Artist Profile: Bryant Small

Artist Profile: Bryant Small

Bryant is an artist living in Greenville, Jersey City and paints mesmerizing abstracts using Alcohol ink on the non absorbent Yupo paper.

What are your earliest memories of the arts?
I can't recall my earliest memory of the arts- but early on in school, probably the first or second grade, I remember doing school plays and participating in every opportunity to dress up in costume and be seen on the STAGE.  I was always a creative kid with lots to say.   Also, growing up in Washington, DC with the backdrop of the Smithsonian Institute was a gift.  Having exposure to so much art growing up was extremely valuable.  Also having parents that encouraged artistic expression and creativity was a huge driving force! Most of all, having a mother who explored art, and eventually took ownership of her space as an artist also helped tremendously.

Why are the arts important to you?
The Arts for me are freedom of expression and a connection to spirit. The Arts allow me to be my most complete self but also reflects the inexplicable feelings and emotions that aren’t always shared outwardly. For me, Art and the Arts is the warmth of the sun, the sweetness and tang in lemonade and the faint scent that brings a childhood memory to the surface.

 

 

What is inspiring you right now? Who are you following?
I'm inspired by so many things - from fashion and make up artists and drag artists to nature to food.  I look at what other artists are doing...how are they pushing the envelope.  But most of all, I'm inspired by COLOR.  For people that I follow for inspiration across the gamut, check out on IG: @irisvanherpen, @bisabutler, @ma.artlife, @madsteez, @romerobritto, @refikanadol, @kre8artafax

Why is alcohol ink/painting your chosen medium? What makes it unique?
The vibrancy and luminosity of alcohol ink is what drew me in.  Because of my affinity for color, I LOVE working with a medium that allows for FULL bodied color but the ease of blending and fluidity of movement.  That's what makes it unique.  It's also the key detail that I'm not really able to replicate a painting, so each piece is a unique experience and exploration.

How has your aesthetic changed over the years?
I think over the years my aesthetic has become more refined from a more free flowing organic movement of the inks to a more calculated, structured approach to handling the inks.  And that's intentional.  Over time, I've wanted to develop a better formulaic approach or technique to how I work.  Although it's a constant exploration and experimentation in getting to the end result, the gestural techniques of movements have been refined and it's reflecting in the work.  Before, the inks were leading the dance, now, I am leading the dance.


What's your creation process like? Do you have an idea of what you'd like to do before you begin?

Oh! I've learned so much in the last few months about my process while creating in multiple spaces at the same time!  I've created in my home studio for years - and for the past few months have been doing a residency with the ESKFF program at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City. (Fab Program BTW).  In doing so - I've learned that I MUST be dressed in my "painting clothes", which included-  not wearing actual shoes- only slippers.  I needed to adjust to wearing shoes - very comfy shoes and sneakers to paint.  And always - no matter the location - I MUST have music.  The music is KEY.  I have to have energetic, dance/house music that brings about great energy.  I paint from a happy place.  So, I'm not listening to music that evokes emotion that makes me sad or pensive or insightful...never anything that brings about deep thinking.  Art is about fun and freedom to me - so it's coming from a bright space...so the music, the energy, the colors that I'm using come from that space.  Even when I'm painting in darker tones, I'm always hopeful that my joyful energy and my heart shows through the work and pushes in there. 

Often, I start with a color concept - but not necessarily a fully realized idea per se for a finished piece.  And when I do...it rarely ends up in that way- the inks don't move in that way.  The color concept is what drives the piece...and the rest is experimentation, knowing what could happen from past experience, and the universe pushing you into or pulling you away from happy mistakes. 

artist bryant small laughing black man with bald head

Is there a dream project you'd like to work on?
Oh- there's so so many - I'd love to have my work incorporated into the immersive art projection spaces that turns empty spaces into these full projection rooms with hundreds of projectors all around the space and have my work covering peoples bodies in spaces around the world like at Artechouse, they have several locations - one in NYC and I know of one in DC and Miami or Atelier Des Lumieres in Paris. That's probably near the top of the list....but there are a few others that are up there...but I won't share those...I'm working on them!


Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I guess that in this time, I want people to feel powerful and in control of who they are and the space that they take up in the world.  With so much uncertainty and so much in flux, we feel like we have tendency to feel out of sorts and a bit helpless.  But we have so much power within us.  So much energy. So much ability. Feel empowered to be every bit of yourself and Own It.  Oh, and the other thing - BUY ART from your favorite artists! And follow me on the "socials" - I'm @BFLY777 on everything.

Some of Bryant Small's work is available for purchase in the Art House Gallery Online: www.arthouseproductions.org/pages/art-house-gallery-online
Website: www.bfly777.com/
Instagram: @BFLY777
Twitter: @BFLY777