Those Who Inspire - In-Depth Interview with Melbourne Artist Brent Rosenberg

30th of May 2020

A creator of contemporary art inspired by his love for portraiture and art forms.

Brent Rosenberg is an Australian Artist known for his use of shapes, texture, and mixed medium. His love of portraiture and art forms has allowed him to develop a contemporary approach to his work, with growth and transformation being the most important message in anything he creates. Art, Fashion and Music have all combined to have a great influence on his creativity. 

With focus on form and composition, everything in Brent's works is purposeful, thoughtful and natural. His works bring you in deeper and gives you a glimpse into his creativity and imagination.

Before we start, how’s Quarantine going?

Firstly, Thank you for having me, especially during a time like this, it's always nice to sit down and have a nice chat. 

Quarantine for me hasn't been all that bad. I'm pretty accustomed to the solitude in my studio, its given me time to work without any distraction, As sad as what the world is going through, we have to take what we can from it, so if it's spending time with your family without being distracted or working on things you have always really wanted to. Time to ourselves is something not many of us have had for a long time. We also aren't in a complete lockdown in Australia. So I'm just focusing on my craft and creating new works for the future. 

What are you motivated/inspired by?    

I find so much motivation and inspiration from others, I see what they achieve and I want to, not just reach that but exceed it, on a personal level. 

Fashion and Music is a huge inspiration in my daily life and I guess that transcends into my work. Having a creative eye for design and interiors allows me to picture what I want to create in my mind and then portray that as accurately as I want onto a canvas. Fashion to me is Art, wearable art is everywhere and it really gives you a true interpretation of the person. I always, always work with music on, it distracts my mind from my insecurities and allows me to focus purely on what I want to create and not the self rhetoric of "is this okay? or is this good enough?. It would be an interesting experiment to create something in silence vs with music, I wonder what i would create. I take a lot of influence from photography, nature and art techniques. mastering a new technique is so satisfying, even if it's a technique from well before my time. Like taking the idea of how Willem De Kooning used garing and strong swifts strokes, almost breaking his brushes and working wet paint and putting my own spin on it by using mediums and replicating that fast action movement with a palette knife or something as soft as a sponge.

 When I was young I never thought I'd appreciate art in all forms, in class I never took a second to pay attention to art appreciation or art history, now however its almost an insatiable obsession to learn history and appreciate what came before in the world you're in now.

Tell us about your background—was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your path as an artist?

Art was always at the core of my life, since I was young I would draw, paint and create. It was only when I was in my early 20s when I started creating with a purpose. I was curating shows at a gallery in Melbourne, which was a bigger push into the artworld. It was rough at the start, working on creating something I thought the world would want. It took a few years to realise that you actually can't do that. Dwarfing your creativity for the sake of a sale does not hold you in a great space long term. So in around 2014-15 i decided to create what i wanted, how i wanted and leave it up to the universe to tell me if what i'm doing is working. I spent a long time with a management group at the beginning, being represented definitely helped early on, but made it hard to be free. Right now I'm purely focused on representing myself and enjoying the freedom that comes with that. Until the right representation comes along I'm definitely feeling in a good place creatively.

Your work has a very captivating pull to it —not to mention the patience it must take for creating a piece. Can you tell us about the process of creating your work?

That's very nice of you to say,  I guess that's the beauty with art: you feel what you feel and see what you see. If what has been created can captivate then that's pretty amazing. My process is pretty natural, I start working on the face using many different elements on my programs, once I feel like it's ready it's sent to my printer, working in a mixed media space allows me to create as I move. So once printed it is mounted onto a painted canvas, ready for the next stage of collage. I like to mix up my materials so I mainly work with Golden Acrylics & Mediums with subtle use of gold leaf and stones. It kind of all comes together before i know it. Like trying to layout a puzzle without knowing what the image looks like properly. I think I have thrown out more artworks than I've kept. So it's a state of it won't be seen if I'm not happy with it. Patience is so important with anything you do. So I like to keep calm and keep patient because it's either going to work or it's not. Either way i'm content because i have learnt something either physically or mentally about what i can do. And I'm always pushing myself to evolve and mix it up. I don't want to keep creating the same thing over and over again, i rarely go backwards if for a commissioned artwork, moving forward, creating and experimenting is always the way to get better and more balanced in what you create.

What is your opinion on contemporary art?

