With Artist Brian Downs

Brian David Downs creates fabulous drawings with black ink as his primary medium. Some of his pieces are frightening, absolutely hilarious, curious or downright odd. He’s a graduate of St. Cloud University and he lives in the woods. His artwork has been featured on numerous bands flyers and posters around the Minneapolis area and few out in California territory. His show “If a Moose Dies in the Woods and No One is Sees it is it Really Dead?” is currently on display at the Ochre Ghost Gallery downtown. Downs artwork features cultural and political statements, abstractions, occasional Egyptian hieroglyphs and tongue-in-cheek humor. Some of his standouts include portraits of each 2012 GOP candidate including Rick Perry. Also the Koch brothers, a sobbing John Boehner, Janet Napolitano and Ben Bernanke. Accompanying each portrait is a hilarious text. He also did a series on shrunken heads. Aside from his eclectic artwork, he also has a spectacular mustache. Recently Brian and I got together via the internet and waxed political, bohemian and all things in-between.

Reader: Are you pretty heavy into politics?

BD: I don’t know if i would say i’m heavy into politics. For each bit i know, there is a ton that i totally miss. It’s kind of a broad based question, but i guess if the art is approaching the “political”, i’d describe it usually as societal discontent.

Reader: What fascinates you as an artist?

BD: Well “what fascinates me” is a bit broad, so i guess human nature, mother nature, outer space and all in between.

Reader: Self described style?

BD: Ihave never really worried about it i guess. it’s a big bag of tricks i add and subtract with i guess.

Reader: How many years have you been drawing?

BD: I’m 25 now and have been drawing around 24 years.

Reader: What do you enjoy drawing?

BD: I don’t know if i have a subject matter that i particularly enjoy. i’m interested in the various ways the human form is depicted throughout time. i guess being able to regurgitate on canvas or paper what is going on in my mind is in a sense enjoyable?

Reader: When did you discover your talent and figure it may be more than just a hobby?

BD: I don’t know if i discovered it. I used to win weird contests teachers would put me in when i was little. I won a gift certificate for flowers for a nursery and a trip to a exotic safari taxidermy museum around the 5-7 age. Drawing/painting has just been a thing i do often since i can remember.

Reader: Anything in particular that inspires different pieces? Is there usually a theme?

BD: There is usually a theme or train of thought. I guess i would describe each piece as more of an experiment, whether it be successful or not. Again, the inspiration can come from talk radio, bands, other paintings, friends, strangers, movies, sports etc.

Reader: What’s one of your favorite drawings that you’ve done?

BD: I don’t know if i have a favorite drawing. I’d say my mind of late has been processing the similarities between the “all gods go to heathen” series and the “-or” series (drawings depicting egyptian gods) and figuring where to go next. The paintings i haven’t made yet i guess would be the paintings i really dig the most.

Reader: That’s deep. Where can people see more of your work?

BD: Iwill be having a few shows coming up in the summer in the twin cities. There is a solo show at Beloved Studios’ gallery space in St Paul in June and a joint show with a set of twins at Soovac in minneapolis in September. Otherwise the streets of Minneapolis/St Paul and where ever else bands put the xeroxes? Oh yeah and:

Reader: Fun facts?

BD: I can draw/paint life-like portraits with both hand and/or feet. Mustache is a bit bushy now, the ends just got long enough for a wax and a curl. Hopefully messy burritos and the almighty sun will not be the end of this round with the mustache.