Shining a spotlight on celebrities and athletes who love to travel. Created and developed by Stacy Steponate Greenberg.
In baseball, they call the guy who can do it all a “Five Tool Player.” In the art world today, those tools belong to Adrien Brody. The Academy Award winner, youngest ever in the Best Actor category, has starred alongside Owen Wilson and Naomi Watts, been directed by legends Woody Allen and Roman Polanski, and was recently nominated for an Emmy for his portrayal of Harry Houdini. But for Adrien Brody, the magic does not end with acting. When he’s not appearing on the silver screen, Brody is immersed in his other passion: painting. This son of an esteemed photographer is presenting the debut of his second series, “Hooked,” at Art New York, which will take place at Pier 94 on May 3 – 8. The Overhead Compartment was delighted to share a few minutes with this multi-talented artist to learn about his passion, his vision, and his fascination with the tiniest details in the world around him.
The Overhead Compartment with Adrien Brody starts now…
Adrien Brody Debuts Second Painting Series “Hooked”
Art New York
May 3 – 8
Q: How did you find your inspiration for the series Hooked?
AB: I’m constantly searching for inspiration. I think that’s the beauty of art. You see it everywhere if you’re in tune to it, and certain things trigger other thoughts and they can become a cohesive story. I’ve always loved fish. They are a wonderful example of something so delicate and so bright and alive, in the ocean they exist in the dark depths and I see that as a metaphor for the ability of the spirit and of life to shine bright in the darkness. In my first series, Hot Dogs, Hamburgers and Handguns, I reflect more on the overt darker elements that I feel are weighing on us in our society. Violence is ever-present and a threat that exists is something that is intangible and something that is very tangible. And in this series I am much more into that, although I touch on a bit of darkness with the carelessness of consumers, a modern world exudes and enables people to be less conscious, be part of what I find important, and the story telling here is we have to acknowledge the lightness within us and also recognize and care for the fragility in the world around us. The fish that live in that world are obviously victimized by our carelessness and perhaps under appreciated.
Q: How have your travels inspired your work?
AB: I spend a great deal of time working and living abroad, time in China and Japan and Southeast Asia, I’ve recently been diving in Palau and Micronesia and all of those were inspirations as well on some of my more recent works.
Q: What one message do you hope people take away from experiencing your work?
AB: Well I don’t want to preach, I hope there is a conversation that can be created and I hope that there is an appreciation for the world around us that is somehow overlooked in our daily action, and this is something we all must be conscious of, we are all guilty of it. I’m guilty of it as well. We are consumed with convenience and easy access, I think we have to be conscious of how we consume things and how we are perhaps a bit careless with our actions and how in a way we all have to recognize our accountability. Even if we are not directly affected, we are directly involved in the well being of the world around us and other living beings, our fellow humans and the animals around us. There is a lot of light hearted work that I hope doesn’t get overshadowed by the more social message within the work, but I do feel like both of them are very necessary in my expression.
Q: How would you describe the differences in the creative processes in painting vs acting?
AB: I love and am really grateful for the creative autonomy I have as a painter. I’ve always been very creative and I love film, I love making movies, it’s a true love of mine, but it’s a cumbersome process. Even if you are creating the material and producing the material you rely on so many people, so many departments. At the end of the day your work and your contribution somehow gets muddled and as an artist that is really your responsibility and yours alone and you have to be accountable for it, and yet you have the freedom to create when you are inspired and learn. I think it’s a very generous process for yourself, what you give to yourself, you nuture a freedom that is often encumbered in an art form like cinema, and a gift to others in sharing ideas and things that, language is not even necessary in most cases, like music it really transcends so much. And it’s lovely to sell your work and to be appreciated for your work but it’s also something that is shared and available to anybody who can see it…and that’s a beautiful thing and in today’s world you can really share so much with people.
Q: You posted a picture of your hand covered in paint on your Instagram account and stated “Today was a good day” What did you mean?
AB: You can feel what I’m saying in that, and I’m not even showing my own work or anything. It was so wonderful, there I was covered in paint, It feels so thrilling to be in it and feel it.
