Artist talk with Brian Jerome
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'Dybbuk', 2017

Oil, Acrylic, Graphite, Oil Stick, Oil Pastel, Charcoal and Chalk Pastel on Canvas

132.08 x 91.44 cm

Tell us about yourself. 

My name is Brian Jerome.  I was originally born and raised in York, Pennsylvania.  I was fortunate enough to move to Philadelphia, PA when I was 18 to pursue my BFA at Tyler School of Art.  I received my degree in Printmaking and minors in Art History and Philosophy.  I loved the process and history of printmaking, but it was a means to an end at the time to become an illustrator.  During my time as an illustrator, I became a chef and worked in many restaurants to help keep my studio practice available.  I realized I wanted to find a more fulfilled way of art making than freelance illustration.  I received my MFA from The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where I learned to “paint” in the way that makes sense to me.

 

Where did your passion for art begin? 

From as long as I can remember, I have loved comic books, Marvel in particular.  During the 90s comics were extremely cheap and my parents weren’t breaking the bank buying them for me. It became an obsession and I loved to redraw not only my favorite characters, but all the supporting ones due the importance of narrative and story.  I always loved building and using imagination.

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'I Am Not Dying in a Forest, I Do Not Miss My Youth', 2021

Oil, Acrylic, Colored Pencil, Chalk Pastel, Oil Pastel, Crayon, Graphite, and Charcoal on Canvas

152.4 x 127 cm

How would you describe your work to someone? 

The easiest and cheapest way is to say “I make large mixed media abstract expressionist work.” But in all honesty that to me is a little bullshit.  My work are diaries, notes, and cathartic reactions to my understanding of being human and how intense or benign it can be.  I use mediums that make sense at the time and call to me.  The work helps me handle what I feel like I cannot explain through other modes of language and help me cope with Bipolar and PTSD.

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What are you currently working on? 

Currently most of my attention is focused on my wedding.  Other than that, I am working on potential projects with galleries opening up post COVID, working on collaborations, finishing a new body of work, and getting my kitchen back into fully reopening.

'After Crucifixion', 2020

Oil, Acrylic, Graphite, Crayon, Oil Pastel, and Chalk Pastel on Canvas

157.48 x 132.08 cm

When you start a new work or project, do you plan what you’re going to create or do you improvise? 

I always try to get to the studio as often as possible.  Making work is compulsive.  I usually am working on 3-7 works at a time, so if creativity isn’t booming the compulsive animal isnt screaming, I can edit, make adjustments, work on titles, etc.  I guess there is a plan, but I am not consciously not always aware of it.  The work is an act of mindfulness at a certain point.

Can you highlight some of your influences and discuss how your influences have made an impact on you and your practice?

Jack Kirby, Ralph Steadman, Todd McFarland, Francis Bacon, Vincent Van Gogh, Mark Rothko - visually.  Who knows, maybe I am supposed to always say Cy Twombly, but of course.  I’m not interested in his narrative choices, he just, for a lack of better way of saying, showed me a different way of expressing to build upon.  Always the elephant in the room, hopefully someday it won’t be such a thing but dues are due.  Carl Jung has inspired me a lot as well as Nietzche, but that also is such a trite thing in the art world.  Anthony Bourdain probably is the biggest influence.  Also I had some amazing teachers and professors like John Dowell, Mark Shetabi, Leslie Friedman, Mike Hawthorne and Bruce Samuelson.

What are your plans for the remainder of this year?

After I finally get married to best friend and partner-in-life, Megan, I want to find some time to hopefully travel after the last year of hell on earth.  I feel very lucky that I have been in touch and working with a lot of galleries.  It seems my work is finding the right homes and getting the attention I believe it deserves.  I just look forward to being the best father, husband, and teacher I can be while always still learning on working towards something bigger and better.

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'Remembering a Past That Cannot Be Made Into a Present', 2018

Oil, Acrylic, Graphite, Oil Stick, Oil Pastel, Colored Pencil and Chalk Pastel on Canvas

106.68 x 127 cm