“Some of my happiest childhood memories are of coloring and making art: the pleasure of a new watercolor set, cutting and pasting construction paper, and the wonderful smell of wax crayon .. The joy of making things continues to motivate me.” – Domenica Brockman
Domenica Brockman speaks for The Interview Series, May 9, 2020
– How did you become an artist?
Some of my happiest childhood memories are of coloring and making art: the pleasure of a new watercolor set, cutting and pasting construction paper, and the wonderful smell of wax crayons. Those pleasures have stayed with me, perhaps becoming more sophisticated as I got older… I studied painting and photography at Cornell. Now, I paint with encaustic, which is basically grown up melted wax crayons, and cut and paste collages. The joy of making things continues to motivate me.
-Was there a particular piece / body of work / experience that inspired you?
The work of art that moved me the most profoundly is Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Before seeing that painting in person, I didn’t understand his work. I had been introduced to Van Gogh through poor quality reproductions in books and postcards. It looked rough to my eye, crude even. In person his work was a revelation. The energy of sincerity, love, and passion are all present in that piece, but you really have to see it in person. The paint vibrates with energy. Since then, I have considered Vincent to be my patron saint of art. I keep his books close by, and often read from his letters for inspiration.
More recently I’ve been inspired by the work of Hilma Af Klint, a turn of the century artist and spiritualist who is only now gaining recognition for being a forerunner of abstract art. She is one of the many fantastic female artists whose work is coming out of the shadows of history to well deserved acclaim.
-What images or things do you keep in your studio that influence your work?
I keep a photograph of my Grandfather, a poster by Hilma Af Kint, art books by Van Gogh, Matisse, Charles Burchfield, and Richard Deibenkorn.
– What positive outcome do you hope will occur due to the pandemic experience?
The pandemic is having the effect of forcing me to stay in the present like never before. Looking ahead, trying to plan the future is impossible. The events of the past few weeks were so extreme, so shocking, who could predict what might come next? Staying in the present shows me that minute by minute things are actually fine. I have made a lot of new paintings in this down time, and while it’s not always easy, I’m finding it’s a time of a lot of personal growth.
Domenica Brockman / About
Domenica Brockman is an abstract painter whose work explores geometry, color, and surface. Her preferred medium is encaustic paint (pigmented wax and resin) on wood panels, often working with the shape of the square, using it alone and in grids, and utilizing a restricted palette and varied textures. In her grid paintings, the panels are painted and then broken apart and reassembled to create compositions that feel as if they have come about by chance, but are in fact the product of many hours of deliberation.
Much of Domenica’s work is influenced by her passion for hand woven textiles from around the world, particularly Kuba grass cloth weavings from the Congo, mud cloth from Mali, and Phulkari embroidered tapestries from India. The breaks in pattern that come about by happenstance in the making of a handmade repetitive design, the places where there is evidence of a human hand, not a machine, is what inspires her the most, and evidence of a human hand is in her work as well.
Domenica has a BFA from Cornell University, and a Post Baccalaureate degree from the School of Visual Arts. She resides in Trumansburg, NY.
View Domenica’s CV here.