CONVERSATION WITH THE ARTIST:  BRIAN LACEY

Exhibiting in FRACTURED February 10 - March 4, 2017

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Name: Brian Lacey

Years in Detroit: Eight

Years Working as an artist: 11 Years

Preferred Medium: I cant say I prefer one more so over the other, though at the top of my list currently would be obviously paint, wood, cement, tile/stone, plastics & resin, paper and paper products.

What is currently your favorite:

Website: Honestly, I wouldn’t say I have just one though I recently discovered the educational potential of Youtube. Based on what I’ve learned and the amount I frequent the site I would have to say that it is definitely one of my top favorites. Soundcloud has also been a running favorite for a few years and comes in handy during long stents in the studio. Other than that there are several cycling websites I frequent and contribute to such as nsmb.com and lfgss.com

Work of Art: L’anis Del Mono by Pablo Picasso

Piece of advice: The power of positive thought and the law of attraction are very real things but just as important is the belief itself and your belief in yourself. Write everything down and map out your goals strategically.

Do you collect anything? I collect everything. Art, of course. Bicycles and bike parts, skateboards and skateboard memorabilia, currency/coins, shoes, hats, records/music in general, rare automotive wheels, pins, matches, and last but definitely not least – books. 

When did you first know you wanted to be an artist?
I have always been a creator for as long as my memory serves me. I was always making things and starting new projects. I have been fortunate to have a family that supports me fully. I finally came to the conclusion to bite the bullet and become a career artist around 2009

Was there an artist you admired that inspired you to be an artist yourself?
Pablo Picasso has always been inspiration for me to become an artist. I had a chance to see a private collection of his works at a very young age. That experience continues to be an inspiration to my aspirations as an artist. In my teens I became very involved in the world of graffiti. That experience opened me up various artists that would serve to inspire my work. I really began to study Doze green’s layering techniques and subject matter in his later, post graffiti fine art. I looked towards Kaws to see how he took his concepts and characterization and marketed it as a ’brand’ of sorts. I have also been inspired by, and still do with Tristan Eaton. His focus and advancement as an artist is really something to work towards, especially considering the minimal amount of formal training he has received. I have been blessed in recent years to have built a personal relationship with Tristan to the point of a mentorship.  

Is there a particular local artist whose work you admire? 
I have looked towards artists involved in the Cass Corridor movement for several years now. This is something I feel is really overlooked not only in relation to the art world as a whole, but in relation to Detroit’s art history in general. As far as current artists, I really admire Greg Fadell’s work. He is exploring similar themes and materials as myself brought about through the construction industry. At the same time he still embodies a certain nuance specific to being a ‘Detroit Artists’.

What themes do you tend to pursue in your work?  Is there something that connects the work in this exhibition? 
I have always explored a lot of socio-political themes. As of the last five years I have been exploring a lot of themes involving the influence that ones immediate environment has on one’s self. A lot of my inspiration comes from the work place, or my day job. Most recently I have been emphasizing and exploring themes such as the current trend of the commodification of fine art. In regards to this I have looked towards the early American quilt movement for connections. A big part of my work in the last year has been influenced by the construction industry. I have been playing a lot with contrasting real vs. fake and the waste and commodification presented by this industry. 

What materials do you tend to work with and how do they contribute to the overall context of your work?
I almost always work with wood and some sort of paint. I also frequently employ resin and or encaustic wax. As stated above, as of late I have been recycling and reusing materials exclusive to the construction field. Such materials directly relate to commodification, and waste. 

Where are you finding inspiration lately?
Definitely in the workplace. Working in the construction industry is really eye opening in terms of see just how much is actually wasted. Over 60% of landfills are filled exclusively from the ‘waste’ generated from new construction. To me that’s really insane to think.

Is there a single habit that you strongly believe contributes to your success as an artist? Networking by far, but also persistence.

How do you feel about the art market / scene in Detroit? 
Have you seen a shift in the last few years? It is definitely exciting to see its growth, but contrary to a lot of contrary belief, it still has a way to go. At the moment I think it falls short of sustainable. Unfortunately we don’t have the collector base of cities such as Miami, NY, LA, SF, etc.

What are you looking forward to most about the upcoming exhibition?
Probably seeing everyone’s work, placed together. We were all really amped up to throw down on several collaborations. Though we probably didn’t get as many collab. pieces done as we initially spoke about, the majority of our own personal pieces ended up connecting on several levels without that being the original objective.

What one item would you grab if your house were on fire?
Probably my external hard drive, not only does it have a lot of work related material, it also has a wealth of memories backed up on it as well.

Have you learned anything from collaborating with this group of artists that resonated with you?
For sure learned further about characteristic of glass and techniques of working with it through Scott, but I think the most eye opening was to experience first hand how our collective subconscious worked to create some really unintentionally cohesive work.

FRACTURED Opens February 10th 2017 (6 - 9 PM at Galerie Camille).  The exhibition runs through March 4th.