We had the good fortune of connecting with Win Brooks and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Win, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I pursue an artistic career because it is the most fulfilling path for me and I’m grateful I have that opportunity.
Like many, I grew up constantly making things. I always had a keen interest in the visual arts: painting and drawing followed by sculpture and ceramics, before working in metalwork, jewelry-making and blacksmithing. In college, I took art and film classes, taught myself piano and most importantly, began writing and filmmaking.
After college I worked my sole 9-5 job and could not figure out why I was spending my time helping someone else pursue their dream. So after a year, I moved to LA and started working on set. I attended a UCLA program for screenwriting, wrote daily, and began producing and directing my own work. I am currently directing commercials and writing my fourth feature script which will likely be my feature directing debut.
In addition to writing and directing film, I run a boutique men’s shirt company, ‘Fear The Cowboy.’ We sell premium Acapulco shirts and flannels American-made from artisan textiles from Japan, Denmark, Ghana and India.
I grew up in an entrepreneurial household. My father is a musician & writer while my mother is the co-founder of a biotechnology firm. That entrepreneurial spirit is essential to pursuing a creative career. Often you are cutting your own path; you are the product and no one is there making sure you’re productive, innovative and marketable. You need to be able to hold yourself accountable daily and keep your eyes on goals that might be pretty distant.
It’s important to remember that it’s a privilege to pursue an artistic career. There are many in this world who are less fortunate than me and for whom choosing a career based on ‘feeling fulfilled’ is a luxury. I count myself lucky to have been born in a safe nation, had a strong work ethic modeled by my parents, had the opportunity to further my education, and perhaps to have been given a certain amount of talent.
What distinguishes your work?
Developing a visual style takes many years. I certainly have distinct and specific tastes but have not yet directed the variety of projects it takes to finely hone a recognizable style.
However, I do prefer controlled camerawork, mixing celluloid and digital acquisition, vintage lenses, dark subject matter, flawed characters backed into corners, and classical scores.
‘Fear The Cowboy’ shirts are set apart by authenticity. The fabric we use is the high quality and unique. It represents many styles such as woven ikats and African wax-resist prints that are rarely featured in American clothes. Our customers can take pride that they’re wearing a shirt hand-crafted in the US from authentic artisan textiles from around the world.
And that’s the overlap between these two projects. Film and clothing both have the power to bring recognition to stories and people that you otherwise may never encounter.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d take them to LACMA, The Broad, then the LA Phil. We’d grab cocktails and sushi at Wabi on Rose, have a night at Élephante and, of course, visit Casa Sanchez for some Mariachi and Mexican food.
Days would be spent surfing, boxing and cycling. Lastly, a drive through my favorite place in California, the winding roads hidden in the mountains above Ventura.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My parents deserve an immense amount of credit. I am fortunate to come from a strong family with two well educated parents. They taught me the value of hard work from the beginning while encouraging my wide range of interests.