?UESTIONS: Brandon Deener

Brandon Deener creates art that is warm and compelling, taking us on a nostalgic journey to when Rhythm and Blues filled the air. Reminiscent of Jazz, free and expressive, take a look at the Rebirth of Cool....

“Side-Eyes Through Tortoiseshells” 2020

Oil on Canvas

What inspires you to create?

I humbly like to consider myself as someone who’s permanently inspired, as I’m always working. However, inspiration stems from many branches. Sometimes I’m inspired by photography, other times the music I’m listening to inspires my work or sparks an idea.

Inspiration can come from a conversation, books, movies, documentaries, nature, the list goes on and on. I’m always open to receiving new information in hope that it will inspire.

“I Promise Imma Make It Through This” 2021

Oil and Toilet Tissue on Canvas

How important is expression?

Expression for me is incredibly important. I’m from a musical family with a very rich musical background, but expression within the arts was something I really zoomed in on and examined further as I began to dive deeper into painting. Whereas music plays an integral role in my painting practice; ironically, “expression” within the realm of visual art became more important as I dissected my “why”.

I noticed the paintings I made when I first started were really good and they displayed great skill, but there was something missing. I painted a lot of still life’s, objects and things, not people - and people can relate to that humanity when figures are present on canvas. I also noticed that I wasn’t speaking about them long when people asked their meanings.

So I did some soul searching, started aligning with other Black artists, and really studied some of the great Black Artists that I admired. Then everything changed, it was like a light came on inside. I found why “expression” was so important! Especially being a Black artist in America! It became important to me to put my experiences in my work, Black experiences.

As a Black man in America, there’s so much substance to be added to the work. All I had to do was look around, read books, look at the news, go out in the world, etc,. I learned that WE ARE THE CONTEXT!!! So I began painting melanated people and representing us HEAVY in my work. Everything changed!!! So it’s an honor to express my deep respect and love for my people in my Art.

“Afro Tassels” 2020