Interview by Morgan Gentry | Images by Marcus Junius Laws
Local print maker, Brett Rees participated in 35 Denton 2015’s Print Fair that took place at the Greater Denton Art Council during the festival. If you missed it – fear not! You are still able to check out his exclusive prints and works below. In fact, if you are even able to purchase one, should that strike your fancy.
We got to talk to Rees about his plans for future work, finding his artistic voice, and Denton’s involvement in the art community. Keep reading below for more!
How is your second round in Denton going?
It’s been going good. My wife and I have settled in and are really happy to see all of the new and exciting stuff that has been happening around Denton while we were away. The arts community here is super accessible and is making a real effort to enrich Denton. I feel like it is a really great time and place to be.
When did it hit you that being a professional artist is what you wanted to do for life?
Black and white photography – Mr. Anderson’s class, 11th grade, Lufkin High School. Mr. Anderson had a huge influence on pushing me to pursue art as a career. If it weren’t for him, I probably wouldn’t have pursued art as a career. Shout out to Mr. Anderson.
To be fair though, I still grind out a day job in a cubicle. Working as an artist is tough and I have great respect for anyone out there making it happen.
I noticed the heavy doses of traditional American style within your artwork, how long has that been a staple in your work?
I found my voice after leaving undergrad. It was tough for me after graduating. I felt like I had all of these tools but didn’t know what to do with them. I was making very different work up to that point and really had to do some soul searching. I decided that if I was going to do this, it had to be on my terms. I make the work that I want to see in the art world.
Are you plan on teaching visual arts at a university down the line, have you gotten closer to attaining your goal? Hopefully nudging the CVAD department at UNT.
Haha. Yes, I do want to teach. I think it goes back to Mr. Anderson. He is one of the best teachers I ever had, and he came around at a time when I really needed guidance. Art in any form can be incredibly powerful. The thought that you can help someone else explore their own creative talents is personally rewarding and incredibly important.
What have you been working on, before you started knocking out those awesome prints for the festival?
Thank you, those prints were a nice little break. It’s been interesting, I’m not really sure what’s next right now. I always have a few pieces going at any given time so I might get back to one of those. I also have some apparel stuff that I’ve been kicking around for a while and may get serious with that.
Why are you excited about working with 35 Denton?
First off, thanks for letting me be a part of it! I mentioned it earlier; Denton has a very accessible arts community. 35 Denton is an opportunity to reach out to people that may not otherwise know about what’s going on in the arts around here.
Your vision of trans/post-humanism is really intriguing and digs deep, do you happen to have an opinion on counterculture as well?
Yes, without rambling too much, countercultures feed off of technology. Think about it, the Digital Revolution, for better or worse, has given subgroups the power to connect in a way the world has never seen before. It’s only going to get more weird as we go further down the rabbit hole. At least we have Youtube to document our decent into madness.
What mediums are you working with more as of late? I know digital concepts have turned into an essential part of your creations.
Yes and no. I really love digital technology and finding new ways to integrate it into traditional modes of image making, but I haven’t been focusing on that much as of late… at least in the finished product. I’ve kind of just been getting back to painting as a standalone. I really love watercolor and have been working on getting better technique and figuring out how to make really dense imagery with it.
I do have some plans for making some sculptural pieces that will have digital components for an upcoming exhibition, but that’s pretty far down the line right now.
Where did the inspiration come from for the prints that you sold during the festival?
I just wanted to make some rad prints that I would want to buy if I saw them. That means a lot of skulls and blood; as cliche as that is.
Any advice for those coming up in the digital printmaking community
There’s some great stuff happening right now as technology is getting better. I’m a little behind now that I’m out of grad school. When I was at UW, I got to play around with 3D printing. For me, that was really fun because I’m spacially challenged when it comes to sculpting. Using a computer interface allowed me to bridge the gap between 2D and 3D.
It will be interesting to see what comes out in the next several years. I think there has been a great merging of science and art that has happened as technology has become more easily accessible. People are picking up new technologies and playing with them outside of there intended function. That’s when you get to see some cool stuff.
For more information on purchasing a piece of original artwork from Brett Rees, please shoot him an email at:
brettreesart at gmail dot com.
Western Expansion | silkscreen | 8″x8″ | $15 | edition of 20
Way of the Buffalo | watercolor, acrylic, gouache | 10″x14″ | $250 | original painting
Skull Fountain | silkscreen, watercolor, acrylic, yarn, felt | 8″x8′ | $70 | edition of 20
Grave Digger | silkscreen, watercolor, acrylic | 8″x10″ | $35 | edition of 15
Untitled (Flying Panther) | India ink | 14″x10″ | $120 | original painting
Death Dealer | silkscreen, watercolor, acrylic | 8″x10″ | $35 | edition of 15