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Trender: Mixed Media Artist Wendyll Brown

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Who are the Rhode Islanders leading in arts, fashion, food, and style? They're Trenders, and GoLocalProv offers glimpses of the people you most want to know on the scene. Today, mixed media artist Wendyll Brown. She's commissioned frequently by New York interior designers, and now is showing her work in her home state.

Homegrown factor: Went to RISD's Summer Program in downtown Providence "before the Renaissance." Lives in Providence and creates in Pawtucket.

Age: 53

1. Where did you get your start in your field?

I have been painting for many years but moving to RI from NYC 7 years ago gave me the opportunity to leave the commercial design business and devote myself full time to painting. 

2. How has living in Rhode Island played a role in your work?

Space and environment.  I have an  incredible studio space in an old mill that is full of other artists and entrepreneurs. The large bright space enables me to work on lots of paintings at the same time as well as store the materials I use in my mixed media pieces: old wood and metal from construction sites to washed up finds from RI beaches. Also, being able to scull on the Seekonk River many mornings before going to the studio. I arrive calm and inspired after rowing; it is one of the greatest gifts Providence has to offer.

3. It seems like a lot of wonderful fine artists are working here, but we seem not to realize this. What's going on?

There is really a lot going on in RI and there is  strong creative current, you just have to work a little harder to find it.  Ironically, the big mill spaces we love also hurt us as there is not a central art neighborhood that is a destination for both locals and tourists. Providence does not have the economic flow from residents and tourists that help sustain the arts and keep them in the public eye. 

4. What's next for you?

A friend is gutting a house from 1830. I am covered in toxic plaster dust from reclaiming the lath to make a series of paintings. The nails are all the square hand-made originals!

5. What's the biggest challenge about working in Rhode Island? The greatest reward?

Getting exposure outside of Rhode Island.  It’s a real marketing challenge and most of us would rather spend time in our studios with our art.  The greatest reward? Having a great studio space just minutes from my home. 

Above: "Birdtalk," 48" x 54", acrylic and fabric layered on canvas

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