Welcome to the first piece in our new Spotlight Series where we interview artists and fashion influencers on their thoughts, dreams and inspiring work!
Today, we’re here (well, virtually) with Brianna Lance, a New-York-based fashion designer, painter, part-time all-women band member, modern hippie and overall a very cool woman.
If you’ve been following Brianna’s work in recent years, then you probably know that hers is a life filled with color, movement, rich textures and free-flowing creativity.
Read on to learn what inspired her to become an artist, how she uses art to express her true self, and what advice she has for anyone who wants to introduce art into their life.
What inspired you to first pick up a paintbrush?
I can’t remember why I started painting. It was like all kids, you give them some crayons and they use them. I guess I just never stopped. I am very lucky in the way it’s always helped me express myself. I can be very emotionally guarded so it is an outlet for me to say what I want and be free.
What inspired you to turn from a hobbyist to an artist?
I have been drawing or making things for as long as I can remember. It’s a bi-product of my existence.
When COVID hit, however, all that time staying inside and reflecting gave me a shake up on the level of happiness in my life. I had been moving on a career path without ever really thinking about whether or not it gave me joy.
I had a therapist ask me, “when are you the happiest?”. And my answer was when I was painting. I decided to take it more seriously and really commit to making it into a path.
It was really scary to be 38 years old and decide to change my life in a big way, but I am so grateful I did. I still cry tears of joy when people collect my work or reach out to me about what it means to them; nothing has ever gratified me in the same way.
Do you create art on a daily basis? How does that affect your mood?
Yes, I create work almost every day. I have a very addictive personality so I try to channel my obsessions into positive things.
That being said, I recently had to learn how to balance a little more. I can sit down to paint and not do anything else for the entire day. It is very compulsive, so I try to be aware of when I am getting too focused and take a day or two to be inspired by the world.
Which state of mind best describes your work: Meditative, relaxed, focused?
I am very very focused when I make art. My work is based on meditation but I don’t meditate while creating. Meditation helps me access my subconscious easily. I can paint for hours on end, so it's not very meditative if you’re doing it for so many hours straight. It is more like journaling after you meditate.
In what way did your art change over time?
I am such a new artist. In the serious sense, my art career is only two years old, so too new to answer that. I am just starting out, so I am as curious as anyone else to see how it will develop. I know that as I work on myself and develop, my art develops with me.
We love how you combine art, fashion and interior design. Do you see art as inseparable from other aspects of life?
I think creating is creating. The difference is in the way you work, not in the desire to create. Painting is really solitary while fashion I found to be very collaborative, as well as involving a larger volume.
The thing behind all of it, however, is to bring people something that makes them feel. I want to heighten people’s experience of life through aesthetics.
How does art help you express who you are or what you are feeling?
I am not a very outwardly emotional person, but internally I am the most emotional person.
Language to me can feel small or too conformist to really get a feeling across. It is so connected to learned behaviors and societal norms, which leaves it lacking in true expression. I use text sometimes in my work, but it doesn’t stand alone for me as a way to shift your state of being.
Making work helps me say what I want to say, maybe because I am more of a visual person. For me, it is a very holistic way to get across an emotion in its entirety.
How do you chill?
I am really really working on chilling. I am not great at it. I turn every relaxing hobby into work eventually, but I am seeking balance. I normally have to go to the ocean to fully relax.
What is freedom to you?
Freedom to me is everything. Health and freedom are the two most important pillars for quality of life.
I feel free when I can choose to do what fulfills me in the moment, rather than think about what people expect of me. My goal in life is to feel truly free, let go of all of people’s expectations of me and live the life I want.
What advice would you give non-artists who want to introduce art into their lives?
We live with art every day. It is impossible to escape. All you have to do is open your eyes to it. If you find something inspiring, then that is all that matters. Hang a leaf you find outside on your wall – if that’s art to you then that’s all that matters.
I also love fine art being applied to everyday items. I think having every access point for people to be able to connect to artwork is great.
What’s your favorite Freedom Moses slides?
I like the Amazonia in the deep green - they remind me of the forest.
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