We had the good fortune of connecting with Brea Gilchrist and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brea, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I have been involved in art since I was 5 years old. My passion for drawing and painting has been evident since that age, so much so that I was able to take additional art classes outside of school from a young age. This interest and drive continued through my school years, and I made the choice to commit to an Art degree at the University of North Dakota come college.
I believe that art is for everyone, whether you are the one creating it or absorbing it. It provides perspectives that broaden minds, as well as unites people in its experience.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art has been a process, but I believe I found my conceptual inspiration during my undergrad years. During this time, I was in the midst of my Art degree, as nearly all of my peers where involved in some sort of Health courses. From pre-med, to nursing, to physical therapy and so on, I would be surrounded with biology and anatomy studies outside of my studio courses. I have always been interested in structures; whether it be architecture or landscapes. But then I took some live model drawing courses, and I fell in love with human anatomy.
My renderings of human anatomy are not of the typical clinical perspective. I try to create compositions that reveal how structurally beautiful the body is, in our shared blueprints. I sometimes incorporate landscapes as well, that I have experienced using my human figure to get there. It’s a framework I share with nearly every individual that views my work, and that’s exciting as hell.
To get where I am today as a working artist, I’ve had to nearly always have another job on the side. However, those jobs have also provided to my art career, as they allowed me to work in industries that strengthen communication and organizational skills. These jobs also connected me to the community, and provided opportunities for me to share my art. Those opportunities do not happen over night, but it allows me to continue to create.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I just moved out to Idaho, and as someone who loves to be outside exploring, I cannot wait to discover this area.
However, just coming from Rochester, Minnesota, I have plenty of intel. I lived close to Cascade Lake, where there’s a great running/biking path around the lake that connects to miles of biking paths throughout town. Cascade Lake now features a public beach with some water access, great for kayaking.
Heading into downtown, whether you walk, bike, scoot (a personal favorite), or drive, I will always check out the Rochester Art Center. With a small but strong staff, this space is stunning and thriving. Located downtown along the Zumbro River, the Art Center provides artists from all over the area to showcase their work, as well as host classes, artist talks, a Gallery shop and more. From there, take a walk and grab a drink from one of the Cafe Steam locations. This spot also promotes local artists and is a great place to take a break for a bit.
Next, check out more creative spaces at SEMVA, Canvas and Chardonnay, and Threshold Arts. SEMVA is a local artist co-op, with a long-time presence in Rochester, showcasing plenty of artists with a variety of mediums. Canvas and Chardonnay is an eclectic space in the best ways. They provide group art classes, to dance nights, to art markets and so much more. Lastly, Threshold Arts is right in the mix with a stunning shop featuring even more creatives and their work, as well as a gallery space. They also are a huge proponent in activating the downtown area with public art opportunities created by local artists.
As for food, Bleu Duck is my go-to. They provide a great cozy, yet bright environment with an updated menu for both dinner and drinks. They, too, host classes, as well as have a presence throughout town with the Duck Truck.
Important to note, at all of these locations throughout Rochester, the people make the space what it is. All of these businesses have staff and guests that will be more than happy to share even more insight to the space as well as exciting information about upcoming events and opportunities to attend.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Where to begin.
First and foremost, I must credit my parents. They have always encouraged myself and my siblings to work in what makes us happy. They have been supportive since day one, and continue to do so.
Secondly, my elementary art teacher, Rebecca Engelman. An incredible teacher, that provided insight to both creativity and understanding “when to stop”. I was lucky enough to have her as my primary art teacher for 8 years.
I also credit my phenomenal spouse, Michael. We have been together for over a decade, and he has always been supportive of my passion and career in art. From loading up canvases for shows to being my extra set of eyes on a piece, he is my rock.
I must also credit the art communities of both Grand Forks, North Dakota and Rochester, Minnesota. I lived in Grand Forks for 8 years, initially there for my Art degree. The art community there is strong, and works hard to share artists and their work for the entire area to experience. Artists in this community help one another in a multitude of ways that encourage artists to keep producing and sharing their work. Rochester is similar, and was incredible in helping artists obtain paid opportunities during Covid-19. I have nothing but my continued love and thanks for both of these communities and their people.
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