Saturday, July 19, 2008

An interview with Art Whino Artist Brandi Read

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Interview with Brandi Read

Brandi was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1976. As a small child, she looked at her mother’s colored page with envy with how well she managed to keep her crayon marks within the lines. “All it takes is practice,” she learned, and has been honing her skills ever since. At the age of twelve she lived with her grandparents and twin sister in Bradenton, Florida. Her grandmother took her to weekly art lessons and Brandi soon received her first commission. A neighbor paid twenty dollars for a painting of five California Raisins, complete with names of the family members assigned above each character. The portrait, despite referencing pop culture icons of 1988, unofficially remains the worst family portrait painted by anyone.

Brandi’s experience and education in art has expanded far beyond the lessons at the local art supply shop; she returned to Kalamazoo, Michigan, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Western Michigan University School of Art. In addition to showing in various juried exhibitions and group shows, she has won many awards and scholarships—in particular, a travel grant which enabled her to research a sculpture at the Louvre for her Readdressing Victory series. Brandi currently shows her paintings in cities on both coasts, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Dallas, and Atlanta.


What drew you to become an artist?

I was born with an extraordinary desire to make things, especially two dimensional things.

What is your inspiration?

Many things inspire me, such as pretty girls, colors, mythology, beautiful things, books, movies, emotions, music, people, moments in time, and ideas.

Is there one recurring theme in your work?

I work a lot around the theme of Greek mythology and mythological characters, also the ideas of victory, overcoming obstacles, inspiration itself and muses.

What is your preferred medium?

I paint mostly in oils on canvas, but also paint with watercolor, draw, build things and occasionally do some metalsmithing.

Do you have any art available in shows/galleries at this time?

I have work on view at Thinkspace in Los Angeles right now. I have work in a 4-person show at The Gallery at East Atlanta tattoo that opens July 19 in Atlanta. I also have a painting in the 'Project 57' show at Distinction Gallery in Escondido, CA. I always have work at Art Whino in D.C.

Who was the first artist that made an impact on you?

Probably Norman Rockwell but I've looked at art all of my life and have had many different artists influence me and fuel my interest.

Is there a contemporary artist that knocks your socks off?

Many. To name a few...and I'm sure I will forget some, but Dave MacDowell, Kukula, Chase TaFoya, Kris Lewis, Christopher Darling, Erin Laroque, Audrey Kawasaki, Travis Louie. Those are some of the artists whose work I go back to for second, third, and fourth looks. Plus many more, you know.

If you could have any artist paint your portrait whom would it be?

Dead or Alive?

Dead: Rockwell, again. Carravagio, Gentileschi, Ingres, David.

Alive: Any of the above would be great, with the exception of Kris Lewis because his work is too realistic and I just wouldn't have my flaws documented forever in a Kris Lewis painting.

What is your next painting going to be?

That's top secret information. You will have to wait and see!

Do you think formal training or not having formal training helped your art?

I went to art school and wish I hadn't. My college debt is the bane of my existence right now. I could do everything I do now without the degree, and I managed to graduate magna cum laude. I feel that my time at the university was essentially just very expensive practice.

What is the one thing they can’t take away from you?

One thing? Who can take anything away from me at all? I would like to see someone try!


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