Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Say Hello to Brad Woodfin

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Goat

Brad Woodfin is like John James Audubon's older, more complex brother. Specializing in fauna, his paintings seem to capture the very essence of the animals that end up on his canvases. As pretty as they are in pictures, Brad's paintings are really the kind you have to see in person. Like a lot of oils, the depth and richness just don't translate in photos.

If you would like to see them in person, head up to Canada during the month of December. Brad has his second solo show at Atelier Gallery in the arts district of Vancouver.

Brad is also one of the most humble artists I know and he's been a great role-model about not taking shit too seriously. Here's an interview we did via email.


Sheep

Hi Brad!
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What's the weather like in Montreal this past week? Seattle has been unseasonably sunny.
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The weather is good, crisp! and congrats on your sunniness.
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You and Steve recently relocated to Montreal, Canada. It sounds dreamy. Penthouse apartment in the city? Has there been any culture shock?
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I don't know if I would say culture shock but I have learned a lot about what makes Québec so unique. I really need to learn French so I don't feel like a jerk all the time. It is also great to be back on the East coast and close to New England. It is sort of dreamy, like Family Affair without Buffy, Jody, and Cissy. Just Mr. French and me.
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Goat
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As you know, I'm a big fan of your work -- just like a lot of other people. Your story is kind of an artist's dream. Making really great art, selling decent but not getting near the attention you deserve. Sent a link to a gallery in Canada and heard back within an hour? And then your first show sold out (or all but one?)! And now you're having your next show in December?
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It came at a good time for me as I could not find a place in Seattle to show, and I was moving to Canada. I followed a link from the Royal Art Lodge (sigh) to the Atelier Gallery. I must attribute laziness to landing the show because the gallery made it very easy to submit work, and after the initial contact John and Lisa at the gallery have been so awesome to work with. Now I have another show with them opening December 4th.
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Your style is Chiaroscuro (Italian for light-dark). Your animals are stepping out of the darkness into light. Is that metaphorical in any way personally?
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I guess it is metaphorical in every way. The idea came from a scene in The Last Temptation of Christ and from ideas of Mark Rothko and Richie Hawtin as Plastikman. The idea that everything in life is always either shrinking or growing. I didn't want to be a minimalist or an abstract painter. I wanted to paint like the painters I love.
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Spoonbill
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You have some direct influences, like Goya. Anyone else we might recognize?
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Marion Peck and Salvador Dali first made me want to paint. Andrew Wyeth, Manet, I love all that old Italian and Dutch stuff.
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How do you choose a subject? Is it based on the source image?
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The subjects I choose all fit into a category I have made in my mind and I work from photographs I find.
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You went to Evergreen and studied art, right?
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Yes, I studied mostly printmaking there.
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After having one show under your belt at the gallery, was the second one easier to prepare for?
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Yes, a little bit. I just wanted it to be better than the first so I was a lot harder on myself. The paintings were all done in a short period of time and I knew they would all be shown together, so I think there is more camaraderie between them.
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Pig

Your gallery also had an early Royal Art Lodge show. They are great. I know that Marcel Dzama has shown locally at Greg Kucera Gallery. I love his stuff.
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Yes, that's how I found the gallery. I love their work because the Royal Art Lodge stuff seems very tender. It seems devoid of irony. Irony has become the most boring thing in the world to me. [such a great quote!] Jon Pylypchuk is amazing, he is maybe not as well know as Marcel Dzama, but god, so good. So inspiring.
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Hare

Can you think of any noticeable differences between the two cities approaches to art?
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I don't know either art scene that well, I think you were the closest friend I had who was in the Seattle art scene and I love your approach to art, both as a fan and as an artist. Québec's funding for the arts is good, so there is always a lot going on. It is all really new to me. I am sure in both cities there are great approaches to art. Canada is so much smaller than the states. There are only a handful of cities that are playing the game. Toronto seems to want to mimic New York and Los Angeles so Montréal seems a little more punk rock. I guess they may be similar in that if you want to make it big, maybe you leave both Montréal and Seattle for greener pastures.
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Egret (facing left)
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You have the best taste in music -- especially French pop. Is Montreal a musical heaven for you?
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Benjamin Biolay played here this summer and just the fact that he would play here....awesome. Pig in shit.
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Brad (photo by Steve Rohde)
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I bet folks who have only seen your art and photos of you bet you're really serious. You look like a brooding artist. But you're actually one of the funniest people I know! Your one-liners are legendary. And a really amazing painter to boot!
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Thanks for chatting Brad. Looking forward to seeing you guys soon!
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Thank you Joe, see you in December.

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