Interview With Bryan Rasmussen

Bryan Rasmussen is our first sculptor to be showcasing work in our gallery. His minimalist work made of painted steel immediately caught our eye and we're happy to learn more about his inspirations and thought processes.

Could you give us a brief introduction to who you are and what kind of work you make?
I am an artist living in Chattanooga, TN. My work is primarily sculpture, I prefer to work with steel but will use other materials at times. If you’re looking for labels you could tag it with minimalist abstract expressionism.

Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your works?
The initial inspiration for my current body of work are things such as seed pods that have burst open whose geometry is apparent allowing one to see how the sections would fit back together. Also, stones that I have found with hairline fractures that come apart and can be pressed back together so tightly that the fracture disappears and the halves do not immediately separate again. Now, however, each sculpture inspires and informs the next one. Elements of each sculpture are expanded on or eliminated from piece to piece. For me, work inspires work.

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
As a steel sculptor there are three tools that I can’t live grinder(s), my welder and my drill press.

What types of obstacles have you run into in your artistic practice and how do you go about navigating around them?
Time management would be an obstacle that I feel is pretty universal to artists. Deciding how much time to spend in the studio, to visit galleries, to devote to promoting ones work and oneself via social media and website maintenance, to writing proposals for public projects and sending portfolios out to galleries, to managing a day job and even family life. I feel I am better in some areas than in others. I feel it is important to have a regiment, a layout to my day and then my week and month so that everything gets worked in. Fortunately we live in an age when many of these these obstacles can be taken care of on a computer a few hours a week, the others are things that need to be ranked in importance. I think that an artist who can take charge of these things whether on their own or through delegation is on the road to success.

What do you feel are the recurring themes in your visual work?
A recurring theme of my work is that of something being revealed. I start with a line, then make a slice in that line. As the line comes apart a new form is revealed sometimes a new color is also revealed. Contrast is another theme. The outside of the sculptures are painted with a flat finish while the insides, or the sliced area is often a highly glossy finish and a complimenting color to emphasize the contrast. The use of a matte paint also softens the look of the steel, it takes away the shine and glare of the metal and allows shadows to form and wrap themselves around the sculpture so that it changes with the light.

Is there a particular artist you feel you relate to? Who are your role models (artists or non-artists)?
Since I graduated from art school I have been fortunate to have found work as a studio assistant to some well known artists, Gordon Chandler and later John Henry. Through this I have had the opportunity to meet several of the artists that I look up to. I feel that we all relate to each other and that we speak a common language wether our work is similar or not. They have made me feel like family. Role models that I’ve had include my mother and grandparents. Artists that have mentored me in some capacity are Kevin Shunn, Gordon Chandler, John Henry, Isaac Duncan III and Henry Lautz.

What is the best piece of artistic advice you’ve been given?

See more of Bryan's work here