The Houston Wall – Q&A with artist Brian Alfred

The uber talented Brian Alfred recently completed a mural on our Houston Street wall. His passion for art saw him drop out of medical school to pursue a Masters of Fine Art from Yale. Today, the Brooklyn-based artist’s work can be viewed in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC, amongst others.
After completing our wall (see the video), Brian chatted to us about his work…

Can you tell us about your mural on the Houston Street wall – how did it compare to working in studio?
It was really nice to work out on the street. I’ve done some public work before but this was my first mural. We had a good time talking to people throughout the process. There’s a total different energy pace and flow to working in the public.

If you had to, how would you describe your style?
I’m interested in reducing things down to a simplified interpretation of an image. As my work floats between painting, collage, watercolor, digital drawing and animation, I want the way the images are made and the medium to reflect the changing way we encounter visual information in our daily lives.

Did becoming a father influence your work?
I used to say no way having kids would change my art. I was wrong. My son has opened my eyes up to seeing things in a different way and that alone has an effect on my work. I made a kid’s book for him called Birds In The City. It’s images all over New York City with a different bird in each scene. It was basically two things he loved that I merged into a book.

What would consider your breakthrough moment as an artist?
I’m not sure I could pinpoint it. I really just love making images. I would say that seeing my animations play in Times Square on the big Panasonic screen was pretty amazing.

Can you tell us about your current exhibition It’s Already The End of the World?
It’s a museum show at the Frist Center of Visual Arts in Tennessee featuring work from the past five years or so with animation and painting. It opened along side of the first retrospective of Carrie Mae Weems, an artist I deeply respect and admire.

You’re passionate about music. What is currently on your playlist in the studio?
There’s a long list – lately I have been listening to Flying Lotus (he scored my animation that’s playing at the Frist), Toro Y Moi, Hudson Mohawke, Baths, The One AM Radio, Battles, Blackbird Blackbird, TNGHT, Teebs, Knxwledge, Gold Panda, Bibio, Mike Slott, Jacob 2-2, The Drums, Heralds of Change, Youth Lagoon, and a lot of High Life, Jazz and Dub.

Are there any shows you’re looking forward to this winter?
I’m really excited about the Black and White Picasso show at the Guggenheim. My friends Wendy White and Diana Al-Hadid have shows up now which are really great. Also, the Tokyo Avant Garde show at MOMA in November should be great.

What’s next for you?
I am working on a new body of work based on Formula 1 racing that I’m really excited about. I have a couple shows lined up and I’ve just released a new print edition with World House Editions. I am also curating for Woodpoint & Kingsland. It’s a new company that collaborates with artists to make clothing and custom objects like shoes, skateboards and snowboards.

STUFF BRIAN LOVES:

Product: My new Breville espresso machine

Book: A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi

Movie: Lost In Translation

Band: The One AM Radio

Art: Hokusai

Hotel: Park Hyatt

Restaurant: Zenkichi

Food: Thai

Cocktail: Mojito

Destination: Tokyo

Guilty Pleasure: Coffee, coffee, coffee

Cause: Breast Cancer Awareness

Indulgence: Doughnuts

Inspiration: Music

For more information about Brian, check out:http://paintchanger.com/

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ART & CULTURE