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San Diego Art-i-facts

Bret Barrett and Bd Dombrowsky continued… Upcoming Exhibition

By Katherine Sweetman

Last weekend I happened across artists Bret Barrett and bd Dombrowsky working in their studios on a Saturday night, preparing for an upcoming show. I ask them if they would tell me a bit about their work, the building they work in, and Daily Consumption, a show this coming Saturday that occurs just underneath their studio spaces– in the basement — at Zepf Alternative Space.

–1150 7th Ave– San Diego, CA — 92101–

An Interview with Artist Bd Dombrowsky (B.D.), interviewer K.S.

Bd Dombrowsky is an extraordinary creator of objects (paintings, sculptural pieces, etc) whose work, I would say, falls into the category of pop surrealism (but only if I’m pressed to put it into a category). His at times humorous, at times dark, and always smart works are each beautifully unique.

K.S. You work alongside Bret Barret, Sean Brennan, and Andrew Estrada in this crazy building, that doesn’t seem to have a name. What do you call this place, and who are your peers that work here?

B. D. There is no name to the building that I know of. We have called it the art colony in the past, but that is kinda lame. I just call it Sanctuary, like Quasimodo fleeing into the church “Shanxtchuerry”. There are several other artists in the community; Dan Allen, Bret Barrett, Sean Brannan, Andrew Estrada, Claudia Mackey, a couple tailors, a boutique, a bike shop, and a poet in basement.

K.S. How long have you been painting?

B. D. I have been painting for about ten years now, 7 of those here in my sanctuary. I enjoy the community here. It is good to be around talented artists, it gives me access to what I most need; honest opinions and art supplies. I mostly hang out with Dan, Bret, and Sean, we have a lot of late night, nicotine, caffein, fueled painting sessions. It can put a weird spin on the world.

K.S. One of the pieces I saw in your studio, that I find most unique is the one… about the “ele-corn”? Can you tell me about that work?

B. D. The Elecorn is a piece that was inspired by Carl Demaio. For those of us who don’t know he is a gay, republican, flirting with a run for the mayors office, here in San Diego. I thought “hmmm gay republican, you see that about as many of those as unicorns.” That idea and a funny little elephant sculpture by my mentor Willy Whitten brought about the Elecorn. I can’t send a picture until it is finished. I am painting on it after this today, so I may have a workable pic to add by Thursday or Friday.

K.S. Some of your work is overtly funny, some uses dark humor, and some are seemingly more serious, for instance, the (yet unfinished) self portrait of yourself on fire. Can you tell me a little about the state of mind that comes with devoting many, many hours of your life to these different kinds of paintings? It seems to me it would be more “fun” to paint something less serious, is that true?

B.D. You never can tell which will be the fun painting. They resonate in different ways. Some are pleasing, fun images, that due to some circumstance, become tedious or difficult. Some are enjoyable, because you get an idea and the whole experience is effortless and smooth and turns out exactly as you imagined. Some are enjoyable because you feel like you learn something about your self or the process of painting. “Out of the Ashes” was a cheeky idea that turned very personal. It became a painting about ridding myself of the socialization and inculturation of my upbringing, to allow the genesis of my life as an artist. As to “state of mind” I would have to say it is pretty much the same for every painting. A mix of zen and mania.

K.S. I want to ask you about the piece that I can only describe as “Hitler’s Vagina”, tell why you made this memorable piece?

B.D. That piece is called “Mein Kunst” I got a canvas from Sean Brannan. It was for a charity event for Synergy (www.synergyart.com) The title of the show is “Blank to Beauty” Nov. 17 6-930, at Mosaic Wine Bar. So I decided I would do this hot looking angel, I spent the afternoon looking at birds and babes. Meanwhile, Brannan is cutting up an old encyclopedia for a collage, on the back of one of his scraps is an oval cropped picture of Hitler, I looked up and there he is in this womblike oval, I thought ” he was somebodies baby” I mean duh! That is a given, but we are presented Hitler as a fully formed arch type of all that is evil. I never really thought of him suckling a breast, and the idea of him as a helpless infant was compelling to me. This explanation did not go over well with my mother, who refused my offer of a picture to help clarify. She didn’t want porn on her computer.

K.S. Tell me a little bit about the show coming up on Sat. What are you exhibiting?

B.D. Saturday will be Zepf Alternative Space’s second show. The theme Daily consumption was Andrew Estrada’s idea. Andrew is the founder and host of Zepf, in his large studio/gallery in the basement of this building. The first show revolved around the artists here with the addition of Janelle Carter, and Jason Gould. The second show has brought in artists from around San Diego to interpret their idea of daily consumption. There is a lot of fun work. My contribution is a portrait of Chairman Mao, and some, repurposed, plastic artifacts he helped bring to our shores.

 

See Bd Dombrowsky’s work and Upcoming Exhibition at Zepf Zepf Alt, 11/12/2011

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