Linus Galleries, Fine Art Gallery
2014 Artist Interview Series
Linus Galleries, a Los Angeles contemporary art gallery, presents The Artist Interview Series. Our Linus artists are from all over the world and come from a variety of different practices and backgrounds. Read on to gain insight into the creative process and personality of our featured artist. This week we feature artist Jeremy Brooks who recently exhibited one of his pieces for our Queer exhibition.
My name is Jeremy R. Brooks. I am a (ceramic) sculptor and collagist residing in Carbondale, IL where I teach as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the ceramics department at Southern Illinois University. My background is in the ceramic arts, and while I do have a fondness for finely crafted objects through the malleability of clay, I have a parallel yet equal interest in found objects, images, and materials that are very much “away” from the hand / handicraft. As such, both the found and the fabricated greatly inform my studio practice.
Are you self taught or did you formally study art?
I received my BFA in art and design from Grand Valley State University in 2001, and my MFA in ceramic art from Alfred University in 2007. I studied under Daleene Menning while I was an undergrad student, and I studied under Anne Currier, Andrea Gill, John Gill, Wayne Higby, Walter McConnell, and Linda Sikora during my graduate studies. My older sister, Melanie Brooks, is a ceramic artist as well, and she also inspired me at a very young age to pursue a career as a maker.
What subject matter appears most in your artwork? What do you love about that subject? What do you dislike?
As a gay man, themes of gay culture and aspects queer theory appear most frequently in my work. What do I love about the subject? The men… all of the men. What do I dislike? The fact that it definitely narrows my viewing audience. The very definition of the work queer, however, is something that is unusual, hence it will never have mass appeal and will cater to a smaller audience.
As a ceramic craftsmen, materiality or “ceramicness” is always on my mind. What do I love about the subject? Getting dirty – both physically and conceptually. What do I dislike? Again, the fact that it definitely narrows my viewing audience. “Nerd-ing” out over the material based ceramics is typically only embraced by fellow clay heads and material junkies.
What colors or mediums do you fear or avoid using?
Regarding the use of color in my work, while I do not consider myself to be chromophobic by any means, the color purple is one that I use rather infrequently. I do have plans, however, to start using purple pansy flowers as ornament in some upcoming collages. Regarding mediums that I avoid using in my studio practice, I have employed a lot of mixed media and material finishes on ceramic wares in the past that are not as archival as I hoped they would be such as textured spray paint, flocking, wax, soap, and fragrance. I have been making strong efforts to work with more archival materials / finishes in my recent work so that the work is less ephemeral. My recent works that utilizes ceramic decal collages on commercial porcelain plates and canvases grew out of this concern, and these works are some of the most archival pieces that I have produced to date.
Have you ever gone through a period of “quitting art”?
I have not gone through a period of quitting art. I have gone through periods of time when making work was not possible due to a lack of facilities (for the production of ceramic work specifically) or due to a lack of funds in general. In order to stay active, I was left to find new avenues for my creative output, which actually expanded upon my lexicon of a visual language in my studio practice.
Which artist living or dead would you want to have drink with? What would the drink be?
If i could have a drink with any artist living or dead it would be Johann Friedrich Böttger, a German alchemist who is credited with being the first European to discover the formula of porcelain. The drink would be a porcelain slip which we would analyze rather than consume. I would hope by the end of the chat he would perform some slight of hand trick to turn the drink into gold.
Where would you like to travel?
One day I hope to travel to the Meissen Factory in Germany because of my interest in the history of porcelain and the work of Johann Friedrich Böttger and Johan Joachim Kaendler. While in Europe, I would also like to visit several of the other porcelain factories as well including the Sèvres Porcelain Factory in France.