August Featured Artist Spotlight + Interview | Brittney Bender

We are pleased to spotlight Brittney Bender our August Featured Artist

540Gallery will showcase Brittney’s art exhibit Disparity 

Saturday August 10th | 11-2 PM

About Brittney Bender

As an artist, I have felt compelled to restrict myself and maintain a safe distance from seeing myself as such. I felt at times that my art may be considered well done, but never considered a true result of talent. I have come to love each part of my identity, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still struggle with any of it. Being an artist and a feminist comes with the belief that I must always be carrying a responsibility on my shoulders to be the ultimate activist or the best artist, sometimes sacrificing one for the other. This collection isn’t simply my own struggles or only pieces I consider my best, but it is both. My life will never be simple. No life is ever simple and we each carry pieces of our identity with us. Sometimes we see others with struggles much different than our own and don’t know how to react or what to do.

When did you start your career as an artist?

BB: I’d consider my beginning as an artist starting when I was very little. I was home schooled for most of my schooling up until middle school. A large part of that schooling involved my mom and she put a lot of creative outlets in front of me and eventually I used her camera to take photos and fell in and out of love with it. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago, that I fell deeply in love with photography again taking classes at Fisher that involved digital art and art photography. 

Where did you get the inspiration for your work?

BB: A lot of my inspiration comes from whatever I’m feeling at the moment in my life, what is driving my mind or soul, or even a song that strikes a cord with me that I can’t shake. 

For you how does art relate to wellness?

BB: My art relates so much to wellness. It isn’t simply something I use for my own well-being, but it’s also something that fuels my passion in life. If I maintain passion for something outside of myself, I consider it a great relief and sign of health for my wellness as well as for those around me. 

How do you stay healthy as a creative?

BB: A large part of maintaining my own health comes from checking in with myself often. I always need to know when I must take a break or accept that I may not be feeling creative for a moment and must step back. If I am in my best state of mind, so is my art. 

What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of your career?

BB: The most challenging aspect of my career can be often stepping outside of my comfort zone and my anxiety. This zone can keep me from meeting people and making connections that further my career in many ways. 

When you aren’t painting/drawing/photographing what are you doing?

BB: I love so many things. I often find myself going back to my art, exploring the realms of social media, listening to my favorite podcasts, watching YouTube, or exploring my favorite films or shows again. Outside of this I still am working towards my degree in media & communication. 

What is it that inspires you to keep going as professional artist?

BB: When I feel such utter joy in my heart seeing a favorite piece of mine, I’ve made, that typically inspires me to keep going. Also, the love and support I receive from my partner is so strong that it greatly helps me. 

What are you working on now?

BB: Working on whatever piece I’m next inspired to create, or sometimes doing photos for people or photo sets for people through my business. 

What’s has been your best experience so far as an artist?

BB: My best experience so far as an artist would have to be taking photos of my best friend doing drag performances. It’s often those photos I love the most in terms of raw human emotion and dedication I can’t find matched most other places in my work. 

What has been your biggest challenge as an artist? 

BB: Finances can be difficult; you want maybe a new lens or better brushes but that can take time or a generous relative on your birthday for that. 

Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?

BB: Sometimes people I love do come through for me and help my art so that I can expand further and with better materials. In other times, I look in unconventional areas for such things or resources, such as garage sales or even estate sales for brushes once loved that need a new home.

What advice do you have for others interested in pursuing as career in art?

Make sure you love what you’re doing. Your art should be a part of who you are, or at least should be a good part of your life. Don’t be afraid to take risks with your art or none at all! It’s yours and nobody else can take that from you.

Published by Calvin Eaton

(he/his/him) Calvin Eaton is a disabled community educator, content creator, and social entrepreneur, whose area of expertise includes antiracism, equity, justice, instructional design, and program development. In 2016 Mr. Eaton founded 540WMain, Inc. a non-profit online and community-based organization for accessible education and events that promote justice for all.

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