Nina Childress (b. 1961 in Pasadena, California) is a Franco-American painter based in Paris, France. She studied at Ecole National Superieure des Arts Decoratifs de Paris (ENSAD), and at Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-arts de Paris where she currently teaches and was appointed Chairman in 2019. In 2021, Nina Childress was nominated for the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor for her career in the arts.
In the early 1980s, Childress was an active member of the French post-punk movement with her group Lucrate Milk; she began painting then. From 1985 to 1989 she joined the street artist collective Les Frères Ripoulin, to which Pierre Huyghe and Claude Closky also belonged. In speaking about her practice, Childress describes her paintings as “conceptual and dumb”, never keeping herself in a box and constantly changing her subjects. Today, her focus is chiefly on portraits of glamorous female idols of the stage and screen such as Sylvie Vartan, Kate Bush, Hedy Lamarr and French popular culture icons of the 1970s and 1980s such as the Swiss disco star Patrick Juvet and mother-daughter film stars Bulle and Pascale Olgier. Recently, Childress has been capturing these figures in phosphorescent paint, which transforms the image when displayed under black light.
Childress’ work has been shown nationally and internationally, most notably at MAMCO (Geneva), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Centre Régional d'Art Contemporain (Sète), Fondation d’entreprise Ricard (Paris), FRAC Limousin-Artothèque (Limoges), and Frac Nouvelle-Aquitaine MÉCA (Bordeaux), where she will have a major retrospective in 2021.