We are welcome at brantt's studio in Ghent. He is one of the artists who has been in the collection since the very beginning of Bernice. brantt took an architectural design course at Sint-Lucas and graduated as a graphic designer and later as a Master in painting. His canvases carry the influences of both his graphic and architectural training. He is an example of an artist who does not like being stuck in one direction, he likes to broaden his horizons.
When and why did you begin to create art?
During my graphic design training I already expored "painting" at school. After this training I found a job in the graphic industry but after a year, in 2001, I started a painting course. Since then I have been painting almost daily and I am currently an independent artist.
What kind of artist are you?
I am mainly concerned with painting, although I have a history in architecture. This architectural education explains many influences in my paintings. I have also converted the paintings into more 3 dimensional work, resulting in a series of sculptures. But if you compare the sculptures to my paintings, there is a clear difference instyle. My architecture training has always been an important factor, although there is a graphic influence in the use of color and in the composition of my work. Actually, I enjoyed everything from all art classes I took. I do not want to be pushed into a certain corner, which is why I have so many different styles. I always work according to theme and every 2 to 3 years that this theme changes. Either it is colorful and landscaping, sometimes it is pure about buildings. Currently I work on a series of roads and bridges and my use of color is much more sober.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from my daily environment. As a student I appreciated the work of the French artist Nicolas De Staël. My method is similar to his: I paint with a palette knife. But generally I do not really have an artist who truly inspires me. Some architects maybe ...
How do you motivate yourself to start with a blank canvas?
There are times when I have a goal or a specific theme. In the morning I go to my studio and immediately start working on it. This continues for 3 to 5 months. Sometimes I restart with a new theme or I extend the previous one even further. Now I am again in a phase that my style is likely to change. This is due to the fact that my studio has to move. A new location is a new environment, it brings a new perspective.
What is most important to you? Concept - process or end result?
I find the process very important, because I really like to do it; I like paiting. My paintings are less conceptual.
How do you know that you finished a piece?
Sometimes I rework a work of art after years. It is not finished until I am completely satisfied with it. Some canvases are done after a week, some only after 3-4 years. Sometimes I think something's missing. Sometimes I find it too dark and I put a new, fresh color on for example.
Do you notice that certain types of collectors are interested in your work?
There is often a link with interior architects and architects. People who are interested in buildings or architecture choose my works. They especially prefer my architectural work or sculptures. I also have landscaping work and that is accessible to everyone.
Do you make a living from painting?
I have three sources of income. First one is the sale of my paintings. Sales represent 1/3 of my income. Secondly there is the lease of my works. This also represents 1/3 but this is a more stable income. It also fluctuates a bit, but not as much as sales. In the beginning, rental fees were low. I have been working for 15 years now. The rental of my canvases has gradually been built up and now it has become a secure income. I also have income from freelance work as an installer of artworks.
How did you first come into contact with an artrental?
When I was a student in Sint-Lucas in 2002, two people came to watch the work of a fellow artist. They had to go past my work to reach him. I was not present at the time, via my teacher they contacted me. It started with 5 pieces, which has now grown to 50 to 100 painings currently for rent. It has become an important part of the circulation of my artworks. When an exhibition is over and you still have works that have not been sold, it is better to spread your work so other people can enjoy it. I do not want artworks to remain in my studio and not be seen. It's a win-win situation.
What do you use your rental fee for?
I only use the allowance for my work as an artist. This can range from buying materials (paint and cloth), renting my studio, or pay for my car and insurance.
What would you still like to achieve?
I'm happy being an artist without having other concerns. I am certainly not unhappy about the fact that I am a less known artist. It is nice when you are a well-known artist, but in my opinion it also has disadvantages. I like to work anonymously. I know that people appreciate my work. It gives me a good feeling.
What are the most important characteristics for an artist for you?
If you really want to go for it, you need to make sacrifices. I have given up my job in graphics - and thus my financial security. The job gave me little satisfaction. I don't feel the need for it anymore. I like to design, but for commercial organisations.
Do you have a tip for a starting artist?
Try to find a studio as soon as possible after graduating. You're lost if you do not have a studio. It is more practical than working at home, e.g. there's the smell... Also, at home, there's no objective feedback. In my current studio I work with 13 other artists. I can always ask them for honest feedback.