Artist Interview Pixelsurgeon: Brendan Monroe


Brendan Monroe was born and raised in Southern California with a BFA honours from the Art Centre College of Design. He currently resides in Los Angeles, producing work in an underground basement in the Chinatown of LA. While he’s not working, he’s out camping, skateboarding, chasing stray cats and collecting insects. In short, living it up.

PIXELSURGEON: Could you tell us a little about more about your favourite medium of work as your portfolio is rather diverse?

BM: Well, I like painting in acrylics, drawing with ink, sculpting with wood and silkscreen printing. I don’t know which is my favourite. Some are easier than others. I think that’s why my portfolio is more diverse, when I get bored with one thing then I try to move onto something completely different.

PIXELSURGEON:There is a hint of grotesque in your depiction of the human face. The bug face reminds me of Kafka’s character, George in the Metamorphosis. Are you inspired by the insects you collect and how?

Yes. I think they are some really interesting creatures. They are so small yet populate so much of the world. I don’t mean to be grotesque all the time, I just think you can’t have much happiness without much sadness.

PIXELSURGEON: Tell us about your relationship with comics and storytelling.

BM: Well, I think a lot of my images can tell their own stories within them. I like making the comic because they go much further into story telling than just one image can. Writing is also another great medium that’s fun to experiment with.

PIXELSURGEON: Have you thought about developing your character for animation or a new series of comics?

BM: Not really, but also yes. I think the way I draw out my storytelling is a lot like storyboarding for an animation. In that way I do think it could be possible. Up to this point I haven’t made it one of my main objectives to make any animations. It is true, it could be really fun and rewarding. Maybe it’s just a matter of time.

PIXELSURGEON: Do you like nature (plants growing out of animal backs, for example)? How does it affect your interpretation of art?

There is a ton of nature imagery in my work. Right now I am constantly drawing from my interpretation of nature. To me, there always seems to be an amazingly inherent beauty in things that grow.

PIXELSURGEON: Do you like music?

BM: Yes. I like a lot of stuff. The last few things I listened to were Wilco, Metric, Phylis Dillon, Jon Brion, Joanna Newsom, Calexico.

PIXELSURGEON: Is there a particular style/school of thought/artist that you admire and try to emulate?

BM: Definitely nothing in particular. I think I like lots of artists from different schools of thought. Like Marcel Dzama, Neil Farber, The Clayton Brothers, Barry Mcgee, Claire Rojas, Takashi Murakami, Ai Yamaguchi. They all seem like very likeable artists. I’m not sure it’s good whether I like them or not, but there are many ways of perceiving things and learning from there.

PIXELSURGEON: There is a recurrent motif of the sheep and some numbers. What does counting sheep mean to you?

BM: Oh yeah, the counting sheep. I think it might be because I’m up working late a lot. No but really, never looked at it so much like that. For some reason I always though of it as tagging of that animal in the painting. Like when scientists do research, to keep track of how many there are and where in my paintings.

PIXELSURGEON: Do you think art can alter people’s perspective of nature and the environment?

Yes. I don’t think I necessarily do that though. At least I’m not trying to. I think I am really just showing my admiration for it.

PIXELSURGEON: Can you tell us more about your wallet designs and any particular reason you chose this medium?

Actually, there are these designers here that wanted to put my images on wallets. It was their idea and they do it with lots of other artists. Their name is Poketo, they do lots of cool stuff.

PIXELSURGEON: I find this x-ray vision very refreshing. Is there any significance in the presentation of the bone structures of your characters?

BM: Just a reference to analysing and taking a closer look at things for more depth knowledge of it.

Interview on Pixelsurgeon here.

Brendan Monroe’s site.

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