TALKS TO OUR CREATIVE DIRECTOR, JOE GREAVES- LORD, ABOUT HIS WORK
Braque Miro, named by his father after two of his favourite artists - Georges Braque & Joan Miro - is a 27-year-old, self taught, contemporary artist from the south coast of England. His parents moved there shortly before he was born; his father from New York and his mother, who is of Native American decent, from Rhode Island.
Growing up, Braque never really thought about his talent as an artist, ‘It was just something I did since I can remember,’ he tells me, ‘There were always lots of great art books around the house growing up that I’d copy works from and make my own versions in different styles.’
Although he has, of course, been influenced by many artists; from the meticulous and painstaking detail of M.C Escher, who fascinated Braque growing up, to the Italian Masters, his name sake, Miro, and the Spanish greats Gaudi and Picasso, who he still finds so intriguing. He also came to love the work of pop artists Mel Ramos, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, Tom Wesselmann and Richard Hamilton. Stylistically, what has formulated is a result of all of these different influences that he learnt from and admired from a young age.
‘When I was a kid I never used colour, just pencil, and I worked very privately until I got it right. Even then I was very selective about who saw it and was reserved in showing anybody.’ Today though, he’s the opposite. It’s all about bright colours and he wants to share his work with anybody and everybody, because he thinks ‘Art is for everybody and it’s everywhere in our everyday lives.’
Nowadays he works primarily with acrylic paint, usually on canvas or card and sometimes wood, or anything else he finds interesting or relevant for a particular project or piece. Recently he’s been producing a few pieces he calls ‘Art Imitating Art’, which are tongue in cheek references to famous artists and artworks. For example his ‘Flatulent Child’ piece refers to Keith Haring’s ‘Radiant Child’. ‘They’re all just ideas I had that made me laugh so I hope it gives others a smile too,’ he says.
As well as this, he was recently asked to produce artwork for a movie coming out this summer called ‘Back In Business’, a sequel to the hit film ‘The Business’. The film is set in Ibiza in the 90’s so it was perfect outlet for him to throw some bright colours together and get a really nice feel to it.
Braque is currently painting on various grains and bespoke dyes of Bavarian Bull hide. It’s a beautiful material not only to look at but also to feel and it has a real air of luxury about it. The subjects and styles of the pieces he’s experimented with so far are all relevant not only to the material but to the grain (whether fine or full) and the individual colours of the leather. ‘I really like the raw, free, expressive and simple approach with these, they’re about the individual marks, the brushstrokes and how they compliment the grain of the hide and the overall piece.’ He’s going to be producing some large scale pieces on Bull hide as well as releasing a line of t shirts this spring that will all feature hand-painted, hand-cut, and hand-sewn leather pockets. All of which are unique, original and wearable works of art.
I ask Braque where he sees the art world moving, ‘It’s funny you ask me this, around Christmas time I was in a West End bar talking with an older gentleman, he asked me what I did and I told him I’m an artist. He then explained how his wife was in the design industry, and said to me, ‘I’m sorry to tell you this, and I’ve told my wife also, but you’re fucked. You’re all fucked.’ He then went on to talk about digital influence, and we discussed David Hockney’s exhibit of digital works, £5 logo designs online etc, etc. ‘However…’ and I sang in my best Marvin Gaye voice, ‘There ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby!’ then went on to explain how there will always be a demand and appreciation for real, hand made things made with hours if not years of trial and error, craftsmanship, passion, blood, sweat and tears, by real human beings that are exceptional at what they do. That personal touch, all these great things that technology cannot replace, which applies to so many disciplines. And that extends to most other things like conversations, food, sex… Ain’t nothing like the real thing right? He agreed.’
Braque also believes that art is a great investment. ‘In most cases, especially if you are starting a collection, it will only appreciate in value and you don’t need a fortune to begin. You can pick up things like limited editions, smaller size originals and sculptures by many great artists for as little as £100. For a few thousand you can begin with some very established household names. Plus it’s fun, you never know which artists or pieces will seriously appreciate in value. Buy on instinct. Buy what you love. If it makes you feel something, if it makes you feel great, makes you smile, laugh or even cry then buy it.’
His favourite piece he created himself is called ‘Lion & Cub’. ‘I think most living things can relate to it, not just people. Not only the warm colours from the ‘sunset’ dye of the Bull hide, but the relationship, the power of it. The demeanour of the two animals, the love and the protective and protected nature of it. I really enjoyed using the pallet knife to create a great texture with it too, and finally, most importantly, it was really made from the heart.’
More of Braque’s work can be found at: www.valenzaart.co.uk