I met Brandy Kraft at Mana Contemporary where she is a resident artist with the Eileen Kaminsky Family Foundation (ESKFF). Her excellent technique has led her to be among the selected artist by the MET for their copyist program. Beyond her obvious talent, what grabbed my eye was her unique approach in her recent “Identity” series. We had a nice chat around her message and what these paintings did evoke for me. I am happy to share her work which is both beautiful and meaningful. Thanks Brandy!
Where do you live and what is your background?
Im originally from south Florida but I moved to Chicago to go to art school, then bounced around the US as well as the south of France and Stockholm for a bit. Currently, I live in Brooklyn with my husband and two (fantastic) kids.
What was your artistic path leading you to become a realist painter?
While I was in art school in Chicago, I attended an art fair and it was there where I stumbled upon artist, Robert Standish. I was so astounded by his work, it was my first encounter with photo realism. I immediately contacted him and went to sit at his feet. I moved to LA and was his assistant for a few months; I’d say that was the spark.
Who are your main influencers?
Even though Robert Standish isn’t doing photo realism any more I’d still consider him an influence, also Chuck Close, Yigal Ozeri, and among old masters I’d say Rachel Ruysch who was the most amazing woman. She was an uber famous (expensive) still life flower painter in her day and mother of ten(!!), she’s my hero.
Below artwork by Rachel Ruysch (left) and Robert Standish (right)
What do you want to achieve with your art?
I’d like to be at a place where I can express my views and art to large audiences. I’d love to land a major New York dealer and exhibit internationally on a regular basis.
I discovered your recent work at Mana Contemporary. Can you present your Identity series?
Right now my “Identity” series is based on the concept of change. The hybrid, mash-up flowers represent the individual characteristics within all of us. Humans grow and change over time and that diversity is really what I’m trying to capture with these flowers.
Kraft pinned different flower petals together in order to create new breeds of hybrid flowers. They represent the many individual characteristics of an ever-changing, ever-growing, ever-learning human being. Works are oil on panel 18″ x 24″
What do you like most in your work?
I love painting (of course) but what’s really fun with this series is actually piecing the flowers together petal by petal. I find the process beautiful, tactile, curious and challenging all at the same time and the result is always a wonderful surprise.
You’re part of the copyist program of the MET. What did you learn through that experience?
Yes, I’ve been a part of Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Copyist Program for the last few months. It’s coming to a close now and I’m a bit sad. I’ve met so many lovely people through my time there and have really been able to push myself as a painter. I was copying one of Henri Fantin-Latour’s flower paintings and have a new respect for impressionism. It’s hard!!
What is the question you’re asked the most? How long did that take you?
What is the question you’d like to be asked? Where did your inspiration come from for this?
What are your projects for the coming months / year?
I’m entering the Rijks Museum design competition with a couple of pieces, so I’m currently busy with those. I have a few group shows lining up for the spring as well. Other than that I am on the hunt for a new studio so that I can expand upon on my hybrid flower/ identity concept.
To contact and follow Brandy