ADRIAN LANDON BROOKS is a visual artist currently based in Houston. His style can be interpreted as a modern day take on traditional folk art. Adrian focuses on the trials and tribulations of contemporary culture, and contrasts those labors using imagery and artifacts of the past.
Adrian attended the San Francisco Art Institute where he studied painting and drawing. It was there that he discovered his greatest artistic influences, which helped him hone in on his own personal style. After school Adrian lived in Austin, where he was able to connect with many creative people and establish a name for himself. His work has been displayed in museums, galleries and exhibits in San Francisco, Austin, and Houston.
NI: What inspires you most and how do you get over a creative block?
ALB: Clean crisp lines and pastel color arrangements inspire me the most. I see examples of these things everyday, whether it be on the side of an ice cream truck or in some fancy gallery. The many ways colors interact with each other give me a warm and fuzzy feeling every time. I try to snap photos throughout the day when certain patterns catch my eye, and then I scroll through those photos if I am feeling particularly uninspired.
Or I pick up a book from one of my favorite artists. It’s not so much that I am looking for a specific thing to create, but rather reminding myself of why I create things in the first place. I am inspired by the greatness I see in others and their success is what motivates me.
NI: Your illustration style is pretty distinct. How has it evolved over the years? Where do you see it going?
ALB: I think I have such a distinct style because there is a certain imagery that has been constant throughout my art career. My focus has always been on symbolic figures, religious iconography, and geometric pattern. My art has evolved through the repetition and fine-tuning of these shapes and figures. When I think about the various mediums that are available and the ideas that are constantly building on what I have already created, I realize there is much left to explore.
NI: Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?
ALB: I think typically artists either have an organic creative process or they plan every move they make. I dabble in different mediums so that I can indulge in a little bit of both. When I am working on illustrations most of that work is planned to every small detail. I usually draw out everything I am going to color before I touch a brush. This process can be really soothing and cathartic if I am in the mood for detail.
My paintings on the other hand are a little looser in nature. When I don’t feel like mapping everything out with works on paper I usually turn to canvas and let myself explore. I still work pretty tight but I am more flexible when it comes to making changes as I go. I can start off with a basic idea of what I want to do and chances are it will be completely different when I am finished.
NI: What’s it like when you are working in the studio. (Do you listen to music, do you work by yourself, can you zone out or do you have to be methodical with your process?)
ALB: My days in the studio are pretty comparable to clocking in to work. I take this time very seriously and aim to completely disengage with my daily life. If I am having a good day the creative forces take hold and working becomes pure meditation. When I come out of the studio after a good daylong stretch I feel revitalized and new. Now if I were having a bad day in the studio, one would be wise to take cover…
ALB: I think originally I just wanted to draw birds and they served as a good practice subject for my line work. The feathers and texture taught me a lot about how to move my pen around and the patience that comes along with fine line illustration. At some point the body morphed into a human and the bird head stayed. It was a fairly organic process that has just stuck with me through the years. I think it fits in with my attraction to old world symbolism and figures of a mystic nature. People spend so much time obsessing on all the ugly things in the world that it’s a nice reprieve to make something a little more surreal.
NI: What planned projects can we look forward to from you?
ALB: I am in the process of working on a new body of large-scale paintings on canvas. The images are cropped versions of previous smaller works on paper. I wanted to hone in on specific portions of previous work that I believe were the most successful. The paintings are extremely stripped down in comparison to my illustrations but hopefully they have a comparable impact.
ALB: On June 1st I will have four large paintings installed at Free Press Summer Fest in Houston. The paintings were created on re purposed sail material and will be hung on a 30 foot tall steel pyramid structure. If you happen to be in Houston for the festival look out for pyramid in the horizon.
NI: Thanks for sitting down with us Adrian and we look forward seeing your next creation.
Stop by the store to see an illustration Adrian has created exclusively for Nannie Inez!
Check out Adrian's recent feature in Juxtapoz Magazine.