Brande, welcome to Reprehensible Digest. Tell us a little about yourself – your background, where you're from, what you specialize in as an artist...
I grew up in rural Georgia... hot and humid summers and warm winters. I was always building with scrap wood, painting, whatever I could do creative growing up. I enjoyed two years of art in school. My teacher, Miss Lee, was very down to earth. I guess it was the feeling of always wanting to excel, to do more, bigger and better. I know my work belongs on a larger scale. I feel that I'm all over the place – on small canvases when I need a larger surface.
When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?
I realized my calling as an artist after having my daughter. Life gives you challenges and with these must come a release. That for me was my art. I can work for hours on end and everything from that day, week and month will disappear in minutes.
What mediums do you prefer working with and what are your favorite brands?
I love any medium you throw at me. It's the ultimate high getting into something new. Like a kid with a new box of crayons, that was always the best. It's the same for me with some new medium or brush, some fun technique. I'm looking for textures and colors, unexpected mistakes that become wonderful happy to-do's the next time around. I'm always changing, my art changes with me. I'll never be in a gallery, but I'm okay with that. I have to be true to myself, what's in my heart and not what's in some gallery rule book – all due respect to the wonderful galleries.
Name three artists, past or present, who have been a major influence on you.
We all know the who greats are in art and I highly respect them, so instead I'm going down a path that makes me smile the most in art.
Zeen Chin – Zeen's work is like a candy store for bad kids. I absolutely love it. This amazing, colorful and dark art makes me happy.
Miho Hirano – Miho's work is total opposite. The softness and sheer pleasure of the mind relaxing when looking over the works of this master's work is unreal.
Egon Schiele – Egon's work has the rough edges and touches of color, not trying to be perfect, but it is. It's like the woman who throws her clothes together every morning, comes to work looking great without even trying. It takes hours just to pick out the outfit, not including the makeup.
Provide a typical day in your workspace – start to finish – an example of how you set up, how long you spend working, and how you determine when a piece of art is complete.
Normally, I sit for a few minutes and relax, clearing my mind. Although I hate leaving something unfinished, I do not rush. Art for me is a stress-free zone... not rushing, music is a must, having room to move. I love coffee containers for brushes, color pencils, etc. I am finding that less can be more in my work. I'm happy with that. I'm happy walking away knowing I'm happy with what I'm seeing.
How do you handle rejection, criticism or ignorance from those who don't understand your art?
I have my work on both Instagram and LinkedIn. I am lucky enough to have such great support from surrounding artists on Instagram and art critics (shout out to Jerry Saltz). LinkedIn has been a special place for me. I've met so many who have such good hearts and truly wish you the best. Then you have some who are under the impression that I paint for them.
How supportive have your friends and family been in your creative endeavors?
First, I will have to thank my sweet pea, my daughter Haliegh. Not a day goes by when she doesn't wake up with a smile telling me good morning, and saying I love you. She gives me an honest dislike to my work – some needed, some not. But that's all with a smile. Without her, I'm nothing. I'd also like to thank Mr. Paul Barton for his support. Without his kindness I'd be lost. Lastly, I have to thank my parents for all the love and support they give.
There is a gentle innocence in many of your paintings… a childlike quality which is struggling to emerge. Is there some deeper emotional substance you are trying to reach or express?
I guess I've always felt misunderstood by so many. Some see my work as a joke... or they take it a step further and make me feel like one. So, it's been hard to take myself as a serious artist. A lot of hidden feelings are in my work. A lot of who I really am is in my work. A lot of my daughter is in my work.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face as an artist?
Believing in myself enought to believe in my work.
What are some non-art related passions that are near and dear to your heart?
I'd have to say world peace... protection of our wildlife... solving world hunger... our children. Those issues are pretty close to my heart at all times.
As an artist, what would you like others to take from your work?
I'd like to think that others will see the wonder and beauty in the smallest, most mundane things that we encounter each day. I'd like others to take away a feeling of connection and understanding.
Any additional skills, hobbies, or interests you'd like to share – fascinating statements about the artist Brande Summers? Anything critical that we haven't yet explored?
Yes, I would love to further my work in photography and do more scultpures. I would also like to thank you Aaron, for everything you have done for me. I am forever grateful. I would also like to thank my good friend Waldys Foubelo for always lending me his time and ear when I needed it most.