Brent Berry - Artist Info.
My family's roots in the Denver area go back to the 1880's. My first memories of drawing anything was around the age of 3-4 when we lived in an old haunted house in Trinidad Colorado. I remember watching my mom drawing things in pencil and ink and later in life made some amazing dolls. She was pretty good at it and it encouraged me. We moved back to Denver when I was 8 and as I grew up here I was exposed to a lot of different kinds of antiques. My parents worked hard to make ends meet and in their spare time they bought, restored and sold all kinds of old things, glass, furniture, old guns, swords, arrowheads, coins, art and more. I learned to appreciate antiques at a young age and at the same time learned a few things about restoration. Being around these things influenced my way of living and my art. My mom worked at Kohlberg's antiques store in Denver in the 1960's and 70's. Whenever I visited there, I was exposed to all kinds of interesting and rare things like Samurai armor, old weapons, Gold and Silver works, jewelry, fine glass, Native American artifacts and ancient curiosities from all over the world. It was like a museum and all these things fed my interest in the past, art through the ages and history. Around the age of 14, I started collecting antiques and old military souvenirs and did so for many years. I've used many old things in daily life including old cars, furniture, appliances, radios, wind up record players and lots of old music. I was literally living in the past!
I was employed as a metal diecaster and a sheet metal fabricator in the 70's and 80's where I learned some interesting things about metal that would later be useful in making metal art. I became more serious about my art in late 1980's after losing my metal fabrication job due to a work injury. It was around that time that I started doing more watercolors and began experimenting with Repoussé (hand embossed metal). I eventually got my work into several local art galleries. I was creating and learning and it felt good. I knew that I had found my purpose in life and I made new things almost every day until 1996 when I got sick.
During that time of my life I had lost all my inspiration and will to do art. All I could think about was the way I felt and trying to stay alive. I did no artwork at all except for a few pencil drawings now and then. I just didn't feel inspired and I couldn't get motivated. I was constantly stressed which was bad for my recovery. Doing art would be a helpful therapy and I desperately needed it but I just couldn't get started. After about six years I was beginning to think I would never do artwork again.
Then in late 2003 I discovered the music of Björk from Iceland. Its impossible to describe the way her music effected me but It was so different and inspiring, so new, unique and interesting that it demanded my attention. So soothing and pleasing to listen to. It was too creative and interesting to be ignored. This powerful new music penetrated my dark state of mind. It reached my soul and purged the negative thoughts from me and replaced them with something that was not only more powerful but positive as well. I was distracted from the darkness long enough to think about other things, positive things! Bjork's music was refreshing and overwhelming in such a good way. Inspiring! It made me want to start making things again and it wasn't long before I was drawing, wetting brushes and hammering on metal for the first time in years. Music is a powerful force and it can even heal the soul.
Now I'm doing art again and feeling so much better. My work has always been influenced by the past but now I have new influences and inspiration. I'm beginning to view many things differently. I've grown from all this and I have new kind of passion! I don't want pity, in fact I'm a very lucky man but I've been knocked down and broken for and while, so maybe now I'm ready to be remade. I am starting out all over and my mind is going in different directions, I have a lot of new ideas I want to work on but don't have time to do most of them so I have been doing more digital art, manipulations etc. I used to not think of it as art but I've changed my mind. Computers and paint brushes can't create art on their own but in the hands of humans they can make amazing things.
2009, I no longer have any desire to collect anything at all. I'm selling all of it. I've sold my old cars and used the cash to buy solar panels. I've been transitioning the last few years and now it's time to close that chapter of my life. It's time to experiment, explore and express more. I feel like I'm just coming out of hibernation. I'll just have to see where my instinct is going to take me! Life is too short and every day is a gift.
2012, I'm still experimenting!!! :)