US born artist Derek Bruno is an all-rounder with a characteristic perfection when it comes to the finishing of his artworks. From his original furniture designs to his street installations and interior wall pieces, he is also consistent with the mixture of unusual materials: walnut, enamel, acrylic and duct tape!
You can see some of Derek’s brilliant works at Futurism 2.0., the multi artist exhibition at Blackall Studios, London on 28 September.
The Creative Post: You come from an industrial design background, and that is easily shown through the brilliant use of geometry and symmetry in your artworks and your furniture design. But how, when and why did you move into street art?
Derek Bruno: In my head and approach, graffiti and art have always been separate entities. When I started painting on trains and highway underpasses as a kid (and even now), the goal was never to make art, it was just the most fun way to exercise creative energy. I wasn’t all that interested in engaging the public, I guess the intended audience was generally those who did what I liked to do. For this reason I have a hard time considering myself a street artist. If anything, it has been design principles that fuel my desire to create and solve aesthetic problems; art has just been another arena where I have found an audience to display my point of view. Two and a half years ago I came to the realization that separating the designer, the artist, and the kid who liked painting on trains was actually limiting the quality of all of my work… so I started using my woodworking skills to make art objects…then applied a design centered mind and its sensibilities of proportion and composition to guide my choice of concept and delivery. I guess what comes out is art, still pretty unsure where I fit. Maybe all this effort is more a move to fine art…from the streets. In truth this has all been a big experiment…trying to be less of a schizophrenic when it comes to creativity and to have more fun making things in life.
T.C.P.: I am fascinated by the use of duct tape for some of your works. Where is this coming from?
D.B.: The installations with duct tape and painters tape needed to be temporary, so the tape stood in the place of paint. Tape was the right material for the job, although it would have been rad (and less expensive) if it was paint….
T.C.P.: The use of walnut is also a constant on your work. Has it become your personal signature?
D.B.: I guess I have been using it so much because it is a decent visual representation of my furniture background; a familiar material that has its own intrinsic qualities, ones that I have always been attracted to. I feel the wood helps to blur the line between object and image… walnut is traditionally used to make objects; so when it serves as the ground for an image…it stops being just the stuff you make tables and chairs out of and starts to be appreciated for its other properties… or at least thats why I keep messing with it. In truth it could be any building material, I just like the way walnut and white play off each other.
T.C.P.: What are your main inspirational influences?
D.B.: Since 11th grade, I have been fascinated by the role artists played in the russian revolution by visually communicating ideas to the illiterate mass… thats when I really started getting into suprematism and Kazimir Malevich. Donald Judd is a personal hero. Richard Serra, Anish Kapoor, Saul Bass, John Cage, and Walter Gropius are all always kind names to drop. As for Graff: Joker has always been a big influence, I remember waiting on a 56k modem to load artcrimes.com and having my teenage mind blown by his abstract letterforms. Geso, Mike Giant, Eko, and CT have all been out there pushing original ideas forward and serve as motivation. Also…friends. Drew Tyndell and Ben Niznik are a constant inspiration, always fighting the good fight.
T.C.P.: Tell us a bit about your participation in Futurism 2.0.
D.B.: Futurism 2.0…the most intimidating line up of artist I have ever been thrown into. The premise is one that hits home, and hard: moving forward, progress, change, and collaborative efforts to present historically rooted contemporary work. I feel so lucky to see, meet, show with, and potentially create with these guys. I will be showing a pretty big piece of new work, just making it had me stressed beyond belief…knowing I would share walls with immense talent. After seeing last years “Rudimentary Perfection”, I was stoked to see what they would present this year… never thinking I’d be invited to the party. Now all I think about is what I can do to assist in what comes next.
T.C.P.: What are your next projects?
D.B.: Next. More art, more objects and with more people. I am spending the remainder of 2012 putting together a new body of work and launching off some long distance collaborations. The 2013 goal is to spend more time in the studio and land shows in unknown places. I am in discussion with a few galleries stateside and am looking for another reason for a transcontinental adventure.
Thanks Derek! See a selection of Derek Bruno’s artworks below. More info at www.christopherbruno.com