Interview (2007)

published at MySpace: the 14th of November 2007

Tim Lane: What are your favorite materials and tools to work with?
Brantt: I’m a pure oil painter and my favourite painting tools are palet knives. I use them for mixing the colours and putting the colourful pastes on the canvas. Sometimes I use brushes.

Tim Lane: What artists are you inspired by?
Brantt: The abstract expressionists from the 60’s gave me the first love to paint. Painters like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, … were artists which I admired, in the first place for there action and power. In fact there are no painters which I’m really inspired but I can appreciate painters like Nicolas de Staël cause of resemblances with my work.

Tim Lane: Tell us about your educational background. Do you have formal training in art?
Brantt: I have two Master’s degrees of Visual Arts, option ‘Graphic Design’ and ‘Painting’.
I already started my studies Architectural Design (secundary) when I was 14. My dream was to become an archictect but after 3 years, the boring mathematics and thick courses convinced me to do another creative direction. First I wanted to study painting but my parents (and also sponsors at that moment) didn’t agree. So I started with the study Graphic Design. I have had a great time and finished the study succesfully with honours. I had immediately work and started as Graphic designer in an advertising studio but it didn’t give me the satisfaction. I wanted to take a break and decided to start the study painting and financed the hole study by myself.

Tim Lane: When did you decide to pursue art?
Brantt: After I perfected my education in the art of Painting in 2003 I started by force of circumstance again in the advertising sector as graphic designer, but after two years the motivation and fun was completely gone. So I automatically rolled in my passion, painting. Here I can find contentment. Since January 2007 I have my artist statute and that’s for me the startpoint to take it seriously. I became more professional. We’ll see what the future will bring, but I hope I can earn my living.

Tim Lane: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your background in regards to how your art has evolved?
Brantt: The atmosphere of my highschool education, ‘Architectural Design’ gaves a lot of expression in my first paintings. My work was inspired by architecture and interieurs, but since 2006 my theme is changed to exteriors and landscapes. It all started by creating blue paintings. These works made references to the sea and ports. From then on my format also changed from portrait (standing format) to landscape (lying format).

Tim Lane: Can you describe your recent work?
Brantt: I create abstract landscapes as a playground for the imagination.
At a spontaneous, direct and playful maner I search, through colour and level, to deepen my theme. During the working process the arrangement of forms and combination of colours upon the canvasses are choices that are made intuitively. The levels are captured in free and colourfull compositions and the use of matter plays a very important role.

Tim Lane: When do you know that a piece is finished?
Brantt: It depends on the painting. Sometimes I rework a work after 2 years.

Tim Lane: How does contemporary life impact your creative practice?
Brantt: At the moment I combine my job as housefather, freelance artistic advisor and visual artist. I have a wife and a two years old daughter who give me a lot of love and freedom to paint. A good mood is also the perfect translation to be creative.

Tim Lane: What motivates you to create?
Brantt: It remains interesting to create new work. After a lot of communication with the work I’m always curiously in the result. I’m also convinced that my work still has a large increase possibility. I’m not finished yet. I also have a lot of plans in my mind to experiment with non classic presentations. Creating sculptures, painted objects, … It must remain fascinating.

Tim Lane: Why did you choose to work in the medium(s) that you use?
Brantt: I like to work with oil paint cause of the vivid and high colours. They also allow very subtle blending of colours. It’s also a good medium to create matter. While the most painters of the moment work very thin layered, I choose for the contrary. So my thick layered working method is a reaction of the moment.

Tim Lane: What is your studio like? Can you go into detail about your studio routine? Do you work in silence, listen to music, …?
Brantt: If you go inside my studio, you have to be cautioned of wet paint. Some people will get a heartattack by seeing my workshop. It’s like a paintbomb has exploded. You can find pushed tubes of oilpaints everywhere and if you are standing too long on the same place, your shoes will stick on the floor. On the walls paintings are drying and every space is used. It’s not a place to relax.

The studio is located in one of the blocks of the Leopold barracks in Ghent, Belgium. It’s seperated from the rest of the barracks, because in earlier times that was the place where the female soldiers were established. Now it’s a creative place for musicians and visual artist. At the moment the block is the establishment for 12 visual artist and there are also 4 repetition rooms for musicians.

I never work in silence, I always listen to the local studentradio UrgentFM. Mostly good music, which isn’t interrupted by boring radio commercials. Sometimes you’ll here the same song on the radio of the band who’s playing downstairs.

When I work my door and windows are always open. Needed for breezing the unhealthy oil-fumes away. Painting with open door is also good for the social contact with the other visual artists. I can’t work in a closed room.

Tim Lane: Do you have any upcoming exhibits? Where readers can view your work?
Brantt: There are a few exhibitions in the pipeline. At the moment there’s a solo exhibition in Cypres Gallery into Louvain, Belgium.
The pages http://www.exhibitions.brantt.be and http://www.paintings.brantt.be show a selection of my past exhibitions and work.

Tim Lane: Favorite word
Brantt: Cease the day

Tim Lane: Least favorite words
Brantt: Beautiful, I really hate that word.

Tim Lane: Favorite colour/colours to work with
Brantt: I like to work with all colours but in a good combination. Black and purple are colours I don’t prefer for paintng.

Tim Lane: Thank you Brantt
Brantt: Thank you, it’s been an absolute pleasure.

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