CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?
BM: I often paint the figure, though not always. I would say that my work can look graphic from a distance or in a photograph, but my hand is seen when viewed up close. The image is composed from lines that lie parallel to each other with the white from the gesso showing in between.
CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
BM: I get a lot of ideas from books. I read constantly and I read everything. I also look at art all day long–new and old. I spend time thinking about and writing about what I like and why I like it.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?
BM: Sometimes I know what I want to do before I start–the image is in my head. Sometimes it’s not, and I build one piece of the painting at a time. I might photograph someone and then stick the figure on the canvas and figure out what is going to be around them.
CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?
BM: My goal is for someone’s stomach to hurt when they look at my work. Whenever something is just crazy good, it makes my stomach hurt. I don’t know if I’ve accomplished that yet. But I hope everyone can find something they like in it, and relate to the people in the paintings.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?
BM: I’ve been teaching preschool for the past ten years and making art at night and on the weekends. When our preschool was closed for Covid from March 2020 until the fall, I taught myself how to paint and began to figure out what kind of paintings I wanted to make. Now I’m teaching part-time and going to school part-time (for Special Education) at Columbia. If I’m not working or in class I’ll paint straight through the day–sometimes 6 am-midnight if I have a deadline coming up.
CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?
BM: I’ve learned not to stall in starting something just because I’m not sure about what I’m doing. Stay in motion and you’ll figure out where you’re headed.
CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?
BM: The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you learn what kind of paintings you’ll be making and what kind of artist you are simply from making one work at a time and looking closely at it, using what excites you to inform the next work. You don’t have to have an idea of what kind of work you’re going to make or what kind of artist you are–you just make what you make. I also learned that it’s okay if your work doesn’t feel cohesive at first–experiment wildly and the work is yours because you made it. If something you make feels odd to you, just remember that there is a reason that you made it–something that you had to figure out.
CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?
BM: Yes–I believe that in any medium specificity is the most important thing. It’s important to zoom in on all of the things that you love most and run full force towards them.
CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?
BM: The hardest thing has always been time and money. Out of school I was making $35,000 a year teaching, commuting an hour and a half to work from Brooklyn, and sometimes teaching on the weekends to make extra money. I had no space to work, no time to think, and no money to take chances or buy materials.
CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?
BM: I love everything about being an artist.
CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artists that inspire you in any way?
CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?
BM: I’m somewhat old-fashioned, but I think Instagram is a complete gamechanger. Every opportunity I’ve gotten has been from Instagram. Galleries, collectors, journalists, and curators have all decided to work with me simply from my Instagram posts and engagement. Artists should think very carefully about social media and what their posts are communicating. They should also spend time looking at the social media of galleries to deepen their knowledge about where their work might fit.
CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?
BM: I think being an artist allows you to view the world the same way that children do–you pay very close attention.
CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?
BM: I love traveling. I love Berlin and Florence and Paris, but my favorite place I’ve visited was Okemah Oklahoma. I stayed on a pig farm in a Winnebago.
CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?
BM: I love Clarice Lispector.
CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?
BM: I’m just going one painting at a time, and I’ll see where I end up. Next year I’m showing in LA, NY, Europe and Asia and I hope I just keep getting busier because I like being busy.
CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?
BM: Being an artist means I get to be like a child for my entire life, and I’m the luckiest person alive.
CH.89: What’s the last song you listened to?
BM: I listened to “If You Needed Me” by Townes Van Zandt.
CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?
BM: I’m more interested in what everyone else has to say.