1.How did you come to be an artist?
I think I was born this way. I believe all people are artists, because we are all creating our lives and choosing what to see, hear, and express.
2. Describe your work in three words.
Filled with vitality.
3. What draws you to painting?
Painting is a way to interact with the world, express love, and promote connection.
It gives me a sense of purpose to believe that the energy I put into the world is part of something bigger than myself. I also enjoy the mystery that as people we will never truly know in what ways others will be impacted by what energy we put into the world. I believe this is true regardless of a person’s occupation. We all make choices and have interactions that are part of a butterfly effect.
4. What influence does living in LA/California have on your work?
The cityscapes I create, although inspired by locations all over the world, were born from living in Los Angeles. This city confronted me with a culture shock that felt greater than anything I’d experienced in my travels overseas. The density of people from different cultures, diverse values, and varied life experiences overwhelmed me a bit upon arrival.
As someone who naturally sees details, I felt a sensory overload looking at this city. Then I realized that I could sit in traffic and feel drained, or I could look for beauty in what I didn’t understand. Drawing and painting the city became a way to organize what I perceived as chaos.
Eventually my awareness expanded from individual details such as taillights and reflections on the street and turned into recognizing how all parts of a city worked together unknowingly. I saw the collaboration of strangers and the city stopped being ugly. I saw beauty and infinite inspiration everywhere.
5. Where do you draw inspiration from?
I’m always fascinated by what people create in the world (architecture, cars, fashion, etc.) and how those inventions intersect in a moment.
6. Do you listen to any favorite music or podcasts while working in the studio?
Normally I prefer to listen to the sounds of wherever I am, or to make up songs and sing to myself, while painting. Since I mainly work outside in the sun, my preferred headset doesn’t fit under my sun hat, nor am I a fan of earbuds. During the 2020 pandemic, though, I discovered the music of Brandi Carlile and felt motivated to stretch my old sun hat to fit the headphones. Her music is medicine for the soul.
As for podcasts, I usually listen to those while walking or cleaning. I’m a fan of Alyson Stanfield’s podcast at Art Biz Success (www.artbizsuccess.com/podcast/). Her voice is so soothing and she has been a pillar of consistency in supporting artists all over the world for years.
Alyson even interviewed me in Episode #62 of the Art Biz Podcast, which aired in October 2020. We talked about a project I’m part of with artists around the world having art shows from home during the pandemic.
7. During these stay-at-home times, if you could live with any three pieces of art what would they be?
I would love to have a personal power eye portrait by the visionary artist Joan Marie and a work by Italian artist Bruno Cerboni. I would also like to be surrounded by a fortress of art made up of the work of the San Francisco–based artists Siddharth Parasnis and Suhas Bhujbal and the paintings of Cuban artist Alejandro Gómez Cangas.
I’ll admit that list is much longer than three artworks, although it’s shorter than my real list of artists whose work I’d love to have or be in the same room with.
8. Has the pandemic changed or influenced your art practice?
During the stay-at-home time, I started a painting that has had a different process than working from one of my photos or sketches, because it includes around thirty people who submitted photos via social media or my mailing list to be painted into a beach scene. Normally, my work is based on the synchronicity of a moment captured in one of my photos or of several moments in one of my sketches. Occasionally I’ve painted a figure or a few family members into one of my paintings for a commission. Figuring out the placement for thirty people has been a stretch. I suppose the circumstances opened a little flexibility about how I’m willing to create—I wanted to include others and symbolize coming together even when we are apart, which meant I had to try something new.
9. What are you most excited about artistically (and beyond!) for 2021?
I began a project in late March of 2020 with artist friends called Saturday Night Live Art Shows, which encourages artists around the world to host art shows from home in their social media feeds. So far artists from Western Australia, Israel, Italy, Spain, Ireland, the UK, Canada, Mexico, and all over the U.S. have participated. I’m excited to see how this project evolves and how it influences the flow of creating and sharing art. I invite any artists reading this to look us up and consider joining in, because it’s free, fun, and a great way to connect with followers, collectors, and other artists. Well, it’s how ArtRooms App found me!
View more of Brooke Harker’s work and check out Saturday Night Art Shows here: