Mediums: Charcoal, pastels, oils, acrylic
Style: Expressionism, Realism
Favorite Quote: "Perfect freedom is reserved for the man who lives by his own work, and in that work does what he wants to do." - R. G. Collingwood
Favorite Book: The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
Favorite Movies: Secondhand Lions and The Secret of Kells
Wash Away © Brandy Manuel - Color pencil. Heavily influenced by symbolism found in Tarot cards
My name is Brandy Manuel and I am a visual artist from Oklahoma. I am a self-taught artist, but I did get my B.A. in Fine Art. The way I see it getting a degree didn't teach me how to draw or paint, but why I do it. I used to draw animals when I was a kid, but as I got older my work became more symbolic, and eventually I realized my drawing were a way to deal with my stress and the hard times in life. That's when I decided I would create art not only to express myself, but in some way encourage my viewers to move on and heal their wounds.
What is your first memory of creating art?
One of my first memories of creating is when I was about five years old. I loved to draw lions (because I was a HUGE fan of The Lion King at the time), so my Grandpa Manuel would set me up in his office with a massive pad of blank paper all to myself. I would draw and color for hours and when I was done I would come out to proudly display my work to my family. It was wonderful!
Untitled © Brandy Manuel Acrylic on watercolor paper. Boredom is my greatest inspiration Acrylic on watercolor paper.
What style of music do you listen to while painting?
I like to play something with a beat. Usually bands like Mike Snow, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Broken Bells... I stand while I paint so dancing gives me an excuse to move around a little bit. I really get into my work and before I know it four hours has flown by. It's a mixed blessing.
Do you have a job besides working as an artist?
Well, as you can imagine I have to hold down a steady job to pay my student loans. I work for a Telecommunications company as a contractor and do provisioning work, build spreadsheets, order completion, and the like. My coworkers enjoy artwork, and I rotate my cubicle display regularly.
What are your intentions for viewers of your art?
Some of my work is more somber and tends to reflect pain and loss of self. By using color and facial expression, especially expression in the eyes, I allow my viewer to subconsciously and visually identify with the piece. Colors play a large role in how we express ourselves and our emotions, so I am very particular about which colors I mix for a work in order to get that exact emotion. Once the viewer connects with the piece it is up to them to decide if they are ready to let go; if they are brave enough to move on, to find their way.
Chaos © Brandy Manuel - Pencil on paper. A class project that I have hidden hieroglyphs in.
It always begins with the need to create. The hard part is finding a subject or a medium to work with. Once I figure out what I want to say in a piece it is easier for me to decide if I want to do it in charcoal, colored pencil, pastel, oils, etc. I use charcoal as a "harsh reality" kind of medium, but oils and acrylics are more flowing, moving, vibrant and lively expression. Brush strokes are also just as important.
During the actual creating process it is hard for me to stop or slow down. Typically I will finish a piece in one session, unless I have to wait for paint to dry. I have a hard time telling myself when something is done and I am still teaching myself when to just walk away. It becomes unnatural and you lose that initial idea of what you intend the piece to look like. Mistakes are actually a very important part of my work... and I am getting better at not correcting them!
What really inspires me is to talk with other artists and go to galleries. When I am in a creative dry spell I like to find paintings online or maybe go to a gallery, and I will always have some kind of idea of what I could do. I really like this method because it encourages me to try new techniques and styles I might not have tried in the first place.
Defying © Brandy Manuel - Defying is charcoal and acrylic on canvas. This piece in particular was inspired by a quote from the Egyptian book of the dead “Let not be taken away my heart from me, let it not be wounded, let there not be wounds upon me.” -Papyrus of Ani, Book of the Dead Ch XXVII.
Lyon College Juried Art show, Kresge Gallery, 2008-2009, 2011
Soul's Journey, Kresge Gallery, 2011
Gypsy Coffee House, August 2013
How have you been selling your artworks?
Most of my work I have sold through exhibitions and displays. I noticed it doesn't really matter how reasonably priced a piece is, there is a very, very slim chance it will sell unless it is framed, matted, or placed in a sleeve. I know it can be expensive so if you are looking for frames hit up garage sales and flea markets for a good price! Also, if someone says they won't buy something because it doesn't match their furniture, ask them what does and maybe you will get a commission!
Online Art Promotion
I have a fan page on Facebook that I shared and asked my friends to share; I have a website I post regularly to Google+ and Facebook, especially if I update. I have business cards I keep on hard and will pass out to people or leave on a table. I stay in touch with other artists on Blue Canvas and I have some work up on TurningArt.com. It takes some work and a lot of posting, but I assure you it is worth it!
I really enjoy Mucha, Bouguereau, and Caravaggio's work. Of course Van Gogh, El Greco, and Munch, too. Ancient Egyptian Mythology, writing, and artwork are also a major influence. The symbolism in my paintings reflects heavily on ancient Egyptian lore.
Is there another artist you would like to let us know about?
David Kassan is amazing! I first saw his work when I visited New York in 2008. I just could not believe he could create larger than life portraits that looked so real! http://www.davidkassan.com/
Please tell us something interesting about yourself.
Everyone has this idea that artists, since they can so deftly handle a brush, are tidy painters. This is not true! I do know artists like that, but seriously, have you seen me paint!? HAHA! I am the biggest slob! Yeah that painting is perfect and not a drop out of place but oh my.... I get more paint on myself than on the actual canvas. When I am not using a brush I tend to put in my hair, so not only does it get on my hands, face, arms, and clothes, I also get it all in my hair. And it's bad because I don't realize it until after I have stopped painting. I get involved.
Kettle Still Life © Brandy Manuel - Oil on canvas. My first ever oil painting. See what happens when you stop limiting yourself?
Embarrassing moments occur on a daily basis. I am not very graceful, so I have learned to just go with it. If you can laugh harder than the other person then you have nothing to be embarrassed about.
Would you do anything differently if you could live your life over again?
No, not really. I like my life the way it is. Granted, it's crazy, but I can't complain. I have worked hard to get where I am and there isn't an easier way to go about it.
Any plans for the future?
I would LOVE more than anything to be able to own and manage a gallery! I would also have studios for rent at a decent price where artist can get together and create! I want my community to be more involved in the arts and I would like artists to feel like they have a place to come home to. And as far as the shows go, every month I would want to showcase different artists from different backgrounds an every medium imaginable. I want my gallery to be a place anyone and everyone would want to visit. I am still working on that but if I am lucky I will get there in the next ten years
Advice for emerging artists
Like everyone says keep creating, get yourself out there, but what I really think matters is don't be afraid to try new things. I know several artists with amazing talent who limit themselves to one style, one medium, and that is as far as they go. Do not limit yourself! Try new things, make a mess, have fun!
Brandy Manuel - Expressionism, Realism and Cathartic Artworks