The Ebb and Flow of Creativity: An Interview with Artist Gabe Brown

Gabe Brown

Where are you on your creative journey? Do you have the right pieces in place yet or are you still trying to figure things out? If you feel like this last year or so has taken you through the wringer, you are not alone! Many of us are just now starting to get our bearings back after a year of isolation and adjustment. Here to help us navigate through the ebb and flow of creativity and the wild journey we find ourselves on is my guest and the talented artist, Gabe Brown. 

Gabe was raised in New York City. She received her BFA degree from The Cooper Union and was awarded a Full Fellowship to attend the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She went on to receive her MFA in Painting from the University of California, Davis. Her work is included in both public and private collections. She is an Adjunct Professor in Painting and Drawing at Fordham University and SUNY New Paltz where she has received three Merit Awards for Professional Achievement. Gabe lives and works in the Hudson Valley.

I can’t wait for you to get to know Gabe’s fascinating perspective - also make sure to check out images of Gabe’s artwork located at the end of this post. 

Perseverance through uncertainty 

Let’s face it, the last year with COVID has been challenging to say the least. While some of us have been able to leverage this time as an opportunity to try something new, there are those who have been stuck either creatively, emotionally, or otherwise. Part of understanding and adapting to your own unique ebb and flow of creativity is giving yourself space and understanding. 

If you had a friend who was having a hard time with the isolation and abrupt change that COVID has wrought, how would you treat them? Most people would be kind and empathetic - why wouldn’t you give yourself that same treatment? I found Gabe’s experience of persevering through the uncertainty of COVID inspiring but I found her compassion for those who are struggling - even more so. Remember, we are all in this together - I’ve got your back and I’m trusting that you’ve got mine! 

Absorbing and applying

Everyone's a little different and we need to find our own method and pattern for our creativity. Gabe was kind enough to open up about her own season of absorbing and applying. For Gabe, absorbing is a time of observation - reading, taking walks, going to museums or galleries, Googling different artists. Then comes the moment of application - some way those observations start to make their way through to the surface of the creative process. Her end goal is to take all the information that she just absorbed and then somehow apply it to her studio practice to help perfect her craft. 

What are you waiting for? Seriously? I know that the fear of failure can be intense - trust me, I’ve been there. But honestly, what do you have to lose? Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from exploring the possibilities that are right in front of you. I know that the journey is not an easy one, Gabe knows that too but what we want you to know is that it is worth it. I hope you found Gabe’s story an inspiring and encouraging one. If you want even more community and encouragement, I’d love for you to go deeper with the Savvy Painter community. Check out all the great ways to jump in - you won’t regret it! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:15] How Gabe got started as an artist. 
  • [6:30] The ebb and flow of creativity. 
  • [9:30] Gabe talks about her work and what she has been up to over the last year. 
  • [16:00] Are you afraid of success? 
  • [19:45] Absorbing and applying. 
  • [28:00] Intimate compression. 
  • [36:40] How do you know when it is finished? 
  • [47:00] Artists that Gabe would love to own art from. 
  • [51:15] Why Gabe likes to work on the floor. 
  • [54:00] Tips for new artists. 
  • [57:30] Closing thoughts. 

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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  • I loved listening to this episode. The way Gabe spoke about how she compressed her work for herself was so interesting that I had to take the time and look her up on your page. So much of what she said resonated with me. Being introduced to so many fantastic artists by listening to your podcast is such a gift, thank you Antrese.

  • Wonderful to hear about Gabe’s process, ideas, and journey. Really enjoyed this episode. Been an admirer of her work for years. Thanks.

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