About the Artist
The youngest of six children, Brown dreamed of becoming an artist from childhood and studied art at Syracuse University and Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. He describes his early years as “hard and turbulent, but after becoming a Christian at age 21, he says he “found peace I hadn’t known before.”
After a few years in California, then back east, Brown moved to Texas in 1980 where he had family. “Right away the vast spaces, the wonderful sky, the sunsets, the arid masculine land with its openness, made me happy. Everywhere you look in the east you see too much man made stuff and the canopy of trees blocks your view.” Brown is inspired by the southwestern landscapes and skies. “The wide open spaces reveal the heavens, and I love the intense, dry sunlight and the contrast in the shadows it creates.”
Brown combines his fine art work with his business as a painting contractor in Abilene. He has exhibited in both solo and group exhibits and won several awards for his work. His paintings appear in many private and museum collections.
I was born the last of six kids. My two older sisters are both accomplished artists. I was always encouraged when I was young.
For me, art is the only way I can express certain things. It’s how I express my love of God, my love of landscape, my love of composition and my love of color. I love strong color, strong feelings, and dark darks next to bright lights. My work is not quiet or subtle for that is not what I want to express out of my heart.
My early influences were the pop artists. I loved their fun, gigantic paintings and sculptures. Claes Oldenburg and Robert Rauschenberg were two of my favorites. Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Van Gogh inspire me always.
My life has been frustrating because of the Post Modem period we live in. Art that has marked the last 30 years has been the opposite of what I create. What gets promoted and has been in style is gloomy, cynical, and without hope. Modern art is dark, complicated, and conveys the message that life is meaningless and cruel. There is no purpose. There is no reason. You are a bizarre accident. It says, “Make absurd art without skill, without any beauty.” That’s difficult for the common people to understand.
Since I do not subscribe to the existential view of life and since I have stopped using drugs, I find life a beautiful gift. I paint for myself and friends here in Abilene.
I believe in creativity and I love jazz; I love the west and I love Abilene. I’m excited, happy, and I want to express that with skills and panache.
On one hand, we communicate with our art, on the other, we paint for ourselves. I wish to do both. It is not always easy.
— Anthony Brown