#10. A Conversation with Kelsey Brookes
JA: So let's start with where I first discovered your work, through the band Grand Ole Party; how is it that you ended up doing artwork for them?
KB: Grand Ole Party ended up playing at one of our house parties a while back, actually. They had just moved down here to San Diego from the Bay area, so no one knew who they were at that time. We had a few other bands play that night as well, but right when Grand Ole Party started playing, the whole party changed and everyone stopped and listened. I was hooked immediately, and gave them one of my zines as they left the party and said that if they ever needed any art work to just give me a shout, and they did.
JA: Your biography states that you were working as a scientist, tracking viruses for the U.S. government, before becoming a painter; what influenced such a drastic career change?
KB: Science was security and certainty, art was uncertainty and fun. At some point, right around my twenty-seventh birthday, I decided to follow fun as my guiding principal in life, and I had the most fun while I was painting. It took a bit of realigning my goals, but it was well worth it.
JA: You've stated your influences range from Hindu and Buddhist deities, exotic animals, sex, and rustic American quilts; how did you arrive at your style, and are there any artists that serve as a key influence to your work?
KB: Lots and lots of experimentation. The evolution of my work, and I would guess lots of other artist's work, is analogous to natural selection. Replace mutation with new ideas, and selection pressures, like disease and mate selection with my own decision making process, and you have an imperfect analogy to natural selection. Some ideas survive into future paintings, and some are killed off and become extinct. It is a continuous evolution.
JA: Your work has been featured in a variety of shows across the world, from the States to England, France, Australia, Switzerland, and much more; did you have a desire growing up to become involved in the art field, and what is it like to be so widely recognized for your work?
KB: Art had previously never really occupied a place in my consciousness growing up. It is a very fresh and fertile area for me, which might be one reason I can spend so much time making art.
JA: Do you have a painting that stands out as your favorite piece of work?
KB: The paintings I have in my head are always my favorite.
JA: What projects have you been working on most recently?
KB: I’m working on my first U.S. solo show for New Image Art Gallery, Los Angeles, coming up this November at the moment and making some new prints for Pictures On Walls.
JA: What advice would you give to aspiring artists trying to get their work noticed?
KB: Do everything that comes your way until something sticks.
JA: If you could sum up your work with one word, what would it be?