I’ve been a fan of Brent Carpenter’s art from the day he showed me some of his sketches after an energy healing session.
He’s done much more since then–a whimsical, bright illustration of a cow jumping for the moon for my friend Anna, as well as the odd sculpture or two. That was a long time ago.
I’ve always been convinced of Brent’s remarkable potential; so much so that I’ve often thought he could be one of the rarest talents of our time–my totally intuitive hunch, and one I firmly stand by.
I was totally thrilled to see that Brent has been pursuing his art all these years, and has now finally decided to share his talents with the public.
Not to mention, I was absolutely delighted when this often shy (but always candid) artist agreed to this interview.
Easy question first: Who are your favorite artists?
Which artist/s have influenced your work the most?
Due to my education and rather private life in modern senses, my classical influences are very strong with competition or direction from current artists being quite small. I often find myself unconsciously predicting which master pieces are going to fall into the limelight and gain strong prices. This happened with both Van Gogh’s Blue Irises and Edward Munch The Scream and then also Orange Line in Blue by Mark Rothko.
When painting I oscillate between Van Gogh and surrealist automatic and realistic imagery, although I always like quick and nasty styles because I can throw fractured and nervous energy at them and something beautiful comes out of that.
I admire Pollock
but would never paint so viciously.
As an energy-healer, how does your energy change while you create?
Do your Reiki sessions have an effect on your work too?
I like to transmute nervous tension and restlessness into something tangible. So my style is quick, and I will often revisit areas so that the result is in harmony with the whole. I use a lot of color recognition for this, having an appreciation for what I have sometimes felt in those chakras and then eventually related them to a color. However the color plays are basic and intellectual and more than “feel” colors for the viewing result. I choose colors based on how they make me feel as well as from what’s available–which is usually quite a lot.
I still have to venture into non-figurative colors and stay within the natural bounds of association. I guess, even unintentionally, I let my restlessness carry the spiritual into the work by what is painted carefully and what is not–the qualities of the line and texture.
Unfortunately I don’t do enough Reiki on others to see a difference, however I would say that if I set out to do it, a healing painting like Dhurga’s Lioness can be as potent on myself as any self-healing reiki session. It comes through over days as well, while the work is being made, and gives me peace when I look at it.
I’ve noticed that works you create for others have much more vibrant colors than those you create for yourself. Any thoughts on that?
Circumstantial evidence, my dear. Besides, it hurts a lot to have other people have my best work–but that’s an incentive to paint more. LOL!
You are known to sneak in the mundane when painting portraits and the spiritual, like your portrait of a manager as an angel with a dishcloth. Does this reflect how you see the world?
A little trick I learnt from the surrealists to pile up on meaning: working from sign, back toward symbol, back towards icon–as if I can make up for the destruction or lack of those things.
Mundane is thick with meaning for everyone so I invest in it, and also make for accidental meaning and possible coincidence with viewers.
You also seem to plant easter eggs of symbols into otherwise quite natural still-lifes, like your white cow (Nguni) with the heart opposite what seems to be a spade, and that quite unmissable hand-print. Do you do them all intentionally, or do they just slip in?
Tell you the truth, I didn’t notice the spade or the heart. I like the way you call them easter eggs, almost dogma; but yes, I try as hard as possible to paint as many different things at once.
It comes from all the time I spend admiring the progress of a work. I spend almost as much time looking as I do painting. I am a bit narcissistic like that.
Most of your work is in watercolour. I also remember a great pencil (charcoal?) piece you did on a bamboo mat. Will you be experimenting with other mediums and textures soon
Oh yes. As I mentioned, the stylistic interventions are almost as important as the subject matter because they keep me interested in the work; and the more mediums one has, the more things just happen on their own –which I watch carefully.
What are your favorite subjects for artwork? Why that/those?
I always need a body of man/woman or animal involved even if just a fragment thereof. I find I enjoy these realistic gestures to mix with very vegetative or otherwise fluid backgrounds. I use this to indicate the souls oneness.
Any advice for those of us seeking to explore energy and the spiritual via art and colors?
Be unafraid of messiness on the work or around it, the last thing one needs to be is shy. Work in private but try to include exterior or ulterior influences as you go along. Develop a little voice in your head and learn the art of when to tell it ‘no’ or ‘yes sir’. You can paint with whatever color you choose to love, so long as you are clever about it.
A big one–the twists and turns you take are as much the subject matter as the literal.
If I were to be suggestive, I would say be conscious of the feelings you are investing and to think of this as a spiritual process: It will be visible to you which is very stimulating.
With newer discoveries about myself,
I feel absolutely drawn to
A personal view of Stonehenge is on the way and so too a Mosqueto.
Do you accept commissions? How do we find you and your artwork?
I am contactable on firstname.lastname@example.org
I can send you a few questions to allocate a commission to you, done to your hearts liking. I will shortly be putting up a portfolio on deviantart.co.za
Thank you, Brent, for your time and insights. And while wishing you the best for the future, I’ll be keeping an eye out for more of your work 😀
I’ll be featuring TribalMystic, Joycelin Leahy, and her amazing art combining the ancient with the most modern of tools.
Copyright Notice: The images in this post are the intellectual property of Brent Carpenter (email@example.com). Please do not copy/paste (except on social media) or otherwise reproduce these images without the express permission of Brent Carpenter.
Inbetweener thanks you for supporting artists globally in this way.