We had the good fortune of connecting with Bryant Small and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bryant, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
Is there a way to truly know? I’m not certain. That seems to be something to determine in the moment, based on the scenario. In life, there are some things that you “give up” on. However, there are moments of surrender. There are moments in creating, when something isn’t working…you want to give up on a painting and start over. Or scrap an idea completely. Change directions. It happens at some point to each of us, I believe. However, in some of those same moments, you can choose to keep going and work through an idea; continue to push through a painting that “isn’t working” and stumble into something that is inventive and awe-inspiring. In all honesty, I rarely give up in my creative process- I’m driven by experimentation and exploration. Because alcohol ink isn’t overtly predictable, I’m working my way through my paintings and rarely does the thought of giving up come into play. I’m pushing through and continuing the process until it feels right. It’s a give and take. If there’s anything being given up – it’s control. I’m surrendering to the art and allowing the color and energy to move through me to create.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m an Alcohol Ink Painter, based right outside of New York City in Jersey City, NJ. I’m driven by Color. Bold, electric color and movement, expressive gestures in my work and the call for the viewer to come closer to the work to better understand what they’re seeing, make up my formula of doing what I do. I want each collector to have their own unique experience with the painting that belongs solely to them. That is part of the mysticism and interest in my work very often. Alcohol Inks are highly pigmented, fast drying dyes that are activated to move, bloom and blend when they interact with 91% rubbing alcohol – so every single piece is a unique experience because the medium overall doesn’t truly allow for me to recreate a piece exactly in the same way. In my creating, I’m always experimenting and exploring the happy mistakes and colorful victories in my creative process. I’m asked frequently why I paint in Alcohol Ink and the answer is the vibrancy and luminosity of alcohol ink. I LOVE working with a medium that allows for FULL bodied color but the ease of blending and fluidity of movement. That’s what makes each painting a small treasure within itself. Those specific nuances and details are what make my work and my brand BFLY777 stand out. I understand that it’s important for my paintings to stand out and create a moment and connection with a collector that doesn’t allow them to walk away. There isn’t another painting in the world that exists like this particular piece. No reproduction of the work exists. This painting is unique unto itself and has connected to something within that buyer that may be intangibly emotional, allows them to escape on a whimsical journey or dive into something more visceral and primal. All of this comes from a place of JOY for me. I only paint from a space of happiness and joy. I create when the music and energy is coming that makes me want to dance, smile…laugh. I use that feeling to bring forth the best intentions for the work and the outcome. If I don’t feel my best, I do not paint. Painting is all about GOOD for me. So, I don’t muddy the space with sadness or negativity at all. I want people to connect to the absolute best energy that they can from the work and know that they are welcoming the very best parts of me and my work into their spaces.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
You know, there are so many places that I could show people around the city. However, the two places that I would take someone to see my favorite places- would be my home and my studio. My home, you’d get to see the most important part of my life that most would never get the opportunity to see – time in MY SPACE at my most relaxed state of being. The second being my studio. My studio at Mana Contemporary, makes me feel Powerful and Prepared – Confident and Assured – knowing that I am exactly where I need to be Today.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My story starts with my Parents! So, the shoutouts start with them! Their humor and ability to move through the world, loving people in the way that they do is a force that drives me. They enjoy a good party and family gathering or a good exchange via Facetime or Zoom. My mother’s creative energy as a painter is also a key inspiration in why I work so hard to be the artist that I’ve become. And overall – MY CIRCLE supports me in a way that is unbelievable. They know exactly who they are!