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An Artist's Movement: A Conversation With Rusty Branscom

(Image courtesy of Rusty Branscom)

How can the past impact the present? Why does a facial expression convey so much more than a smile or a tear? These are the thoughts running rampant in Rusty's mind. His North Carolinian studio's white walls contrast with his vibrant works. The beauty of his work is his ability to capture complex emotions in his colorful portraits, abstracts, and landscapes. I had the chance to speak to him to learn more about his artistic process.

(Image courtesy of Rusty Branscom. The image is of Fish Tale)

1. How do you define art?

Art is like oxygen. I mean, everything you see, hear, and feel in life is art. As a painter, sculptor, musician, cinematographer, choreographer, or whatever, you breathe it in and try to freeze-frame it. You know...capture that feeling, that moment. Art should be striking. It should move you somehow.

(Image courtesy of Rusty Branscom. The image is of Pride Knows No Color. )

2. What is your artistic process?

First of all, I believe each painting starts with an idea. A chance to say something new – like, make a social statement, or present a new thought. I sketch with charcoal and use oil paint in over-lapping, thin layers to push and smear motion across the canvas. I paint on a large scale, using bold brush strokes and vibrant colors to enhance my paintings' energy, power, and movement. My main thing is to inspire a new way of seeing something.

(Image courtesy of Rusty Branscom. The image is of Honeybun.)

3. How do you incorporate your mission and vision into your


So right now, I'm feeling like a small fish in a big pond. It's challenging! I try to break through the clutter by provoking an emotional reaction to my work. To touch someone where their heart is. So, I go for the feeling! If I may quote Picasso, "Painting is a blind man's profession. He paints not what he sees, but what he feels."

(Image courtesy of Rusty Branscom. The image is of Glass Ceilng. )

4. What advice would you give to students and young professionals wanting to become artists?

That's easy! Don't let your brain get in the way of your creativity. It's like...go with your gut! If you want something you've never had, you've got to do something you've never done. No borders, no barriers! You know...say it like it's never been said before.

(Image courtesy of Rusty Branscom. The image is of Calling All Tulips )


Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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