Artfetch’s Patricia Tsouros caught up with wonder-boy Sam Brookes on the eve of his latest exhibition to talk art, work, love, life and the processes of the mind that go to create his marvellous drawings.
It’s a labour of love. Sam Brookes is in his studio, surrounded by art works in various stages of progress. “My working process is laborious, at times punitive. I don’t think it should be or can be enjoyable most of the time. Like any other job it can be tedious and frustrating,” he explains. That might be true, but you can tell he couldn’t do otherwise than be an artist – even though he questions it himself, “I wasn’t entirely sure what being an artist was, I am still trying to understand what being an artist is and I think that will go on for a long time,” he says.
Brookes’ surreal images, seemingly chaotic though beautifully executed, are extremely fascinating, so I was keen to discover more about the man behind them. Brookes graduated with First Class Honors in illustration from Falmouth University in 2012. His work, heavily influenced by Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and Francis Bacon shows a depth of consciousness and contemplation. Nevertheless, the artist is laid back in person, relaxed and chatty.
“My thought process is quite chaotic, but it usually follows the act of drawing. They both feed off each other; so I will draw with only a vague idea of what I am doing and then this will give birth to new thoughts and ideas,” he explains. “What I find interesting is the actual making of art, the ideas that go into the making of a piece, and the actual physical making itself. Sometimes it can be that I will be drawing purely for practice or therapeutic value and I find that it may be more interesting than something I have done with more consideration.”
It’s the detail that really draws me in, in Tales of the City, the dramatic landscape grabs your attention, but it takes a lot of looking to see what’s really there. At first look you see the face of a woman with a cityscape on her head, her memories. If you look closely very closely, you will see figurines of men in the lighter towers. The intensity of the work of the memories is heightened when you dig deep.
“Lately my ideas have also come from things I have been reading and watching, such as Kafka’s Metamorphosis and the film Possession along with others. Some ideas will be awful and some slightly interesting, but it goes through a process of filtration […] Really it’s just a process of failing better. It is this that makes it interesting and I constantly ask myself why I am doing it, unable to give a clear reason. The act of work and the drudgery of it is fascinating to me.”
We discover a shared love of certain artists: Giacometti, Paul McCarthy, Urs Fischer and Francis Bacon; I tell him about an invitation to seeBacon’s The Black Triptychs at a private view. “My heart would have jumped out! Paul McCarthy’s Pig Island and those Francis Bacon paintings are the works that stop me in my path.” I leave with new ideas ringing in my head, and all those glorious images swirling in my mind. I imagine what they might look like if Brookes tried to draw them too… and ringing in my ears is a Kafka quote he parted with: “Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” Consider it done Mister Brookes.
Patricia Tsouros is Co–Founder & Head of Innovation at Artfetch.
Love the work in this blog? Discover more about Sam Brookes and buy his work here.
Sam Brooke’s Soft Machine Interview with ArtFetch“Artfetch is an Irish based company that is bringing the world’s best new artists together in one online platform. They curate the next generation of emerging art stars from around the globe, making their work accessible to a worldwide audience of art lovers and collectors.