Smiling Turtle Artist Interview: Gerard Briardy

Posted by on Sep 7, 2015 in Art, Artists
Smiling Turtle Artist Interview: Gerard Briardy

It is my personal feeling that getting to know the artist behind the work brings more meaning and appreciation for the art that they create.

Gerard Briardy is an awesome artist with a unique and moving style. Thank you Jerry for agreeing to answer a few questions about yourself and your art.

What media do you work in?

Most recently I have been working exclusively with acrylic on canvas. In the past I did a lot of work on paper, and pen was my favorite drawing tool, I also used acrylic paint and pencil. Early on as an artist, I painted in oils on canvas, but its is so messy and dangerous, I gave it up. I used to smoke cigarettes and was always afraid I’d start a fire. I quit smoking 20 years ago, but have never gone back to oils. (Good for you Jerry!!) Lately I’ve been experimenting with spray paint in a very limited fashion. I’m not sure I will continue to use it, but it has had some interesting effects.

For this painting I used drawings of musicians and simply tried to give the work life through abstract decoration.

For this painting I used drawings of musicians and simply tried to give the work life through abstract decoration.

What do you feel makes your work unique and truly your own?

A good deal of my art is centered on music. Even my non-representational paintings are often very heavily influenced by music. I have been a musician most of my life. I was born in 1961, began playing harmonica at the age of 8, guitar at 13, bass in my 20s and piano at 40. I also like to sing and sometimes beat on the drums. If I need a break from painting I will play a few songs. For me there is little difference between the two art forms, especially since I like to do improvisations in jazz. Both art forms are a dance. One with color, line and form, the other with pitch, rhythm and melody. With both art forms I am trying to achieve a transcendent feeling. In the past artists had entire vocabularies at their fingertips, based on religion. In the modern era each artist has to invent their own language to transmit the same feelings. This has been my struggle. To invent my own artistic language.

What is one tool or supply you couldn’t live without?

Most of my work is done very simply. I use a large 2 inch brush, a medium sized brush, maybe one half inch and a small, signature brush. That is three things but 90% of my work is done with the large brush. Lately I have been working on a relatively large scale, with paintings about 3 feet by 4 feet and this is best done by creating my own canvases. It costs less money and I can create a higher quality of canvas on my own. Smaller paintings I usually just use commercial canvas. It takes nearly as much time and effort to make a small one as a large one so it is easier to just buy it.

This painting represent Saraswati, the Hindu Goddess of art, music, poetry, knowledge.... I'm not Hindu, so to speak, but the painting has meaning for me.

This painting represent Saraswati, the Hindu Goddess of art, music, poetry, knowledge….
I’m not Hindu, so to speak, but the painting has meaning for me.

How has your work changed over time?

I remember drawing in coloring books as a child and trying to choose the best skin tone for Saint Patrick. Orange seemed to me to be the closest in my box of colors and it gave my family a good laugh as the greens and orange in Ireland were traditional enemies. But much of my life as an artist was simply spent learning to draw as well as possible. Later I have been learning to simplify form and try to present only what is needed for the effect desired. Natural objects; humans, books, landscapes etc. have long played a part in my art but for me there is also an unseen reality that is always there. Perhaps art is the only true way to make it known. This unseen reality makes itself seen in my work through abstract patterns, broken, impressionistic colors, rhythmic lines etc. At times I simply dispense with the objects altogether. Fractal patterns have had a big influence on my way of seeing. I have tried to make my body a tool of nature and let nature flow through me. I’m sure I have not achieved the fractals found in nature (snowflakes, clouds, galaxies etc.) but perhaps a touch of that beauty shows.

A recent work, non-representational. One of those works where I just began painting with no destination in sight.

A recent work, non-representational. One of those works where I just began painting with no destination in sight.

What is your creative process like?

I try to find an interesting photo, or toy, or musical instrument to work from. Often I spend a great deal of time just thinking about what I’m going to paint. Sometimes if ideas are not forthcoming, simply beginning to paint helps a lot, even if I have no idea what the final painting will be. I try to be as prolific as possible. I realize quality is more important than quantity, but I have found that the more hours spent working tends to produce the best quality. Sometimes I surprise myself (both good and bad) Claude Monet used to hide his finished paintings when they were done for several months, so he could see them with a fresh perspective. I try that too sometimes. A lot of times I search through magazines or on the Internet for interesting images. Other times I may rework an old painting I hate. Sometimes that brings good results. Using paintings I did in the past sometimes helps. There is one image of a musical group I think I have painted 6 versions of, all very different from one another.

Where do you create, describe your design area and what do you like most about it?

approximately 3'x4' , acrylic on canvas. My easel with a painting. I use the computer quite a lot, both for entertainment and to search for images and information.

approximately 3’x4′ , acrylic on canvas.
My easel with a painting. I use the computer quite a lot, both for entertainment and to search for images and information.

I work in the basement of our home. It is a small work space but large enough for my easel and the painting sizes I am working with. I have one floodlight and background lights. Next to the easel is a netbook computer which is hooked up to the Internet and a large monitor with a sound system. I had used photos printed on a laser printer to work from but the monitor provides color photos and allows me to listen to music or history documentaries while I paint. I have been a history buff since I was a kid. I like the small computer since it is easy to disconnect and carry with me. It has a built-in camera with a card slot for SD cards and a solid state hard drive so it is very tough.

As you can see, painting can be messy. Future works and one of my “models”.

As you can see, painting can be messy.
Future works and one of my “models”.

 

approximately 3'x4' , acrylic on canvas. My easel with a painting. I use the computer quite a lot, both for entertainment and to search for images and information.

approximately 3’x4′ , acrylic on canvas.
My easel with a painting. I use the computer quite a lot, both for entertainment and to search for images and information.

 

What do you do when you are stuck, and all you have is a blank canvas?

As I mentioned, may just begin painting, working on shapes, or just lines. Sometimes I need to do something entirely different. Looking at art, or fractal images, going to art galleries and museums gives me ideas. Reading artists biographies; Watching Youtube videos; Looking at photos in magazines, all can be useful at times, but if nothing is forthcoming, just telling myself it is my job and painting a non-representational work or a simple still life usually gets me going.

What is your desired color palette? Why?

Very simple. White, black, red, yellow and blue, sometimes green. I also like metallic paint, especially gold. I usually paint a monochrome under painting either black and white or using a colored background, usually blue or tan. Then I paint transparent layers of color on top of the under painting. Forcing myself to mix my own colors gives a more subtle gradation of color in my opinion.

Do you work on single or multiple projects at one time?

Usually one thing at a time. I get obsessed and can’t think of anything else. That is sometimes good for the art and bad for my life.

What art organizations do you belong to?

I subscribe to various Facebook groups for artists and musicians.

You can check out more about Jerry on his website:  http://briardy.htmlplanet.com/

jerrybriardy@gmail.com

Jerry Briardy artist on Facebook

Thank you for checking out our first artist interview. If you have any questions or comments please let me know, I would love to hear from you.

debi kibbee