Scott G Brooks lives and works in Washington, DC. His paintings are primarily figurative, and range from simple portraiture to intricate narratives. Often using humor, he depicts scenes using social, psychological, and political issues. Anatomical distortions separate the figures from the photographic ideal, which gives him the freedom to create his own distorted reality. His work is described as twisted and offbeat, sentimental, and disturbing.
How do you work in the narrative aspect of your work.
It all depends on the painting. As I create the context for the figures I am constantly re-evaluating what it is saying, or what it needs to get some sense of place or motivation. I grew up reading comic books and watching lots of cartoons, so I think I developed a way to communicate using imagery. The symbolism works both ways and I can sometimes use it to cloud my intentions, since I don’t want to give everything away. People see symbols very differently, and the range of interpretations fascinate me.
What do you think is the most important influence on your art?
There’s so many, but I’ve always loved Norman Rockwell, and glad he’s finally getting the respect he deserves. Further back was Caravaggio. Lately I’ve really loved the Pre-Raphaelites. I’m lucky to be friends with some amazing artists, Troy Brooks, Dave Cooper, and Erik Thor Sandberg just to name a few. Music is also an inspiration, singers and songwriters can pack so much in a song, and I try and do that in my work as well. Lastly, I love watching anything by Pixar or Dreamworks, and think it’s really pushing the way I work today.
How has your work evolved in the past few years. Yea, there has always been this “thing” in the arts community between illustration and fine arts, and I had a real hangup about that. My illustration work has always been “tighter” and my paintings a little looser, I think people are calling that “deskilling” these days. I’ve always been inspired by great illustration, both what’s been done in the past and what I’m seeing now. My illustration work is 100% digital now so the brush handling and detail I love is now incorporated into my fine arts.
How do you incorporate your life into your work?
My work is personal, and sharing it with the public isn’t necessarily my primary concern. I know it will most likely happen and I take that into consideration, but in the end it’s MY work. Some pieces are are more therapeutic than others, and I can end up working out issues in my own life on the canvas. I want to create work that’s honest as well. Some elements get obscured in the process, and I also use lots of symbols and metaphors.
I think of myself as a very private person, though in this day of social media that’s all relative. It’s a delicate balance trying to create work that’s honest to who I am, and then putting it out there, without making myself vulnerable. I have a partner and a family so I need to respect their privacy as well. Most aspects of my life are public if people want to look, and I’m ok with that. Most of my life was also pre-internet, so while I use it when I can, I do remember what life was like before Facebook.
Where did the offbeat and "twisted" nature of your work come from?
Growing up in a small town influenced that. Most of the art I saw was either religious, wildlife art, or comics, all of which I admire greatly, so when I started creating my own work I knew it had to be a little “different” to stand out. My family was mostly normal, other than an odd assortment of pets. It wasn’t very strict though, and I’ve always been drawn to the weirdness for some reason, monster movies, Mad magazine, The Addams Family. I’m mostly normal and lead a very boring life, it just comes out in my art.