I love how this blog has connected me to people I never would have met otherwise. After covering the Long View Gallery opening, one of the artists featured, Scott Brooks (warning: some nudity in the paintings on his website), got in touch with me. Turns out he lives and works on U street and actually reads my blog. Last weekend we got together to talk about life on U street, being an artist in DC, and how the arts community in DC has changed.
Scott has been living in the area for nearly 20 years after growing up in Michigan, and moved to U street in 2000. He’s seen the art scene in DC evolve from a few small galleries, to watching Long View open their 5000 square foot space. And while the DC scene has grown, we still talked about how outside artists seem to get more hype than local ones, and how serious art collectors still look down on DC as a destination to buy art (they’d rather go to more established scenes in New York or LA).
As for working as a full time artist in DC, while Scott has a lot of shows planned in the future, he says he still does more commercial art than he’d care to admit. He works in illustration, graphic design, and even does steady work with WWE’s children’s magazine (I thought that was kind of awesome). He also shows a good amount outside of the city, he’s had shows in New York, LA, and even in Italy.
While most of the shows Scott is a part of feature one or two of his works, (you can see some of his work locally at Nevin Kelly Gallery in the near future), he is having a big solo show at Long View in October 2010. That might seem a long way out for us, but it’s a lot work for Scott. Since the space is so big, he’s painting some of his largest scale pieces for the show, as well as a lot of new work on a smaller scale (understandably, artists and galleries want to show new work, not old).
I really enjoy Scott’s art, as he told me he looked to classic Renaissance art as well as MAD magazine as inspiration, I totally saw it, there is a classical, yet childlike quality to the people he paints. I enjoy his art’s playful quality, and his eye for the weird. We talked a bit about John Currin and his art, and it also didn’t surprise me that he was a fan (though neither of us much cared for the more pornographic turn his work had taken lately).
As for living on U street, Scott mentions favorites of DC Noodles and Solly’s (me too). Check out Scott’s website and go to his shows – enjoy the local art scene!