Fanny Brodar is a brilliant contemporary artist who studied illustration and has a BFA from The Art Institute of Boston.
Her background as an illustrator shows in her work.
She is influenced by the playful works of Japanese art, as well as the works of artists like Rose Wylie.
She was born in 1971 in Oslo, Norway, grew up in New York, and currently lives and works in Maine.
She’s been in a few shows, and her work is held in private collections in the US and abroad.
My art is influenced by the playful curiosity of childhood and the simplistic yet expressive characters of artists like Philip Guston.
I love improvisational theatre, and the way I paint is similar, spontaneously from a thought rather than pre-sketching; this allows the viewer to see hints of my process through exposed pencil marks, paint drips, and deliberate unpainted areas.
I recently rediscovered art after a long hiatus and doing many other things career-wise.
Starting again at a later stage in life, I feel like I have no time to waste, and I paint almost daily; but truthfully, I paint because I love it.
Although I have been drawing my entire life and have formal education as an illustrator, painting is a new experience for me that was sparked by being gifted an easel 3 years ago.
Inspiration for my paintings comes mostly comes from childhood memories, my imagination, and things that are important to me.
Currently I’m working on a series of works that feature Martian-like characters posed in different yoga positions and painted in bright, bold colors.
I fill the backgrounds with things like planetary objects, rainbows, flowers, and words that come to mind in the mid-stage of my painting.
The Martian evolved from my imaginary friend from childhood (a character who looks very much like The Great Gazoo from the Flintstones).
That character helped me through many difficult times as a child.
I’m a beekeeper, and often include flowers and little monsters in my work.
Yoga and meditation are my daily practice.
Weaving all of these things together, my paintings become like this euphoric tapestry — an otherworldly, and magical place that I dream to be in.
In my own little world, I take care of nature in a very Buddhist-like way; I especially love the tiniest creatures, and consider it bad luck to kill bugs.
Another thing that happened in the last year that had a great influence on my work is the pandemic.
At that point, I was looking for an escape.
It was winter/early spring here in Maine, which means it was still dark and cold.
I really delved into painting big, bright, and fantastical works.
I started getting much more loose and childlike, in many ways reverting back to being a child drawing in my room, approaching the canvas as if it were a big coloring book.
I often start my paintings by working flat on the floor, layering paint, and then drawing and doodling directly on the canvas before I put it upright on stretcher bars or the wall.
Thinking about my childhood bedroom, it was a place filled with imagination and fantasy, just like my current studio — it’s like I can go wherever I want when I’m in there.
Also during the pandemic, Instagram became very important to me.
I’m not a fan of social media in general, however my IG page is a digital sanctuary.
I love the ability to so easily look at others’ art, and to connect with galleries and collectors.
There’s this little group of us that have been following one another since the beginning, and it’s like being in a club, one that’s supportive and encouraging.
When things shut down, we were still active, creating everyday, liking one another’s work, and sometimes privately chatting.
Seeing how others evolve is really inspiring, too.
“‘You’re a woman, so why do you paint so big?’ ‘You’re old, you shouldn’t be painting like that.’ It was distinctly irritating. So yes, I certainly noticed it. How could you not? And I’ve painted dainty plastic ballerinas on cakes, because, why not? But the thing is I don’t think there’s any hierarchy in subject matter. I think you can paint anything and it’s the way to paint it, that’s the important thing, not your age, not your subject matter, not your nationality, and not your gender.” — Rose Wylie
Instagram: Fanny Brodar
A huge thank you to Fanny for sharing her story and her wonderful art with us!