The Art of Conversation: Shining a Light on Female Artists
I’m thrilled to introduce you to my new blog series: The Art of Conversation,” which shines a light on amazing female artists. Since joining the artist community in 2018, I have had the honor of connecting with other artists through instagram as well as in person at various art shows. While I’ve found the vast majority of the community to be highly supportive and encouraging, I have also run across some unnecessary competition.
I believe in my heart of hearts that there’s room for every artist in the world to shine with his or her own unique talents, and that it behooves all of us to support each other and cheer one another on. That is why I wanted to take this platform to spotlight other female artists who I admire, and who have unique stories. Of course their art speaks for itself, but I love learning about the “why” behind their artwork, and who they are as a person outside of art.
My first guest is Georgia-based artist Brooke Lancaster. I first discovered Brooke through our shared gallery partner, Liza Pruitt. I purchased one of Brooke’s adorable swim trunks paintings this past year and hung it in our Hamptons bunk room this summer. It couldn’t be more perfect for the space!
Brooke calls her style of art “whimsy realism,” and loves to play with solid, bright hues as well as New England inspired patterns and complimentary colors. She is well-known for painting clotheslines, but also regularly paints still life scenes and portraits.
With the support of her husband, Jacob, and two children, Stone and Scotland, Brooke made the decision to pursue painting full time in March 2020. It has given her the freedom to spend more time with her family as well as create any time inspiration strikes.
Below in our conversation you’ll learn more about Brooke’s background, how she became an artist, and what’s on the horizon as she continues to take the art world by storm. Meet my friend Brooke.
Tell me how you initially became an artist? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I have always loved creating, but never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be able to pursue artwork as a career. I participated in any and every art class that was offered in my high school and always admired the artwork of the local SCAD students in Savannah. It wasn't until Covid hit and I decided to fight the anxiety of what was to come with a paintbrush as my weapon of choice. I look back now and think "why did I wait so long?"
How would you describe your style of art?
I love this! I have actually started describing my work as "whimsy realism". There are realistic aspects of shading and highlighting, but whimsy in a way of mixed patterns, fun and bold colors, and eccentric block shadows. I hope to grow into a very realistic style of painting in the near future to offer both realism and whimsy realism!
When did you know you were on to something with your artwork?
I can remember the very moment when I thought "this is it!" I had participated in a show in Atlanta, Georgia with the Pretentious Collector. I was experimenting with every subject in the world it felt like and saw a beautiful clothesline, very nostalgic, while riding down the road on the way to our home. I was intrigued by the mix of southern, "old school" clothesline aspects and the coastal vibe that I live by. I came home and immediately went big by sketching out a clothesline that consisted of a towel, a one-piece swimsuit, and a floppy hat on a 40x40 canvas. That 40x40 was the first piece that sold at the Pretentious Collector show and I remember feeling an explosion in my heart that I just created and sold something that I truly loved! (Of course, it would be clothes. I'm a total shopping junkie!) From there my brain just ran wild with ideas of compositions, items, patterns, and colors! I also realized the nostalgia and memories that I, myself, and others associate with clothing!
Where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration, in large part, comes from my children. I love seeing the world through their eyes. They are so full of life! Their lightheartedness inspires patterns and colors. As adults, we tend to put limitations or rules on ourselves when it comes to the rules of color. No white after Labor Day! Children don't do that! They see no limits; they think that wearing as many colors as you can is acceptable and why shouldn't it be? I love it!
How has your art style evolved over the years?
Initially, I started out painting abstracts and landscapes. I loved the idea of color that inspires and landscapes that look like they go on forever. I had to accept the fact that I can absolutely admire those in my home, but they do not work for me as an artist. I evolved from far off scenes to close ups of my favorite objects! It is so funny how it all works out; what you think you can do vs. what you can actually do.
Tell me about one exciting project you’ve worked on in recent years?
One very exciting project that I worked on was a commissioned piece of a high school letterman's jacket. I loved this piece! I created it knowing that one day this young man would look back at this piece of artwork that his mom had commissioned, hopefully hanging in a home office, and remember all of the amazing times he had in school, friends, teammates, etc. I also LOVE and get very excited about pieces that I create with designers to specific resorts, homes, and locations!
Describe your process - where do you paint and what does a typical day in the studio look like?
A large part of my process is the sketching, measuring, and making sure that each item hanging from the line or flat lay is proportional. There is a lot of prep time that goes into each piece. I really love when creating collections, all of the paintings hanging on the walls of my studio like a closet that I'm bringing to life. My process also includes layers and layers, weeks and weeks, until each piece looks complete. I try to start each day by sketching in my sketchbook and cleaning up a little. Even though my studio tends to be on the messier side with lots of colorful tiny toe prints and fingerprints everywhere, I do feel like I can focus and create more efficiently with a clean studio.
What do you do to get out of a rut and push yourself past a block?
Okay so it may seem silly but when I am truly feeling in a rut or just totally uninspired, I walk out of the studio and close the door behind me. I take it as a sign that my body and mind is tired, and I need a little brain break. I always find that a few hours later or even the next day, I am back at it and feeling crazy inspired or "good" at painting again! Works like a charm!
What is a goal you’d like to accomplish in the next year? 5 years?
At the moment, I am really feeling the desire to breaking to the market of home goods such as wallpaper, textiles, accessories as well as children's swimsuits! I would love nothing more than to bring to life some of the designs that I create that hang from my lines!
What is one piece of advice you’d like to give other emerging artists who are just getting their start?
Gosh, I wish I could tell every emerging artist a few things. First, do not give up! The world needs what you have, and your niche could be one sketch away. Also, do not compare yourself to others. Their strength is not your strength. Your strength may be something that no one else in the world can do or create and that is going to make your work desirable and collectable.