Photographer Alana Fajemisin shot with artist Kristin Brandt recently, in anticipation of Kristin’s exhibition at GEORGETTE June 1. This is their collaborative work.
Hi. I’m Kristin Renee Brandt and I’m an artist. I cannot remember a time when I was not one, in some way. I may have been propelled into the visual arts when I was informed that I was the worst clarinet player my band instructor ever heard, in front of the whole band. I’m not sore about it. I was forced to play clarinet — I think my dad won it in a card game in Korea. I have never felt forced to paint. I subscribe to the life philosophy that anything you do can be an art; my forte is not wind instruments.
I can paint anything, although I find myself in the abstract. My painting instruction stopped at high school, but I have been fortunate to have had Bruce Adams as my mentor & sometimes brutally honest friend. He encouraged me to have confidence in my lines. He also encouraged me to apply for a grant to have an installation at the Hallwalls Artists and Models Affair, ‘Sweatshop!’. I was 16. I got it.
I am a painter. I paint murals and families and dogs and knockoffs of posters — but this latest collection I painted for no one. Stains is part of my evolution. These paintings illustrate a language that I’ve been honing for years. I focus on the inherent character of form exposed to time. For instance — oil spots in parking lots. Some would say I suffer Pareidolia, or that I see patterns in random data. Has anyone ever suffered from looking at the clouds?
What does being creative mean to you?
I feel that being creative has a lot to do with having an open mind. Think MacGyver here… Passionate artists will find a way to create and work with what they have regardless as to what they have. We intend to beautify. I once painted on a ‘57 Corvair car door because it was available to me and I saw a story in its canvas. It’s all about perception.
Are there any rituals or routines that are a part of your creative process?
The most basic and necessary ritual I can think of is preparing to work. It dictates everything, so I try to take my time with it. I also meditate with the work and about the work when I’m not with it.
Do you have a favorite piece of art?
I have so many favorite pieces of art for a myriad of reasons it would be difficult to narrow the list. I’m affected by art and try to see it when and wherever I go. Some visual artists I wish I could hang with: Amedeo Modigliani, Egon Schiele, Mark Rothko, Alberto Giacometti, Laurie Anderson, Jenny Holzer & James Turrell.
What are you trying to communicate with your art?
I am trying to create a sense of a mass or the massive — we are all part of this conglomerate. I illustrate the sense of the used and loved over time. I’m interested in the marks and scars left by notations of character. I layer faces and forms is as if they are vibrations through a microscope. My work is my interpretation of those masses and our overall interconnectedness.
Is there a medium that you’d like to practice more but haven’t had a chance to yet?
I had an opportunity to take a spray class with Jay Shogo at a gallery in Shibuya. I learned that I have a lot to learn. Although I painted a pretty sweet Buddha. It is difficult to find a canvas for that — I wish Buffalo had a graffiti playground like they do in Venice Beach. I am also looking to pair music, dance, paint, and words… someday.
What’s the best advice you’d like to offer to fellow artists?
My advice to any artist/anyone/myself daily — be mindful in your balance of logic and emotion. Take the criticism and remain true. I was told that ‘You’re a better painter than this, quit painting anime faces,’ I was told by many to ‘paint real.’ They wanted a shiny bowl of fruit. Our individual languages have a relative canopy — be respectful and be whatever real you really are. I wouldn’t have these paintings otherwise.
Side dish advice from my dad… If you’re asking “Why?,” ask “Why not?,” too.
Photos by AlanAdetolArts, L.L.C. – Birdcage Studios – Buffalo, N.Y. 14213 –firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2018 AlanAdetolArts Photography LLC. All Rights Reserved. All images on these pages are copyrighted. Use or reproduction without prior written permission is prohibited. Check out Kristin Brandt’s work at her exhibition “Stains. Saturated and Unsaturated,” 7 p.m., Friday, June 1, at GEORGETTE, 69 Elmwood Ave.