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BROOKE WESTFALL WAS BORN AND RAISED IN HAWAII.  HER METICULOUS WORKS ON PAPER INVESTIGATE CULTURAL STEREOTYPES WITH A BEAUTIFUL SENSITIVITY AND SENSE OF HUMOR.  BROOKE CURRENTLY LIVES AND WORKS IN SAN FRANCISCO, CA.  DON'T MISS HER LIMITED EDITION PRINTS

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What has inspired you recently - what are you listening to, reading, watching?

I’m always reading and watching crap to be honest.

My music genres always morph, but right now I’m listening a mix of R&B, Reggae, Soul, some Doo Woppy stuff, and Rockabilly….oh and Beyonce, lots of Bey. I have a big fine on my library card, so I’m only able to check out online audiobooks, my favorite book is Animal Farm, I re-listen to it all the time. I’m in the middle of David Foster Wallace’s The Broom of the System, and some stuff in my queue are Blood Meridian, Detroit, 1Q84. I’m watching season 3 of Frasier...cause I’m obsessed with the dog, Eddie. Aaand I won’t even bore you with all the reality TV shows I watch.

Which artists are you looking at?  Who are your all time favorite artists?

My all time favorite is easy: Shahzia Sikander.

Right now I’m crushing hard on Raqib Shaw, eager to see the James Turrell show in LA, and in awe of my friend, Surabhi Saraf, who recently did a sound performance at the Asian Art Museum. OH, and I just got the new Vitamin D2 book, it’s a great intro to a lot of artist for me.

How has being in the Bay Area influenced your work?  Do you ever miss Hawaii?

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I moved here for grad school, so the combination of that plus being in the Bay area has definitely helped me mature and develop a better studio practice. I didn’t take the title “Artist” so seriously before. I do miss Hawaii, but really only for my family, friends, and the weather. I don’t think I’d move back there right now for any professional reasons.

Can you describe San Francisco’s art scene?

No, not really. But I can describe San Francisco artists. All like ducks, mellow and cool on the surface, but paddling as fast as they can underwater. I feel like it’s a hustler’s world in Levi’s commercial here.

Do you believe everyone has a color palette? What is yours? Where does it come from?

I know I do, but I don’t think everyone does. In my paintings I have a specific color palette that I always work with – helps keep the series look cohesive. Most of my works always look a little dull and faded because I always start with some sort of sepia/brown wash before any color is applied. I’m a big fan of Henry Darger. I think the colors he used were originally really bright, but I really tried to mimic the colors he used as it’s aged and faded. I think that the brightness sucked out of the colors almost tell its own story.

 

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How would you describe your aesthetic?

In my work – it’s all about the detail. I like the images to be a bit meticulous and obsessively rendered, but not push it so far that it doesn’t look handmade in whatever way that means.

What are your favorite things?

Coffee.  Mix-matched dishes.  Caran d’Ache pencils.  All of my art books.  The feeling I get when I hear my new favorite song.

How has your childhood and upbringing influenced your work?

Pretty much all of my work has something to do with those topics. All of my drawings and paintings are loosely based on family narratives, portraying some of the complicated relationships and contradicting feelings.

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Do you listen to music when you work?

Sure. I have to have sound – audiobooks, Pandora, Spotify, podcasts or whatever – non-stop while I'm working. Sometimes I can really kill an album/song in the course of a few days because I’ll listen to it over and over and over again.

Do you make art sitting down or standing up?

Both. But I do sit a lot more.

What risks have you taken in your work recently?

Haa, well I’m a wimp. I take a long time to complete a drawing/painting, so I’m really comfortable working small (like 24”x18”). The biggest risk for me right now is that I’ve jumped scale. I’m working on a painting that’s four panels - 48”x36” each…it’s pretty massive for me.

Who is your biggest fan?

My dog, Jack (but probably because I give him bacon and peanut butter).

Do your parents “get” your art?

Yeah, I think so. They’re really supportive about it all.

 

Do you have a day job?

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Well, since grad school, I’ve gone anywhere from 5 part time jobs to 0, a full time job at a gallery to working seasonal at a chocolate store. Right now I’m working at Root Division as their admin assistant and teaching a drawing class there, I also work contractually for a couple of artists and galleries when they have upcoming exhibitions. My schedule is always pieced together, and that kind of works for me, it allows a little flexibility for my studio practice. You know, just livin’ the dream.

If you weren’t an artist, what other profession would you enjoy?

I’m pretty ambitious, I always aimed to be retired when I was little, my grandparents made it look so glamorous – always traveling and going on cruises. So either that, or I figure I’d be an elementary/secondary teacher like a lot of my besties in Hawaii.

What are you working on now that you are super excited about?

My new big, four panel painting. It’s a brick house from different viewpoints. I’m painting about a million or so bricks in watercolor and gouache. I’m aiming to render all of the texture and shadows in, so it feels like it’s popping off the panel.  I don’t know if it’s super exciting on the daily, but I’m really excited to finish it. I think it’ll probably be my new favorite painting. It’s really exciting to have that feeling again. It doesn’t come very often; the last favorite painting I made was almost three years ago.

Do you enjoy art openings?

With enough alcohol, yes.  I do like to support my artist friends. It’s always nice to go to an opening where you feel like you know everyone. It’s awkward when you only recognize a few people, but don’t really know how to hold a conversation with them. And it’s the best, when you know no one, and you can just look at everything – the art, and the people. Art openings are difficult in general though, if you’re going really just to look at the art. If I was going to do just that, I usually don’t go on opening night, unless it’s a performance kind of thing.

How do you navigate the art world as an emerging artists?  Do you have any tips for our readers?

I don’t think I’m very good at navigating the art world. My only tip is to hang out with art friends or join an organization/gallery that you’re excited to support. Hopefully they’ll support you back. I think it’s important to be part of a community; it really is a who you know kind of world.

Do you have a critique group? How do you accept feedback?

Yup, I’m in two crit groups, both just started a couple of months ago. And I’ve had a few studio visits with professors, curators, and artists post school. It’s always really helpful. I’ve had some crushing feedback before, but I bounce back.

Do you see your work as autobiographical?

No. Well maybe. I’ll say sometimes. I think I can analyze myself through my work and the way I work, but I don’t know how obvious that is to my viewers.

What do you want people to get out of your work?

Someone once told me that my work made their eyeballs hurt. I was so happy! If someone says that again, I could retire satisfied.

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FOR INQUIRES ON BROOKE WESTFALL'S WORK OR TO COMMISSION HER FOR A PROJECT, PLEASE EMAIL INFO@GALLERYDAILY.COM