I received my bachelor’s degree in studio art at Furman University, and from there began a career not painting. However, I did manage to push my way into museums. I spent a year at the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Georgia, before moving to Chicago, where I still live. I worked at the Art Institute and the Chicago History Museum as an editor. Currently I divide my time among painting, light copywriting, and building Hot Wheels tracks with my son.
As I remember, I always enjoyed drawing when I was a child, and my encouraging parents signed me up for classes outside of school. It was at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland, that I first painted, and it was because of my teacher, the talented and chatty Walt Bartman, that I began to take it seriously. He taught AP studio art (in high school!), and by senior year I thought I was legit because I had double-period AP studio art. Bartman’s classes were very popular, and there are quite a few former Vikings from my class who are still legit: Anne (Perkins) Wert, Maura (Collins) Matthews, Gavin Glakas, and Ben Hilts.
One of my favorite memories of Bartman’s class is when he brought in a caged chicken for us to draw. He named it after artist Kurt Schwitters because, “it Schwitts all over the place.” I still have my chicken paintings, which are ink and chalk on a heavy, toothy paper. We worked quickly and on big paper because that chicken flapped his feathers the entire time it modeled. At the end of each school year, the art department held a big, well-attended show, and Bartman incentivized us throughout the year to earn a prime location in the gallery (gymnasium). The more art you produced and the harder you worked, the better your ranking when he handed out spaces. It was a big gymnasium ("under the dome") with many rooms--there were bad spots.
Bartman treated us like budding professionals, and we worked like them; at least it felt that way. He taught us everything from stretching our own canvases to putting together a portfolio for college applications. He took us to New York into the studios of his former students (LEGIT!), as well as the many galleries in Washington, DC. He let us scatter around town for plein-air painting field trips. He taught me not only the foundation of how to paint but also joy and satisfaction in the process of making art. Twenty-ish years later, Bartman's teaching, as well as his happiness as a painter, is still an influence.
The elements and principles of design have always driven my painting style. I look for positive and negative space, light and dark, bright color, and maybe an unusual point of view. I don't limit my subjects--I'm interested in finding great composition and contrast with the aforementioned elements. I often think of something said by artist Lucien Freud: “Every painting should have a drop of poison.” That’s how I sum up the importance of balance and tension in a work of art.
I also credit DNA for my interest in art, because my cousin Gena Brodie is a painter, too. Take a look!
Awards and Exhibitions
Silver Medal, Art Ascent magazine, December 2019
Who's Afraid of Red? Exhibition at Studio Oh!, December 2019
Merit Award for Emerging Artists, Art Muse, November 2019
Artist, Lakeview East Festival of Arts, September 2019
Artist, Ravenswood Art Walk, September 2018
Guest Artist, Cornelia Arts Building Open Studios, May 2018
"A clear vocational disaster"