10 QUESTIONS WITH BRENDAN MURPHY AHEAD OF HIS MADDOX GALLERY SHOW
This interview originally appeared in the Mayfair Musings.
Brendan Murphy was born in 1971 in Bloomington, Indiana. His artistic career began in New York City where he mentored under New York’s most iconic painters – Eric Fischl, David Salle, and Ross Bleckner. Their influence is evident in Murphy’s work, particularly his command of colour and experimentation with form. Continuing to experiment beyond the confines of the canvas, Murphy has since explored sculpture work, concept pieces, and a wide range of different materials and tools, all of which are a dynamic mix of abstract and figurative form. Murphy currently works from his home-based studios in Malibu, Ca and Miami, Fl. His work is represented in over 600 private collections and his newest work can be seen at all of the large Art Fairs around the world.
1.) Good afternoon Brendan, welcome to The Mayfair Musings! Can you tell us a little about your upcoming exhibition 'Rush of Blood to the Head' at Maddox Gallery in Mayfair?
‘Rush of Blood to the Head’ is my debut UK solo exhibition and consists of both sculpture and paintings create with a vast range of materials and tools. I like to think of it as an emotional expedition that ties together my greatest inspirations: formulas, relationships and emotions.
2.) Your work uses busy and contrasting symbols, figures and words to fill large surface areas. What drew you to using equations and formulas in this way?
The formulas came about because I was trying figure out my own emotions. The paintings are a reflection of how we think and feel. It was a way for me to grow up on the canvas and process what I was going through at the time, that’s how it started. From heartbreak to infatuation to embracing the unknown, I would write out these imaginary formulas understanding how I had got to what I was feeling at that particular moment in time. The formulas are now an integral part of my work. It’s a fun thing for me to try figure out because there aren’t any set formulas when it comes to life, no set answers. A+B doesn’t always = C. They don’t make any sense our emotions, they come and go. Life is liquid.
3.) Your paintings take me back to my days of calculus. You're clearly very right-brained. Regarding the left, would you consider yourself to be much of a mathematician?
Not particularly. The equations and formulas are drawn from my imagination. I’m a creative person but I did previously work as a trader on Wall Street, so numbers and stocks were a part of my life at one point. Perhaps this subconsciously has affected my artistic practice somewhat.
4.) Your Boonji Spaceman series is captivating. What inspired this?
Funnily enough, the Boonji Spaceman series is not about space which people find surprising. It’s about the step the spacemen are taking. The step into the unknown – that’s what the Boonji Spaceman series encapsulates for me. I’m a big believer in embracing our fears and pushing ourselves in order to progress. That’s how I’ve lived my life and will continue to do so, and the sculptures symbolise this.
5.) Looking back, are there any individuals from the art world or otherwise who have influenced your art work over the years?
My mentor, the artist Eric Fischl. He’s a friend of mine and I would hit tennis balls with him in exchange to go to his studio to see how he would work. He gave me a lot of advice. The artists David Salle and Ross Bleckner have also had a great influence on me and my work.
6.) You explore the spectrum of human emotion throughout your work. What interests you about human emotions?
The fluidity of human emotions. The randomness. The beauty of them. Many of us are terrified of our emotions but I think we should embrace them and understand them. That’s how we take the next step, mentally and physically with whatever we want to do in our lives.
7.) Are you likely to be listening to any music or podcasts whilst you work?
Music is a massive part of my creative practice. I listen to it all the time. I think the process of writing a song is very similar to creating a piece of art. I have an idea; I pull together the main components and then there’s a stretch in the middle where I think ‘oh man where is this going?’ Then at the end, when I kind of have it, I’m like woah if I pull this off it will take it to the next level. That’s where things go right or wrong. My way of thinking is: what “chords” do I need to add to this piece of art to make this like a David Bowie song compared to just a pop song? I’m trying to write Bowie songs not Britney Spears songs!
8.) You travel a fair bit! What are some of your favourite travel destinations and why?
My favourite travel destination is Hawaii. It’s my home away from home. Aloha runs through my blood. I like exploring Europe a lot. The different cultures and characters, communities and art scenes are incredible. I used to live in Munich for a few years when I was a professional athlete which was a great experience.
9.) When you're not busy creating artwork, where can you be found?
I am constantly in the studio! Day and night. I outwork everybody! It’s not just about the vision when it comes to art, you have to put in the hours.
10.) When can we see the new exhibition in Mayfair?
Rush of Blood to the Head will be shown at Maddox Gallery from 27th June - 20th July 2019.
Address: Maddox Gallery, 9 Maddox Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 2QE