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Sponsored / The Converse Lovejoy Art Benefit

“Flow, motion, geometry, proportion”: the illusory paintings of Brendan Monroe

Words:

Lucy Bourton

Photography:

Molly Matalon

The Converse Lovejoy Art Benefit commissioned 49 original artworks that are on auction now via Paddle8 to raise funds for Artists For Humanity. It’s Nice That has teamed up with Converse to introduce some of the amazing artists contributing to the benefit, and to take a look behind the scenes of the great work that they do. In the first article It’s Nice That catches up with Brendan Monroe.

Artist Brendan Monroe has shifted his medium of work numerous times throughout his career. His job title is dependent on the project, varying from a painter and sculptor to a storyteller or comic book illustrator. One consistent element of his works is a monochrome colour palette that uses such bold shape it brings its own unique colour to the works.

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Venture inside Brendan’s Los Angeles-based studio and you’ll find that the artist’s varied methods of working are visible through his many tools. For his more painterly works, the artist experiments by putting pen to paper, filling sketchbooks with diagrams before magnifying them with ink and thin paintbrushes, adding his particular delicacy. 

A recent body of work by Brendan culminated in "Mammatus", an exhibition at Curators Cube, Tokyo earlier this year, and displayed a mix of repetitive paintings and creature-like ceramics. Brendan’s piece for Converse’s Lovejoy Art Benefit continues from this body of work, a two-dimensional illustrative organism. Brendan’s brief from Converse was happily "really simple,” he tells It’s Nice That. “They basically let me do almost anything I wanted. It just had to fit the space and in the elevator they needed to bring it into the building.”

“I really like the way Converse support the arts, as a company and an art department,” he elaborates. “They think of ways to support and be affiliated with the artist, by letting them have free reign to do what they do best.”

So Brendan did what he does best and produced an acrylic and latex painting titled "Roll", which was inspired by “the idea of moving fluid passing by,” he explains. “It’s an idea that’s been brewing through a lot of the work I’ve been doing.” The openness of Converse’s instructions allowed the artist to revisit his latest preoccupation.

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Describing the piece as “a black and white abstract flow of fluid”, the pattern drawn by Brendan is reminiscent of optical illusions that play upon illusory motion. Although the painting is obviously still, on first glance it appears to have a rippling effect, fulfilling Brendan’s aim to communicate “flow, motion, geometry, proportion and waves,” he says. “It was a nice surprise in the end. It was a little bit of an experiment that I had sketched out with this specific pattern texture.” Within Brendan’s painting you can see the artist’s thought process concerning space and structure which allows the final result to elegantly form. 

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Brendan’s work has frequently been inspired by scientific methods. For "Roll", Brendan’s influences weren’t artists but “scientists who examine surfaces of materials,” he explains. “Those older grayscale images of scanning electron microscopes and also lots of other artwork that describes dimensional shape with minimal graphic, like in comics.” The minor details, shapes or formulas that often only artists or scientists are looking for, is a notion Brendan visually explores in his piece. 

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All 49 original artworks created for the Lovejoy Art Benefit have been showcased at the Converse World Headquarters in Boston for the past year. Now they’re available to buy via online auction house Paddle8. All profits raised from the auction will be donated to Artists for Humanity, a Boston-based not-for-profit company whose mission is “to bridge economic, racial, and social divisions by providing under-resourced urban youth with the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in art and design.”

Visit the auction page here to see the full selection of artworks being auctioned for Artists for Humanity

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