Beginning Thursday, April 14, Stillwater's Modella Gallery welcomes a new art show, Layers, from painter Brandon Mitts and musician Noah Renaissance. The show is a collaboration between the two artists, combining their talents in 16 audio/visual pieces. Each of Mitts' expressive paintings is accompanied by an instrumental piece form Renaissance that can be accessed via QR code from any device. The exhibit continues through May 14 with an opening reception on Thursday, April 14 form 5:00 - 9:00 pm. Artist talk is Saturday, April 30, from 3:00 - 4:00 pm. In the interview below, Mitts shares his thoughts on becoming an artist and his creative process.
When did you pursue an art career and what steps did you take to make that happen?
I took a drawing class at OSU and my professor, Marty Avrett, encouraged me to major in art and go to graduate school, I didn't even know that was a possibility. I had always enjoyed drawing while growing up, and that advice set up on a path to embrace painting as something serious and transformative.
Are there other mediums such as music, film and television, books, comics, etc. that you find helpful in generating ideas and inspiration?
Music influences my painting for sure. I have incorporated text from song lyrics in to my work for over 20 years. The mood of a song can also influence the colors and movement. I love film and am inspired by creative imagery. Mad Max: Fury Road is an example of a movie that challenges my visual process.
Do you incorporate elements of your personal life into your work? And, is there a process of separating yourself from the work that has to be done?
My personal life is a part of every work. First, my paintings are expressive... and that emotion comes from a personal space. Also, even though my work is abstract, there are still glimpses of people I know and places i have been. I think I am most satisfied with a painting when it separates itself from me. I feel it is complete when I stand back, and find myself curious about what I am looking at. It has evolved to a place that it is sustained on its own and I am the observer; no longer the maker.
What do you find most exciting about your own work?
What I find most exciting about my work are the relationships created. The ways the colors relate. The ways the marks relate. The ways the materials relate. And ultimately, the way the viewers relate to the piece.
Modella Gallery is a non-profit gallery dedicated to bringing contemporary arts to Stillwater, Oklahoma. The gallery continues to be a program designed to share the works from national and local artists, visual art, musical performances, and hosts special events and projects. Modella Gallery is located at 721 South Main Street in historic downtown Stillwater, Oklahoma. The hours are Thursday and Friday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. For more information, please contact the gallery at 405-880-4434 or visit modellaartgallery.org.