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Technique Talk: Painter Adam Brouillette

Posted by Jackie Mantey | March 28, 2013 02:13 PM

Technique Talk is a weekly online Alive feature that spotlights the work flow of a Columbus artist. Know someone we should talk to? Send tips to jmantey@columbusalive.com.


Adam Brouillette has been a fixture of the Columbus art scene for some time now, but that hasn’t slowed him down.

“I have a few exciting upcoming projects,” Brouillette said, including a May show at the University of Wisconsin and a show in Asheville, North Carolina.

April’s also got him booked — he’s working on Agora X, the Junctionview Moving Sale, and In The Box: Mobile Experiences at the Columbus Museum of Art — not to mention the closing of his staple studio space Junctionview at the end of this month (he’s working on a project to replace the loss of Junctionview, Brouillette added).

At the heart of Brouillette’s work, though, are his paintings’ cherished diminutive misfits that laugh, curse or cry right alongside their artist. Brouillette took some time out of his (obviously) busy schedule to talk about how those characters can express what he is feeling, who his greatest artist inspiration is and more.

What kind of art do you make and why?

I make narrative paintings that use a graphic, stylized, set of characters that I have developed over the last few years. I don't know "why" I make them. I think any artist is inexplicably compelled to make their work… but I do enjoy sharing my unique interpretation of the world around me and my experiences.

When do you make art?

I make art in waves and spurts and fits and starts. Ideas come occasionally. Once the ideas come, that compulsion comes back. Creating time to feed this compulsion becomes part of the story. It is a decision each artist makes to prioritize what is most important. Does art become something done in spare time? Or is it given more gravity and allowed to take more precedence.

“Notes on an Untimely Death,” by Adam Brouillette. Latex on canvas.

How often do you make art?

Often. As frequently as ideas and motivation allow. Sometimes in sketches. Sometimes in larger pieces.

Where do you make art?

I make art in my studio. I make art in my sketchbook. I make art in between meetings. I make art on site. It all just depends on what kind of artwork I'm making and what time it is. I prefer to be in my studio... as the environment is designed for my creative endeavors. But, the opportunity arrives and sometimes you make things where you can.

What has been inspiring your work lately?

Lately, I've actually been struggling with trying to feed off of positive things happening in my life. Over the past year or so, much of my work has become introspective and sullen, driven by major changes and challenges that have been part of my life. My work became increasingly “quiet,” with some of the work even being my variation of angry. More recent events in my life, like my friends having children, my engagement, and some positive changes in my professional life have led to the work turning more positive itself. Art reflects life.

“I’m too Busy to Die,” by Adam Brouillette. Latex on panel.


“We Breathe the Same Air,” by Adam Brouillette. Latex on panel.

What advice would you give a new artist that you’ve found invaluable?

Keep working. Don't expect to be given a medal for everything you do. Earn it through work. The tortoise is always going to beat the hare.

What do you do while you work?

Watch movies. Watch sports. Listen to music. Eat snacks.

Do you ever experience artists’ block?  If so, how do you combat it?

Yes. Frequently. Block comes when life gets into routines... when things get rote. But paying attention to life experiences, and making sure to lead a dynamic life... leads to more opportunities for making art. Again... art reflects life.

Three artists, living or dead, that you would invite to a dinner party and why:

Yoshitomo Nara - An inspiration of mine and someone I would love to ask about technique and development of style.
Norman Rockwell - Perhaps a casualty of a schism in the art world, I also liken what I do to Rockwell. I'd love to talk to him about his observations and musings.
Bill Watterson - Probably the biggest inspiration to me. Calvin and Hobbes is still the best example of how narrative cartoon imagery can inspire people.

“Great Wave 2.0,” by Adam Brouillette. Latex on panel. (Part of the Hilton Hotel’s permanent collection)


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