Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at email@example.com. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!
Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? Do you work with other mediums?
Brandon Whittaker: I've been doing art for as long as I can remember, I used to paint in my bedroom growing up… Paint everywhere. All the time… I primarily work with acrylics, my upcoming show is all based off of acrylic pours on raw canvas and other mixed materials like wood scraps and string.
Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
My process could be seen as organized chaos. People think that making abstract art is a matter of “flinging paint and making a mess” but it is so much more. You have to learn how the substances you’re working with will react to different surfaces, temperatures and most of all your mood that day! I tend to paint regularly as of late. The ever changing mess of a political climate that we find ourselves and the rest of the world in has led me to make art more often. I find it like therapy, I have learned so much about my own person and it has helped me to understand the world around me better. I tend to start with a piece of raw canvas and then figure out what my current inspiration is, what's my mood, what are the emotions I have felt that week? Do I feel confrontational? Then I beat up a canvas with paint…
Tell us about where your inspiration for your art come from?
I am inspired by the world around me. People. PEOPLE PEOPLE. If we can take a moment to recognize that people are not actually scary then we find ourselves being inspired by random strangers stories, lives and genuine kindness. Its been an incredible experience to be able to take the emotions I feel after talking to people out on the streets, living their lives and taking that and (in my own way) putting it onto a canvas. Letting others experience this. The main thing when I make art is to be AUTHENTIC. With authenticity comes freedom and clarity.
Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles etc?
I'd say that my beat would be nature, design and music. In my "real life job" I own and operate an interior design and lifestyle business. I'm an artist and entrepreneur which is an interesting combo. Constantly seeking inspiration while also striving to be innovative in my business and an ever changing entrepreneurial landscape.
Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
My ex bought me a piece from a little thrift store in Sequim one summer. I fell in love with it and he saw the twinkle in my eyes. I had to have it. It depicts a male ballet dancer with a beautiful orange background and a solid blue vertical line running through. It reminds me of beauty. Of course if it weren't for that single blue line I'd probably get rid of it. It's all in the details.
What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
I think learning to stand on my own, after separating from my partner of 3 years everything was on the table. Who will I become? How will the world see me? How do I want them to see me? What do I want out of life? It all translated into my art and also helped me to understand my own pain, fears and desires. It brought me back to life in a way… Reborn through art.
If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find?
Good question! I have an upcoming art show called “ART BIZARRE” happening September 29th. Details are on my webpage, www.bwhittakerdesign.com.
What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
Well, this show has been two years in the making and is very close to my heart. It will be benefiting a portion of proceeds to Project Violet at the Fred Hutch. They are working to create drugs from plants to treat pediatric cancers. My niece Violet passed away 6 years ago from a Glioma brain tumor, She was the little girl who inspired this incredible foundation... That said, I think after all of this is over I will take a breather, its been mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting. This fall I will be back in full swing of continuing to develop and grow my business. I'll never stop creating art however, hopefully people will be so inspired by this show, that it gets to return the following year bigger, better and with guest artists.
Lastly, how do you take your coffee? (We ask everyone)
Black, hunty… Cream is for the weak. ;)