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Adrian Landon Brooks – Interview

Adrian Landon Brooks is an American artist, making smart illustrative work with a neo-folk slant. He’s living in the hills outside of Austin, Texas. The move out to the sticks has been a big adjustment for the city kid. He and his wife, Dalyce with their 9 month old baby, Willow, have taken on the challenge so many of us dream for…building their own house. Fun, challenging, exhausting, rewarding…the gamut. I caught up with Adrian for a little interview in anticipation of his solo exhibition, ‘Miracle Worker’ opening on June 11th at Andenken Gallery in Amsterdam. Here’s what he had to say.            two_birds_watching_detail_web 

Hyland Mather: You moved from the Big City of Austin, out into the country. Do you have a shotgun rack?

Adrian Landon Brooks: I don’t think a shotgun rack would fit in our city slicker hybrid! Give me a few years and I might start embracing our new-found surroundings.magic_hands_web

HM: I’ve heard you say your working process can be very meditative. Does your move to a more peaceful setting aide this creation meditation process, or do you find yourself missing the bustle?

ALB: I’ve always lived in big cities so the move is definitely an adjustment. I’ve managed to make work in all sorts of tiny closets and corners of dimly lit living rooms so it’s nice to have a dedicated space now. We have a lofted second floor that will serve as my studio ‘til we build something bigger down the line. I’ve learned to sit down and work regardless of the countless distractions surrounding me. All the outside noises are drowned out once I am engaged with the painting.

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HM: You’re neck deep in the building of a house. I know for many creatives, building your own space is a massive dream. How is that going?  

ALB: My wife and I have been building the last two years in the hill country outside of Austin, TX. I can honestly say it’s been the most challenging two years of my life but also just as rewarding. I am very accustomed to making my creative vision a reality with my artwork, but building was a whole other beast. One of the biggest challenges was learning to share a vision with another person and practicing the art of compromise. I am proud to say that we are now living in our place with our nine month old daughter, Willow. We are finally getting to the finishing stages of the process and can move on to the painting, staining and decorating. All the good stuff!

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HM: When you were pretty young, 19-20, you and a few friends had a rental house, and I read that you had pretty much covered it with paint and ink by the time the lease was up. Is this the plan for the house you’re now building, or are you going to try and separate the work you make as an artist from the space you’re living in as a home builder?

ALB: I would like to keep some separation for sure but the work tends to spill over in most areas of my life and house. We decided on a lofted studio partially because it’s more economical to build up but also to better contain the clutter. My actual workspace usually just consists of a drafting table and maybe an easel but it’s the repurposed materials that take up the most room. I hit streaks of collecting interesting pieces and it might be months before I get around to using them. I would really like to build a barn shell for a studio sometime in the next few years. It would be interesting to see the direction of the work without as many space restraints.  

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HM: More and more you’re using found object as the substructure for your paintings. I’ve heard your work described as ‘neo-folk’. Do you see the found object as a contributing force to this description?  When can we expect some more work on clean fresh panel?

ALB: The repurposed materials contribute greatly to my vision and the overall success of some of my work. Particularly using the original surfaces of the wood/metal as the background. I would be hard pressed to recreate the natural patina of some of these objects. I would say it’s pretty common to see repurposed objects and materials in traditional folk art from many different cultures. Some of which are more utilitarian but I imagine it was also about utilizing materials that were easily accessible. Over the last few years I have unearthed tons of treasures on the countryside, which have later turned into paintings. The hunt for materials and discovering ways to use them has become a very vital part of my process. That being said I still crave painting on a freshly built wood panel, especially when I am wanting to work a bit larger.

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HM: Your paintings seem to utilize some common totemic themes, for example the bird creatures. Can you elaborate a bit on your imagery mythology?  

ALB: Most of the symbolism in my work is a fairly subconscious hodgepodge of imagery borrowed from the different cultures that inspire me. The bird head specifically was a way of separating myself from the main subject in the painting. It’s stepping away from a more self-portrait approach. I put plenty of myself into my work but it’s not really intended to be a literal reflection of myself.

