Kelsey Brookes – San Deigo
It is hard not to be overwhelmed when viewing one of Kelsey Brookes’ paintings. He doesn’t make art that is obvious or easy to put into a textbook caption but rather works on which to meditate and explore. Filled with complex mythological images and words, each painting tells a story that is beyond full comprehension. Curious, BANGSTYLE spoke with Brookes to find out more about the man behind these incredibly sublime paintings. Read the full interview below!
BANGSTYE: Does your background in microbiology contribute to the symmetry and organic quality of your work?
Kelsey Brookes: My scientific training is how I orientate my questions in life, and those questions are what I am painting about. So yes, my scientific understanding of the world informs my art.
BANGSTYLE: You use mermaids, unicorns, and other mythological figures in your work. You also use human forms, but they are rarely completed bodies and are often combined with the heads of animals. Why do you choose these images, both aesthetically and emotionally? What are you trying to communicate through these figures?
Kelsey Brookes: I am trying to communicate the feeling I get when I imagine and later paint these figures. It’s not a feeling that can easily be described which is why I have to paint it.
BANGSTYLE: It is easy to say that your art has psychedelic elements, but it seems more methodical than spontaneous. What is the process behind your paintings?
Kelsey Brookes: Good question, and you are correct in saying that my process is very methodical, especially in these most recent paintings. I take one very simple idea or image and through a process of repetition, slowly add layer upon layer until the final piece is just a faint echo of the original inspiration. It transforms into something more than the sum of its parts.
BANGSTYLE: There are surreal elements in your work. What artists influence you?
Kelsey Brookes: Everything I see or perceive in my life informs this art, not just other art.
BANGSTYLE: Each of your paintings has an intense sense of movement and energy — like they aren’t meant to simply be observed but are outwardly expressing an emotion or feeling. Does this relate to your psychedelic experiences?
Kelsey Brookes: Well, I hope that is the way the artwork comes across; that is certainly often my intention. That idea of expansion is often present in the experiences I have had with the “psychedelic.”
BANGSTYLE: What music inspires you while you work?
Kelsey Brookes: Lots of Ravi Shankar and The Beatles.
BANGSTYLE: When you’re not painting, what are you doing?
Kelsey Brookes: Surfing.
BANGSTYLE: Do you have any exhibitions in the future that you would like BANGSTYLE readers to know about?
Kelsey Brookes: Quint Contemporary Art in La Jolla, California, in November 2012