Q: How different are the experiences of reaction and criticism to your painting vs your work in film?
AB: I have had a lot of positive responses and inevitably in anything you do there is always going to be a difference of opinion. I think Warhol said it “Spend your time creating art (and I’m paraphrasing), don’t think about it, don’t judge it and keep creating. And while other people are judging it make more art.” And I relate to that…I relate to that with my film work and it’s a different animal but as an artist I keep experimenting and have a lot more creative freedom and that’s what I love and gravitate to it.
Q: Where are some of your favorite places to travel?
AB: Europe and Asia.
Q: What do you never leave home without?
AB: My iPhone.
Oscar-winner Adrien Brody can add collectible artist to his long list of accomplishments. The 42-year-old entertainer, who skyrocketed to fame with his leading role in Roman Polanski’s The Pianist, debuted his artwork—a series titled “Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, and Handguns” on December 2, 2015 at Art Basel Miami. Here, Brody, who will next star in screenwriter Brian Tucker’s action-thriller Expiration, talks about violence in media, art-world pressures and finding inspiration in a fortune cookie.
The cerebral actor is riding high after debuting his political pop-art paintings at Art Basel Miami.
What’s your takeaway after showing your art for the first time at Art Basel Miami Beach?
It was exciting and exhausting. I had a really lovely time connecting with friends and sharing my thoughts about the work. Taking the leap of being willing to show it was a very positive experience. I got to spend a lot of time with some artists there that I like—it was very exciting, all in all.
What do you think of the high-stakes art world, now that you’re in the midst of it—overwhelming at all?
In general, I have a certain degree of pressure that I’m accustomed to with my normal work. Showing my work at a film premiere, for instance, where I go and work and collaborate with lots of people and it’s put together and on display. So there’s a certain degree of pressure there that I’m used to. My ambition is to paint and to have a creative outlet that I’m autonomous with. To have the freedom to continue to evolve as an artist and that’s really been the goal. These are the first steps.
Such a compelling name for the series, “Hot Dogs, Hamburgers and Handguns.” What does it mean?
It began as an amusing take on how fast food in our culture has gone beyond just that and infiltrated so many other aspects and elements of our lives. We have the belief that in general things should be relatively accessible, instantly gratifying. It evolved into a reference of how violent imagery and violence are unfortunately as commonplace as fast food in our society. What we’re witnessing in reality, in our imaginations, in the media, in entertainment is an overwhelming amount of violent imagery.
I try to incorporate some humor in the depictions, as well. For instance, I did an installation at the show with stuffed animals in basically a street homicide scene, which I call “Family.” What I’m referencing is that there are so many children, specifically in urban environments, who do not have a family to go home to. And this unfortunately results in them falling victim to finding families on the street, or a family structure within the gang culture. Those codes become the rules of the house. The consequences are not evident and ultimately this cycle leads to incarceration, drug addiction, alcoholism, violence. The depiction shows the loss of innocence—the purity of the stuffed animals, representing children, the smaller ones looking up to the larger ones, there’s a degree of playfulness in it but it’s also referencing something that’s horrific and tragic.
How do you find inspiration for your artwork?
It varies. The theme led to the greater meditation on the subject. I have lots of inspiration—from every encounter, things that I read, people that I meet, something that was said, a fortune cookie, stubbing my toe, paint dripping on my shoe. I’m constantly finding an idea that leads to a new idea. I love that. What’s exciting is to be able to apply it.
In this case, I’ve homed into something that I feel is very much in the zeitgeist and speaks to an urban environment and speaks to images and imagery that I feel were a part of my upbringing in New York, as well.
What’s up next for Adrien Brody, the painter?
I’m about to have a conference call and then I’m headed to the art store to get some more canvas because I feel like painting right now. I was at a friend’s house for a party and he had a really beautiful display of flowers that was floating in water. That’s been on my mind to paint since then—and also to kind of maybe purge a bit of the shadowy imagery that I’ve depicted in the show. I’ve sold a few pieces and I may continue with this series, as well. I enjoy painting a lot of the foreboding imagery, but I think I’ll bring a little lightness into the work and see how it feels.
Source and credits: David Foxley dojour.com