Creation Story: Martin Bromirski 

Painter, narrative artist

On his muse: Bromirski illustrates his ideas about the internal quest with a metaphorical and literal muse. “It’s a collaboration,” he says of the complex, respectful relationship with a young Japanese woman. “She’s doing something by my doing this, and she’s getting out through this work.” As an outsider examining Japanese sociocultural conditions, he considers the perspective a benefit. “You stand out completely as the center of attention, and yet you’re anonymous. It’s a very good position to be in as an artist. You can ask a lot of questions and make a lot of mistakes and not be judged for it.”

Geographic influences on his work: “I’m from the Western art tradition, the Hudson River School and Grandma Moses. She and I are from the same hometown. She was the first artist I was exposed to. But I miss Japan, where the sounds and the colors and the lights are bright.” He was influenced by ancient and modern Japanese painting traditions. His landscapes show a young woman in various states of hikkikomori, with primitive naiveté, brilliant colors and layered materials. Each piece contains a charm point, which he describes as “an unexpected, intimate moment you can find in the painting.”

How his use of glitter is regarded: Bromirski uses thread, cut paper, sand, acrylic paint, photographs and glitter in his work. “Grandma Moses used glitter in her snowscapes because that’s what snow looks like. It’s just innate, sincere. I have no problem with complete sincerity, sentimentality. A lot of people in the fine-art world think it’s a joke or postmodern or kitsch. But in Japan, there is no concept of kitsch. High and low art coexist without conflict.”

How he deals with rejection of his work: Bromirski has saved all 139 of his rejection letters from galleries, museums, publishers, schools and funding sources. He installed them in a show, “The Looming Wall of Rejection,” alongside a “Thumbs Up Mandala,” images of affirmation from other artists. “Those who believe in you keep you going. I took photographs of other people standing between me and that wall of rejection letters.” — Deveron Timberlake


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