Brian J. Sullivan
I wear many hats, as I am sure many of you also do. I am a father, husband, son, accountant, handyman, cook, nursemaid, committee member, and driver.
Through the last 25 years I have worn numerous hats. But the one I am most proud of is that of an artist.
I do not consider myself a painter, sculptor, ceramist, metalsmith, or any other convenient label or category. I am simply an artist, and I move freely between many and all mediums to tell my story, often combining aspects of several mediums into one piece.
However, there are many common threads which run through my work. On the one hand, there is the emotional and psychological aspect, then there is the social and political commentary—the social injustices and how my work champions the rights of the underdog and disenfranchised. And then there are the powerful and reoccurring symbols—the subtle iconography and hidden messages. In addition, there are also threads tying my work together by my use of found objects and images.
Those who know me know that I am a curious and inquisitive person who loves a challenge. I am a high energy person who can't sit still. I see art-making as a way to channel my energy. I love the process of creating art, not only the end result. In other words, I love the journey.
I like the physically exhausting act of creating, like cutting lumber, making stretcher frames, and moving paint around. I also like using a variety of power tools and have been called Mr. Gadget at times.
I also like the intellectual challenge of how to construct/build things out of many different materials and the challenge to measure and cut accurately. It is important for me to be a craftsman even in the construction of the substructure.
I also like the process of scientific research and investigation. My shelves are full of hundreds of the results of such experiments that I have done, trying new materials or combining such materials. I make detailed notes about each test piece and attach them to the sample pieces for future reference.
I love observing and questioning my surroundings to try to understand why someone did something a certain way. This includes looking at other artists' work and learning how they solved similar types of problems.
I also like the quest for materials at rummage sales, antique stores, hardware stores, and used book stores. I love collecting objects, either to use in my work or as inspiration for creating new work.
And finally, I love the playful act of creating, the process of taking all of the above and combining these together to create a piece of art. And part of this process is what I like to call "happy accidents," results of which were unintended and unexpected. I like to be open to these moments, and I am very appreciative of them. It is times like this when everything flows effortlessly together that I feel I am in the groove.
I remove my artist beret and hang it on a hook near the door. I turn off the studio lights and lock the door behind me. It is 6:00 pm and I am on my way to pick up the kids from soccer practice.