Photographer inspired by Warhol to explore silk screening

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Reporter

Q and A with Brandon Snow

Brandon Snow is a photo-based artist in Austin displaying his work through oversized silk screen paintings on canvas. There are no machines, computers or assistance in the creation of his pieces, and he makes everything himself from frame to screen to canvas. His work can be found at Austin Art Garage.

Was it always your intention to become an artist? I know your background is actually in photography, so how did you combine the two forms of art?

I’ve been photographing for 10 years and that’s where it all started: film photography with a hand-me-down camera. I got bored by the photography process and I learned a little bit about Andy Warhol and decided that I was going to do silk screening.

Why silk screening?

I just saw that these artists were making their photographs into silk screens and I thought that there was no reason why I couldn’t do that so I did it. I bought a small kit for silk screening and did a lot of YouTube. I always had this goal to make my photographs as big as possible, so I saw silk screening as a cost-effective and fun option.

Where do you get your images from?

All of the photos I use are mine with the exception of a few historical photos from the national archives. Every now and then it’s fun to dig into history and raise a little bit of awareness and money. But besides that I take my own pictures and develop my own film from my bathroom.

Are silk screening and photography the only mediums you work with? What other mediums would you like to try?

I work with leather too, actually. That’s actually how I make most of my money. I sell leather goods like belts and backpacks.

So, why the red streaks?

I was always attracted to just black and white and it probably has to do with my classic brain for black and white photography, but I’m always trying to make my pieces stronger. So one time I just took a big fat paint brush and dipped it in red paint sitting in a big bucket and made one big stripe across the piece. The contrast looked really nice with the black, red and white and I was just stoked and I wasn’t bored of it at all. The red always helps the image, and I never try to take anything away from the message.

Do you have any pieces or a series you’re working on currently?

Yeah I just started a one image series yesterday called Solitude and Serenity. It’s about how being alone can be quite nice, and the image is taken underwater. Being underwater is one of the only places where no one could really communicate with you, and they simply have to wait for you to resurface, but at the same time you can only have that peace for barely 20 seconds. There’s going to be a lot of room for self-interpretation in the piece and the aspect of letting go.

Some wise words for aspiring artists?

Never compare yourself to other artists. You only get one out of maybe 200 opportunities, so expect rejection. Don’t feel entitled. Everyone deserves a chance, but you don’t deserve everything you ask for. Maybe it’s just not your time and it doesn’t mean anyone is better than you. Stay pure. Respect the medium.

Follow Jasmine on Twitter @_jaskim