I'm so into Brendan MacAllister's rough, painterly, and occasionally grotesque style that embodies a mysterious narrative. Make sure to check out the links below the Q&A!
Tell me a little bit about you!
Hello, My name is Brendan MacAllister, I'm a fairly recent art school graduate located in Beverly, Massachusetts (pretty close to Boston). I went to Montserrat College of Art and graduated in 2016. I graduated with a bachelor's in Illustration but have developed an affinity for painting/drawing that extends into the "fine art" realm.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
I was really young, trying to impress family members by drawing things they liked. (hence the path of illustration). Drawing always collaborated with my interests whether that was Pokemon or cars or video games, I was always drawing the things I loved.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
Mythology and my connection to it seems to be appearing in my work a lot recently. The idea that narratives have existed through all of time and that I as a young man in 2017 can relate to these narratives. There also is a great deal of isolation and awkwardness in my work reflecting either how I view myself and the others around me.
What is your process like?
It depends from piece to piece. There have been paintings of mine that were fully researched, sketched, under-painted, then painted. Then there are works that are put together conception to completion in 45 minutes. I do both drawings and paintings, the drawings usually taking less than one day and being very impulsive. The Paintings are usually at this point drawings that have been meditated on for some time and deemed important enough to bring to what I deem to be a finish. I work fast and usually have anywhere from 3-4 pieces going at once. More often then not my acrylic paintings take 1-2 days. My oils (which are a recent development) can take about a month.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
I was once told to stop painting by one of the professors I admired most, and as backwards as it was, I took that as a challenge to not only continue, but thrive in it.
Describe your studio.
Seeing as how I'm just now getting a footing outside of school I am sharing a space with some of my former professors. (Its old barber shop so the slop sink has an opening that fits a persons head) I'm working with a very limited space, but for now it's much better than the foot of my bed! My space in the studio is stacked with paintings and books .
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
I find it very difficult to explain my work. It is a very intrinsic thing for me, done habitually, what comes to me I make, and though I can find similarities and common themes, its hard to rationalize once the work is made. People often ask "why was this made?" I often find myself then having to explain a long laundry list of things that got me to the point I was attempting to make.
If you could sit down for dinner or a drink with anyone, who would it be and what would you chat about?
I'd most likely sit down with the artist Trenton Doyle Hancock. I am very inspired by his work. And I see similarities in the way our brains work. I'd like to pick his brain on how it is he got this point in his career. How he goes about explaining his work. It would be helpful for me to understand how he rationalizes everything he makes.
What are three words you would use to describe your work?
Satirical, narrative, allusive
What do you do when you find yourself in a creative rut?
I have a book of mythology that I always find my way back to. It gives quick synopsis' of symbols and mythological figures that I always find inspiring. My interest in narratives is always piqued by stories that have existed for thousands of years.
What do you love most about your medium? What challenges or surprises you most about it?
I'm always between mediums, between painting and drawing. I'm trying to marry consistency between them. I guess I'm always surprised when I figure out a new way to use it. It's a surprise when I figure out how to get a new effect that has been under my nose for years.
What do you need or value most as an artist?
Constant growth, in whatever form that takes. I think my art will become stagnant the moment I do. If i'm not constantly moving and learning and feeding my interests my art will become one note.
What keeps you creating?
Art opens so many doors. New ways of thinking, new cultures, new images that have never been made before. It creates a need for research and learning and is also the only form of media that can truly be open for interpretation and appreciated as that. It doesn't need to have a climax, or resolution, it can just be.
What are you working on right now?
I'm working on a series of small drawings, related to mythology. Also have been chugging along on a large oil painting related to a previous painting I had worked on.
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