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HM: I’ve heard you talk about color interaction, particularly with pastel flavors. Color preferences though, especially from what the fashion seasons tell us, ha, seems to oscillate in popularity. Have you been visually married to the same set of colors for a long time? Do you see your personal preferences for colors changing?

ALB: I am partially color-blind so it’s kind of important for me to continue with what I know works. Certain hues blend when I see them and it can be hard for me to tell the difference. A good example would be light pink and white which can almost look identical to me depending on the surface. I still go through phases and get hooked on different color combos. I will always be a sucker for terracotta, seafoam green and marigold.

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HM: You went to school in SF at the SFAI.  How much influence have the Mission School artists had on your own work?  Was that a big draw for you when deciding where you wanted to study?

ALB: I will never forget sheepishly approaching Barry McGee back in 99 at the Hoss opening in Houston, TX. I brought him my sketchbook full of weak imitations of his work. He just smiled flipping through some pages and found a blank page to sign my book. I have always been deeply influenced by Barry and Margaret Kilgallen from the moment I stumbled upon the Mission School movement. It was only natural that I run to SF the first chance I got. I spent some time at SFAI and lingered around the city long after attending school. I met a handful of locals who showed me sides of the city that probably look like a different world nowadays. The years I spent in the bay area influenced my direction greatly and inspired me in too many ways to count. It was truly a magical time when everything started feeling possible.

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HM: Your old work, circa 2007, was an order of magnitude more abstract and expressive, the tight, flat illustrative renderings of your work of today is a real departure.  Was this a gradual move, or did you simply wake up one day and say, ‘Nope, time to paint flat, tight work instead’?

ALB: I think the departure came when my painting skill started to catch up with my creative vision. The more expressive approach was a way of going through the motions and fine tuning some of the imagery I still use today. I achieve the ultimate meditative experience by creating a simple and concise image filled with all the colors I love. The process itself can sometimes be more important to me than the final product. 

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HM: What’s a dream art project for you, if money, time and scale was no nuisance?

ALB: I would like to use some of the experiences from our building process and erect some small structures for site specific installation. Think Pee Wee’s Playhouse with creepy bird head pals.

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HM:  Thanks for the interview my friend.  I’m really really really looking forward to the Miracle Worker exhibition. 

ALB:  Oh you’re welcome man.  Thank you!

Check out more of Adrian’s work here: adrianlandonbrooks.com

Follow the dude on instagram: @adrianlandonbrooks

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Blek Le Rat – Paris Urban Art Fair

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Continuing to populate the series of prints he recently launched, the godfather of stencil art, Blek Le Rat is at it again. ‘Rope Pulling’ is a numbered 
3 colour screen print on 250gsm Vélin d’Arches paper. The print is 56 x 76cm and limited to a run of only 60.

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If you’re after something a bit smaller, ‘The Crooner’ is a 2 colour print, edition of 150 on 22 x 30cm 300gsm Arches Paper.

For further information email
blekleratprint@gmail.com or head down to the inaugural Paris Urban Art Fair from 22-24 April 2016.

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Hellion Gallery – 2nd Annual Ema Show

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Loving the latest show coming up at Hellion, featuring AJ Fosik, Maryanna Hoggatt, Eric Wert, Nosego, Ben Venom, Casey Weldon, Souther Salazar, Olivia Knapp, Jon MacNair, Mary Iverson, Robert Bowen, Jesse Hazelip, Karilise Alexander, Andrew Schoultz, Josh Keyes, Stephanie Buer, KozynDan, Zach Johnsen, Ren Sakurai, Yoskay Yamamoto, Koralie, Jean Jullien, Amandine Urruty, Nicolas Barrome, Alexone, Koleo, JM Ouvry, Haroshi, Tamaki Mori, Nino, MHAK, Renan Santos, Heather Mclean, Kojiro Ankan Takukawa, Ewa Prończuk-Kuziak, Peca, Joram Roukes, Dilka Bear, SAL Jeff P and Yu Maeda.

