Brianna Angelakis is a Florida based artist who focuses on the beauty of the female form in her often solitary yet vibrant works. The artist has shown throughout the United States and continues to grow a following for her intriguing females that seem to strike a chord within art collectors. One of her most recent works “Alice In Wonderland” went viral, and has just been released as a limited edition print with Patron of the Arts, an arts publication agency known for working with names such as artists Charmaine Olivia and Jenn Porreca.
We caught up with the artist in her studio to ask her some questions about her craft…
Warholian: What would you say the overall theme of your work is based on?
My work is based on my own experiences as a female in society combined with my passion for literature. The vast majority of my work mirrors feminist thought found in the literature I’ve read and analyzed for my English degree ranging anywhere from Charlotte Bronte to Kate Chopin. Romanticism, in particular, has directly influenced my work because of the emphasis of nature as a sublime element through natural phenomenon. The unruly landscape I choose to depict then mirrors the mysterious female figure.
Warholian: How do you personally relate to your work, how does it make you feel to paint?
Since the beginning of 2012, it’s been exceptionally difficult for me to put down a brush for any length of time. I’m literally painting in the studio every day, averaging anywhere from 40-60 hours in the studio a week. Painting isn’t something that particularly calms or refreshes me – it’s just what I do. I honestly feel guilty whenever I’m not painting.
Warholian: How have you developed into the artist you are today? What classes, influences, etc. have inspired and moved you into artistry?
I’ve been interested in art since I could physically hold a crayon. Since Kindergarten, I’ve always been that one person in class known as “the artist”. I started drawing Sailor Moon and Disney characters around the age of five, and I continued drawing anime and Disney-like characters until my junior year of high school when I moved from New Hampshire to Florida. At my high school in Florida, I was extremely fortunate to have an absolutely outstanding art teacher who engrained the principles and elements of design in my head. She had a lot of faith in me, and she would even put me in a separate room to keep other students from distracting me from my art.
In college, I was strictly an English major with a minor in Illustration until the end of my junior year. I was first introduced to oil painting at the beginning of my junior year (September 2011), and I absolutely hated it. I was terrible. After a couple months of struggling with oils, I began to catch on and somewhat understand the media. By the end of my junior year, I had grown to adore oils while simultaneously realizing my overall potential as an artist. At that time, I decided to double major in both English and Fine Arts. I didn’t major in Fine Arts from the beginning because of fear; however, I do not regret majoring in English at all. The novels and poetry I read for my English major directly inspired (and continues to inspire) my artwork. Without my degree in English, I seriously believe I would not be producing any of the work I’m making today.
Warholian: What new techniques or processes are you exploring currently?
In my paintings, I’m really focusing on playing with light, shadow, and reflected light. Light intensity can really set the mood of the piece and give it an entirely new meaning. I’m definitely starting to understand Caravaggio’s obsession with chiaroscuro!
I’ve also been working on a number of small graphite drawings and drypoint etchings. I’m still trying to get comfortable with printing the drypoint etchings. It’s a very traditional process where I have to spread and wipe the ink on the plate, and then I have to press the plate on a printing press. Printmaking requires a lot of precision. I’m gaining an exceptionally strong appreciation for printmakers and their work through this process.
Warholian: How did your popular “Alice” painting develop?
My Alice painting was originally made for the Fiction: 2nd Annual Portrait Invitational at Modern Eden Gallery. I had to paint a fictional character from a novel for the show, and after having just received my Bachelor’s in English (and a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts), I had quite the library of fictional characters to choose from! I decided on Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, because I felt she is the prime example of a character undergoing an entirely fictional experience while still being appreciated by audiences of all ages. I held a photoshoot with a close friend of mine who has modeled for me at least half a dozen times. After choosing an image from the easily 200+ photos from the shoot, I started sketching thumbnails. Originally, I had planned to portray Alice falling down the rabbit hole; however, once I had actually started oil painting, I realized the composition wasn’t working. I went through a few unsuccessful backgrounds until finally going with my gut which involved painting a giant mushroom. The painting’s composition really started to come together once I started creating balance with the falling cards and other small elements. It still stands as one of my strongest paintings compositionally. It’s also one of my personal favorites!
Warholian: What’s next for Brianna Angelakis?
In addition to a number of upcoming group shows, I’m currently in the middle of working on a series of paintings, drawings, and etchings for my first solo exhibition at Modern Eden Gallery in 2014. I’m keeping the theme under wraps for the time being, but I will say that I certainly haven’t escaped my love for literature combined with fantastical females with this series.
– written by Michael Cuffe for Warholian
To purchase Brianna’s most recent limited edition print “Alice in Wonderland” from Patron of the Arts visit: http://goo.gl/sM1iQF
For more on Brianna Angelakis, visit her official website here: http://www.briannaangelakis.com
To purchase originals of Brianna’s being offered from Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco visit: http://www.moderneden.com/collections/brianna-angelakis