PHABRIK Magazine

15 Minutes with Haute Artiste Brent Ray Fraser

September 2010
Creative Confections; Ice-Cream Skulls and Leggy Lolli’s

What is your name?
Brent Ray Fraser

How old are you?
11,491 days.

What do you do?
I’m a full-time artist.

When did you know you were an artist?
My first experience was in1984, Miss Smith’s Kindergarten class. I was five years old. We mixed primary colours with our fingers to create paintings for our parents. My mom would hang them on the kitchen fridge. I was motivated to hang art on that door for years. It’s funny because now I create abstract paintings with the very same method I used when I was five.

What do you consider yourself then, a painter, a photographer, a performance artist?

Right now I consider myself ‘Untitled, 2010’. I don’t fall into a specific category. Not that I don’t want to, I just don’t like restrictive titles. I express myself through my art, which takes on many forms. A single label would make my life pretty narrow. The beautiful aspect to art is that it can change shapes to reflect the artist.

Where does your inspiration come from?
It comes from experiences. I think about art all the time and always get lost in deep thought. My ideas are found on my way back to reality.

Why fashion-based art?
When I originally conceived the idea about incorporating clothing and fashion within my work I did not consider it fashion-based art. From 2008-2009 my thoughts revolved around how we are perceived as individuals. The first thing we notice about others is clothing. Our fashion and style depicts who we are. Stereotypes, labels and assumptions follow. Our individuality becomes lost in a sea of brands and labels. All I want is for my work to be seen and understood by all. By portraying the clothing we see around us in my work, I can reflect this characteristic, creating an immediate familiarity with the viewer.

Did you view fashion as art before you incorporated it into your work, or more as “lifestlye” and self expression?
Fashion is art and designers are artists, but it was not my original intention to portray them or their work within mine. I was intrigued by Marcel Duchampe and the use of ready-mades within art may years ago. It was profound for me, so I decided to investigate its depth by incorporating found objects within my work. It was exciting for me and continues on to this day. Fashion came into play because of its implications as art. The way it can alter ones perception got me thinking about how it can conveyed. The suit jacket was the first to be included because of its characteristics and personality. Luxury brand names later followed due to their social status in consumerism. From that point on I looked at fashion from a different point of view and I wanted others to do the same.

How did you come to work with Louis Vuitton?
In 2008 I began drawing shoe portraits of women in their favorite heels. I would instruct them to pose for a camera and email me the pics. Then I would choose the best one and create a work of art from it. In 2008 Flare magazine wrote an article about me and my saucy stiletto portraits. Louis Vuitton caught wind shortly after and contacted me. They were looking to boost shoe sales by showcasing me at private events across Canada. I’d come with a pad of paper and sit and draw quick sketches of all the ladies wearing their favorite pair of Louis’s. I was quick enough to draw all the guests and everyone left with a gift portraiture. This went on for a year and took me across Canada.

What is your motto?

I have more than one motto. First and foremost, “Love what you do and it will love you back”. The second is “life in every breath”. Last but not least, “kick ass and take names”.

Your latest venture ‘Popsicles’ ‘examines recognizably contemporary subject matters’, can you elaborate?
This is my recent artist statement:
“The original idea for this series stems from our urge to collect and consume. It has evolved into a body of work that can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Popsicles is a combination of things. The obvious is the frozen treat we all recognize. I originally wanted to create a body of work that we can all connect with. Confectionery is not only a nostalgic food; it’s a product that is mass-produced in a variety of forms. Popsicles also captures the mystical side of my creative mind. Each work portrays objects I’ve photographed specifically for this series. Things I find not only visually stimulating, but also artistically challenging. I think art should be provocative and intriguing. Candy is fun, interactive, colorful, sweet and sour and has a long history in popular culture. It’s a treat enjoyed by all walks of life. By combining it with unusual elements, the art can begin to speak a different language. Art in many ways is candy. It tempts us, pleases us and continually engages our senses”.

How do you know when your art is finished?
Creating art is like having a great conversation. It is never finished. You can always pick up where you left off. But at the same time, there comes a point between two, when words are chosen so well, that it leaves you speechless.

What have you learned from your art?
I’ve learned who I am.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?
The beautiful thing I love so much about my art’s thought process is that there is always something just around the corner. What I can say is that I am working with a taxidermist’s mannequins. The conceptual elements in my work are beginning to evolve and things are going to get really interesting.

For more on Brent Ray Fraser, visit the artist’s website:
BrentRayFraser.com


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