Close Up: Brandie Grogan
It is a rare occasion to see a solo show at Space Gallery. That is why this Saturday, November 6th, 2010, is a very special night. Space Gallery invites you all to attend the solo show “What A Ship Is Built For” featuring new works by Brandie Grogan. Grogan is an artist whose work jumps off the canvas and transforms into 3D masterpieces made of found goodies from her artistic and inspiring environment. Her meticulous eye for good grabs from the dump (whether they be alive or dead) , and endless hours printing and assembling her pieces are partially responsible for the genius in this show. Each creepy piece of junkyard jewels develop into a story in the artist’s mind and evolve into a sculpture or piece of intricate artwork. One can appreciate the time and effort Grogan takes just by taking one glance. Her work is something different that the San Francisco art scene could use. Glad to have her at Space!
Take a look into what Brandie has to say. Her words are just as interesting as her work.
Can you describe your process for your next show at Space Gallery, “What A Ship is Built For”?
I usually start with all the bits I’ve created and have collected, which includes anything from scraps of paper, small prints, old photos, new photos, drawings, small sculptures, hair, stitched fabric, molds, found objects and building materials. I have it strewn all over the studio, and I piece it together. All of these pieces in this show have been worked and reworked until I felt they were ‘done’ and that I was done with them.
Does your process change with each new body of work?
I try to work with different mediums for every show. ‘What A Ship is Built For’ involved some sculptural pieces like the photo blocks. Those pieces had a very long process attached to them. It was about finding old 4×4’s from salvage yards and sometimes the side of the road, cutting, sanding, staining, burning screens and printing them. Of course I didn’t do the pieces at the same time so I ended up repeating this process about six times. I am a printmaker so I am used to it.
Do you have any rituals you do before starting a painting? Do you have a vision of what it’s going to look like before you start, and follow that vision? Or, do you just create as you go kind of thing?
I love driving around and taking photos with digital and analog cameras. I usually hit up a few salvage yards like building resources in San Francisco. I walk around and get ideas for new pieces. I gather different materials and come home and spread them out along with the photos that I’ve taken and see how they work together. Rearranging, cutting, pasting, covering up and scraping back to reveal what’s been hidden to the point of insanity. This is the ritual that I have created for myself and it is what I do when I’m alone. It’s really not until the last-minute that everything comes together. If anyone were to watch this process they would think I’m creepy.
You have interesting mediums. Tell me why you use human hair, and whose hair do you use?
I use everyday things in artwork. Pictures, lost items, found items, drawings…and hair is just another one of those things. It’s weird how it is seen as beautiful on someone’s head but as soon as it is cut off it’s suddenly disgusting. So I find hair in old photo albums where someone has saved a lock from their child’s first hair cut. The idea behind this act of saving something is really the essence the work. It’s about storytelling and keeping something alive.
Do you work best with structure or clutter and chaos?
I think my work involves both. It is sort of like a structural element that is breaking down.
It’s crazy to me how our society is so afraid of growing old and dying. Death is inevitable, and just as much apart of the circle of life as birth is, and therefore just as beautiful. What are your views on death?
For me it seems to be the thought and anticipation of something dying that evokes the fear and apprehension. It’s another example of the ideas behind my work. It’s a process that includes sadness and denial but it also includes recalling all of those memories that you left behind. To me it’s fascinating and this is the kind of artwork I like looking at and producing.
How do you like teaching at the Academy?
It’s so amazing to see this influx of new ideas and talent. It’s very inspiring.
What are your artistic fantasies?
I want to start making some large scale installations. I would love to take over an entire warehouse and turn it into some sort of exquisite nightmare.
What kind of reaction are you looking for in your audience?
I love seeing all reactions. One person could feel sadness and another thinks it’s cute. It’s all across the board but any reaction is a good reaction.
How was your childhood? Were you one of the kids writing on the walls with crayons and markers?
Definitely didn’t write on any walls. My mom was an interior designer so she was just a little particular about our house. She decorated my bedroom pretty elaborately when I was little. A lot of pink items: baskets, ribbons, dolls, throw pillows, bolster pillows… then one day I came home from school and walked into my pink room and said that’s it. I threw everything pink into a box and put it in the garage.