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www.helliongallery.com

Dan Witz – Mosh Pits, Raves and One Small Orgy

In what will be his third solo exhibition at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Witz continues to develop his acclaimed mosh pit series while also exploring new surroundings. With a career spanning over three decades Witz has evolved from being a pioneer of the street art movement to refining a studio practice that incorporates both digital and old master techniques.

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Influenced by the work of Renaissance painters Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel, his large-
scale oil paintings of rampant crowds embody a rebellious and provocative nature that’s heightened by a stunning hyperreal aesthetic. He elaborates:

“I’m an academic realist painter, but I’m living in the 21st century, so I’m not going to be painting Roman soldiers invading, or some gothic baroque composition…The highest aspiration of an academic realist painter are these big group figure paintings, and I’m using the hardcore scene as my subject.”

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In this new series of work, Witz continues to portray the frenetic motion of mosh pits but also expands upon his usual hardcore setting in a pair of works called Brite Nite, which depict rave scenes. As their luminous title suggests this atmospheric change has fostered a tonal shift, resulting in compositions that are euphoric and less physically aggressive. Witz further develops this notion in Small Orgy, an amorphous interlocking of nude figures in the midst of experiencing different stages of ecstasy.

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While building upon established themes Witz remains true to his skillful methods of conveying light, shadow, movement and depth. Mosh Pits, Raves and One Small Orgy exemplifies his renowned trompe l’oeil artistry, as well as his ability to epitomize the primordial instincts of his subjects.

www.jonathanlevinegallery.com

www.danwitz.com

StreetArtNews – Spotlight on VNA

Huge shout outs to Rom Levy at StreetArtNews for the love on their website today – here’s a little insight into VNA and the Managing Editor behind the mag.

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Check out the link for a little background on who we are and what we do…

www.streetartnews.net/retrospectives/roland_henry_vna_word_on_the_street

LIMITED EDITION MTN AUSTRALIA CREW TEE

MTN are extremely excited to release a new limited edition MTN Australia T-shirt in collaboration with T-world.

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Photo: Nicole Reed

T-world is the only T-shirt journal in existence and this year marks their 10-year anniversary. They’ve recruited Travis Price, a local illustrator, known for his T-shirt design work worldwide. It’s not the first time Mr. Price has collaborated with T-world, having also created art for Johnny Cupcakes, REBEL8 and Santa Cruz, just to name a few. MTN now joins that list and they are beyond rapt.

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Photo: Nicole Reed

‘Buying this tee means you’re part of the CREW. We have your back and you have ours. Loyalty in the graffiti game is more important than ever and we want you to paint the town red – or whatever MTN Australia colours you choose!’ MTN AUSTRALIA

The black tee is available with a white or blue back print and a front pocket print. These T-shirts are extremely limited, so be sure to get yours while they’re hot. Run, don’t walk!

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Photo: Nicole Reed

The Machine of Man; Le Bas Interview.

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Process is the hidden side of greatness, the unseen pathways and effort that only the artist themselves understand. In graffiti and street art, this process can be seen as deceptively simple – a strict copying of one thing onto another whose only real change is medium…but not Le Bas. An openness towards how different types of media can aide his practice define Le Bas’ work, his forms a fluid and colourful recognition of the artistic conversation between analog and digital.

Continue Reading →

HORFEE x SAEIO

From March 10th to March 25 HORFEE, the artists SAEIO and Antoine HORFEE, decided to play a trick together, being old companions that they are. The exhibition will be hosted by two different locations : the Arts sans Frontière, a cultural space booked especially for the occasion, and the Galerie P38 where the exhibition will take place until April 25th.

Pages from press release

The Game, as a vector of new perceptions, like a way to transcend the codes and the established order, by freeing itself from a dictated view. The Game as jubilation, as sharing, as a fight against the boredom, thrown to the face of the world. The Game as a tool to create our own rules, like a hand stretched towards the Elsewhere, beyond the boundaries of language, beyond everything, in the infinite space of what we call, the fringes of society. The Game as a dramatization of oneself. To see the world as an abyss, to suddenly take ourselves seriously and remain that way. A boundless game, with unlimited materials, colors or techniques. A flashback to the savagery of childhood, and its innocence mostly.