I have a deep appreciation for all visual art, whether that is modernism, conceptual art, expressionism but for me i'm always pulled to conceptual and contemporary art. I believe more than ever today's culture comes from art, in all different forms. We are now surrounded by creativity and it's not seen as a hobby or a side gig. Artists and their work are appreciated worldwide and by a larger group of people than just art enthusiasts or collectors. The days of reclusive struggling artists I believe have been lifted and it's seen as a real, profitable career. Contemporary art isnt just Hyped artwork for the resell market, each artist has an agenda or message they want to portray. For instance Alec Monopoly isn't just creating his artwork with Richie Rich or the Monopoly Man because it looks cool. He tells his story of wealthy aristocratic society. Daniel Arsham is creating what he sees as future relics in the present form, Even though these artist are not attainable for everyone in the world to have displayed in their home. It's the message and portrayal of the world we live in that can be accessed by anyone and everyone. I guess that's what made Basquait so great, his artworks told a story of his life, feelings and political climate of his life. Yet when you see his work you may not initially see his message but it's there for the people who care to learn and research his art.

Contemporary art in 2020 is a vehicle for artists to communicate the current world we all live in, in their own unique way. Every decade or century has its own stories, and artists are the storytellers for the future, present and past.

You’ve mentioned on your website that your creations are a true interpretation of the world around you. Can you tell us a little more about that?

Of course, it's purely an inner thought and perception of the world I live in. The world in my head and the world I see. I like to sit and really find a sense of calm and a special state of mind when i'm working. So a lot of my work is created with a sense of clarity. What I create shows my sense of mood and meaning whilst I'm in the creative process. And to me that's my own interpretation of the world around me. It can be simple, soothing and easy or it can be hectic, crazy and overly consuming. 

Much of your art seems to explore the intersection between organic forms and femininity. How did you develop an interest in the female figure and those sweet, geometric shapes? 

The different shapes that create the portraiture is purely like assembling a puzzle. Instead of using pieces it's more of creating the puzzle without the picture. I find that part of my work probably the most calming and relaxing. Even though it can take days, weeks to finish. Simply put the mapping of the face and faceted nature of the portraiture is purely a point of differences to modern forms of portraiture. The organic form is the femininity it's the softness the female form brings to the artwork, It adds a depth of beauty and meaning to the artwork. I really try to use all different forms of femininity in the artworks. 

How has your Instagram changed your life? Can you tell us about that journey?

IG has had a large impact on the trajectory of my career, it has given me access to people and brands I wouldn't normally have. We met on IG and now I'm here being interviewed. So it's a pretty important tool in any business. Distance becomes irrelevant, when the world has direct access to seeing your work and contacting you directly and so easily.

My social media journey started a long time ago, I created my Instagram with the idea to show my work and creative process. It has grown completely organically over many years. I use it daily to connect with other artists and exhibit to my audience. It can be super frustrating at times, trying to maintain a certain amount of interactivity and understanding the ever challenging algorithm. But at the end of the day if someone has decided to follow you and interact with your page then you have clearly captivated their attention. I personally don't put a large emphasis on my followers or likes. I believe it's more important to focus on the interaction of your followers. With the evolution of social media, I think it's important that we each continue to work and establish our brands.

What do you think are some of the most inspiring things happening in the art world currently?

I love this question, it has so many layers that I'll try to give my perspective on. It used to be if you were a painter, you'd paint, you were a sculptor, you'd  sculpt. But now more than ever the artworld is open to everyone and everything, you have Kanye mixing art with architecture, fashion and music, Virgil Abloh as the head designer of LV mens & Off White whilst collaborating with Takashi Murakami creating original artworks. Mr Kim Jones literally brings in artists to Dior, like Raymon Pettibon and one of personal favorites Daniel Arsham. This movement of inclusivity is by far the most inspiring thing in the artworld right now. 

The artworld will always be controlled by the Galleries. That won't ever change, the biggest artist in the world needs that. How else can you sell an artwork for the price of a Banksy if it wasn't. It's just now younger, lesser known artists have a space to make their way. What's more inspiring than an unknown becoming a known and admired creative! That's the best part of all of this, is you don't know what is around the corner.

Do you have an essential philosophy that guides you in your creative expression?

I have a simple philosophy that guides me through my process and creative expression. Create what you want to create, not what you think you should create. I remind myself of this constantly when I'm working with colors or proportion and composition. It's taken a while to realise that when you think you may sell something straight away, it's the artwork you don't think will sell that sells quickest. So just allowing myself the freedom to do what i love and create something i love allows me to express my creativity in its purest and most honest form. And that's what I strive for. My work at its purest form.

What’s next for Brent Rosenberg?

Well that's now an interesting question, if you asked me in January I would have said my goal for 2020 was to work on a new exhibition and more importantly focus on taking my artwork to the next level Internationally. But now with COVID19 stopping a lot of those ideas for now, I have to refocus, and go back and work on my skills set, evolve my techniques and ideas and really work hard to make sure at the end of this, I haven't wasted a single moment or idea. And when we come out of this climate i have a  full arsenal of ideas and creations so i can take those steps needed. As a little sneak peak ill releasing new work in the next few weeks as well as some sculptural pieces that have been in the works for the past 12 months or so.

Brent's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brentrosenberg/

Brent's Website: https://brentrosenberg.com/

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