Stripe – Brianne Dawson

107 Walnut Ave
Santa Cruz, 95060
First Friday Artist Image
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Full run of show Sep 6, 2019 - Sep 30, 2019

What interests me currently as an artist is the communication of everyday realities. My work is an abstract representation of my thoughts, emotions, and environments; I have developed my own series of symbols and marks through which I channel my feelings about the world around me, both personally and globally. 

After graduating from art school I took a three year break from creating my own work. I started teaching, which is all-consuming, and did not have time to be creative myself. I always loved and appreciated art, but my study was a means to more effectively share that appreciation with others, rather than to create art myself. I wanted to be a teacher, and I love teaching. The impulse to create my own work, for myself, took me completely by surprise – it felt like something that was outside of myself. I started carrying a sketchbook everywhere, treating it like a visual journal. I filled it with impassioned scribbles and marks, shapes and symbols and coffee smears. It was all loose and urgent and abstract and a complete departure from any work that I had ever created before.

Now, I see my work as a way of keeping record. I have developed a personal vocabulary of marks which I use as an abstract code, though they rarely hold the same meaning twice. They feel very personal because the way I use them communicates something for me; the things I repeat – such as the scribble of chalk pastel, the series of dashed lines, the half-shapes that I use repetitively – are a language that I have developed with myself. When things seem beyond my control in my personal life, in the world, in this country, politically, I tend to get wrapped up in cycles of anxiety and hopelessness and restlessness. I find that making the work takes my brain away from the anxiety inducing realities, but also represents them in a way, gets them on paper, so they hold both more and less weight. 

I feel emotionally connected to my current work because it is so in-the-moment. I work entirely by feel, without planning the outcome. The first layers of my paintings are put down with the express purpose of covering them up. I will pour acrylic paint onto my canvas and then use my hands to spread it around in a way that is very tactile. The process of creating the work has become, for me, just as much art as the work itself.