, wordless description,

if it is a body you need, then

inhabit me, i promise i am

as soulful as you are.

coming together, as drops in a sea,

swim through time with me, as lovers

in endless waters

colors unseen, feelings untouched

a dance to never lose sight of

my artist, uncovering my dreams,

i can see again

because you are here to consume me.

floating through, finding emptiness

in the space behind my eyelids,

the place so miraculous for a lover to sleep,

intoxicating, intoxicating,

impotent, impersonal,


connie's lane, Acrylic on wood, Constance Klippen, Summer 2020