We had the good fortune of connecting with Nick Brown and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nick, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Taking risks is vitally important. It’s best if there is foreknowledge of the subject of risk, it’s history and present function etc. This obviously creates an informed risk with a desired outcome. Naturally, with any risk the outcome is uncertain and part of it’s allure and challenge. The risk opens up possibilities, new outcomes, immediate and future challenges. This really is growth. For me, I see making artwork as exploring. In order to explore one must find new territory. This new territory is within myself and then expressed through the work.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My work has evolved quite a lot over the years. I received an MFA in painting from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I was making conceptual wall drawings for several years after school and was in a few major museum shows. A year or so after 911 occurred I switched back to oil painting feeling a need for something more visceral while staying rooted in concepts. While personally this was an important shift it did negatively affect my career. In contemporary terms I basically redefined my “brand”. The paintings evolved over time and started to incorporate some of the strategies of the earlier wall drawings including the incorporation of physical materials for conceptual purposes and the totality of the paintings creating one large installation if shown in an optimal circumstance such as a one person show. I found myself exhibiting the work again at galleries and institutions. The risks and changes simply required perseverance and belief in myself. I think many if not all artists experience these peaks and valleys to varying degrees throughout their careers. This experience of early success, a drop off in interest and a rise again has taught me to always follow my path which is what makes my work unique. Whilst there are precedents for the strategies in my work the combination of those strategies don’t exist outside of it. I’m most proud of the authenticity of my work and how that represents my experience of life.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live on the East side of LA so, like any Angelino, we’d stay mostly on our side of town. Griffith Park is a lovely place to explore along with the observatory. If possible, catching a show at the Greek Theater is always a special experience. There are also several very good music venues in Highland Park worth checking out along with a multitude of restaurants. We’d likely visit several excellent galleries in downtown LA and a few of the eateries there too. The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena is straight magic. We’d go there for sure along with MoCA and LA Louver in Venice for an across town gallery/beach trip. One of the real charms of LA is simply peoples homes. We’d spend a lot of time at mine in the backyard catching up and visiting with other friends at theirs.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people responsible for my success. My parents first and foremost. They’ve always been incredibly supportive of my work and ambitions. Along the way I’ve had many excellent professors, advisors, colleagues and collectors within the art world that have offered guidance and shown interest and support. It’s next to impossible to be an artist without a network and a few special people to rely upon.