Brendan Carroll takes influences from art history and contemporary culture and combines them in his abstract paintings
“You can鈥檛 escape being influenced by other artists, but somewhere along the way you need to find the confidence to describe things in your own voice.”
Brendan Carroll is an abstract artist based in Atlanta, Georgia. His paintings combine his love of art history with more contemporary influences.
In this podcast, we explore what it means to really find your voice as an artist, and how becoming part of a creative community can help you find the confidence to progress your art career.
Brendan Carroll: His Journey as an Artist
Brendan has been painting for 15 years, and says he was initially influenced by the work of abstract expressionist painters such as Jackson Pollock and Willem De Kooning while taking fine art classes as an undergraduate.
He says: “I saw their work, and I thought ‘I want to live that kind of artist lifestyle’. So, I moved to New York after school, and I fully immersed myself in the creative scene there.”
However, art alone doesn’t pay the bills.聽So, Brendan (who studied psychology as well as art) took a job in a research lab so he could devote his evenings and weekends to improving his art skills.
He says: “I wanted to see if I had what it takes to become an artist. It soon became clear I wasn’t good enough at first, so it took me about five years to build up a set of paintings that I thought were good enough to exhibit.”
How聽Brendan Carroll Found His Own Voice as an Artist
After working hard at his art for five years, Brendan Carroll eventually had the breakthrough he’d been looking for.
It’s that moment when you instinctively know your art is good enough to confidently show to people. That moment when you know you’re truly speaking with your own unique voice.
He explains: “Going to New York was聽about seeing as much art as possible and finding out whether I could make something like that.
“It was like a complete immersion of art. In New York, there are just so many opportunities to see art, and so many artists working there. For me, nothing more important than seeing the work of other artists and being influenced by them.
“I聽started a set of paintings which became my portfolio when I applied for a masters degree at聽graduate school. They were much more original than earlier work and had a聽certain level of uniqueness聽and skill.
鈥淚t looked like my work, and it looked like it was well done. As an artist, you聽can鈥檛 escape all the influences on your work, but somewhere along the way you need to find the confidence to describe things in your own voice.
鈥淎nd, once you feel like you鈥檙e using your own words to describe something, you鈥檙e probably getting there.鈥滭/p>
Brendan Carroll on Moving to Atlanta
After he’d finished his master’s degree, Brendan Carroll made the move to Atlanta, Georgia, when his wife got a position聽there.
He聽found a job at one of the local art galleries, and now works there four days a week while devoting the rest of his time to art.
Being part of a smaller creative community has worked out well for him, and he says it’s much easier to get exposure for your work than in New York.
He says: “鈥淚 started meeting other artists and聽gallery owners and becoming part of Atlanta’s contemporary art community. It’s聽a big city (more than six聽million people), but the art world is very small – with just a few hundred people. Therefore, it’s very easy to meet everybody and become a significant contributor to this community.鈥滭/p>
“The major thing I鈥檝e learned from the last five聽years is that it鈥檚 all about trade-offs. We welcome new artists with open arms, and聽you can call gallery owners and they鈥檒l actually come and see your studio.
“There are fewer galleries and fewer gallery shows, so your barrier to entry is much lower.聽For example, there are聽only three聽art shows this week in Atlanta, so your chances of being written about if you鈥檙e exhibiting are much higher than in New York.
“There are cities like Atlanta all over the world, where the art scene is not huge, but it鈥檚 very close-knit. It brings people together more as creatives,and there’s a real camaraderie聽between聽us. We all have a 聽shared bond of working in the arts.”
Listen to this week鈥檚 show and learn:
- Why finding your own voice will come naturally to you
- Why it’s so important to be part of a creative community
- How to be influenced by other artists but still make unique work
People on this Episode:
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