“We take life too seriously… live playfully and pursue your true passions… you’ll be happier for it”
So goes the refrain across the splash page of popist Brent Estabrook’s website. In any other hands, the ellipsis-split mantra would be sheer hyperbole. For Estabrook, it amounts to nothing less than words to live by.
See it wasn’t too very long ago that Estabrook was slated to don the white smock of the dentist, but upon graduating from the University of Louisville, before tearing into a single set of teeth, the freshly-minted Doctor of Dental Surgery flipped the script and reverted to being a creator, which was what his University of Arizona BA in Fine Arts hinted at all along.
The results are an astonishing amalgam of wile and wistfulness, craftsmanship and charm, from the extraordinarily realized renderings of the faces that mark our currency (“Minting Money”), through the structures that encase our brains (“Frivolous Pursuits”), to the things that gave flight to our childhood days and nights (“Perpetual Recess”).
No matter which subject Estabrook addresses, the fact that he took the proverbial leap and landed in a happy place is evident in every work. We just wonder where we’re gonna get the guts to be so happy our own selves.
To get some of the secret to said splendid success, Arte Fuse asked Estabrook to play a quick game of Either/Or. That the popist did so in advance of the forthcoming Miami Art Week, where his latest creations will be seen via Mugello Contemporary at CONTEXT Art Miami, only made each Either all the more Or so!
Whim or Fancy?
Fancy… My desires and goals are set, I believe where I am going and do not intend to take any apathetic detours.
Show or Tell?
Show… I am taking this quite literally. As the famous saying goes, “pictures are worth a thousand words” and thus my art is used to tell my story. My paintings communicate messages and express thoughts that I could not convey in words.
Font or Fount?
Font and Fount… I find inspiration and knowledge in both written biographies and interactions from people I admire and respect. Reading books and open-minded conversations have helped me unlock a more insightful, passionate mindset. These teachings are utilized in the form of artistic thoughts and actions that, I hope, transcend beyond just the visual aesthetics of my art.
Want or Need?
Want… The “wants” in my life are positive emotions and excitement. Art fulfills these feelings within myself and my ambition is that these feelings are shared by others.
Give or Take?
Give and Take… One of the main reasons I create art is to give emotions, thoughts, and feelings that, otherwise, I would not be able to share. Moreover, the creation of my art is deeply rooted in taking inspiration of techniques, ideas and experiences from others I admire.
This or That?
“This” if you’re pursuing what you truly love in life and “That” if not… I believe living for “this” moment is very important to a fulfilling life. However, if you have not realized, or began to strive towards your dreams then “that” should be pursued.
Many or Much?
Hmmm… Many!… No, MUCH!… I’ll just say both.
Few or Far Between?
Few… I equate the “Few” as individuals who have ventured outside the norms of society and have chosen their own paths to happiness; something I admire greatly.
Chutes or Ladders?
Chutes and Ladders… I love that game!
First Impression or Second Chance?
Second chances… Failures and blunders make us unique and interesting. As you become closer with friends, family, loved ones, and even art, you learn that downfalls in the past have often become important stepping-stones to success and growth.
High Noon or After Midnight?
High Noon and After Midnight… I love the energy of mid-day and the calmness of late night; both aid greatly in my creative process.
Coal Mining Canary or Storm Prefacing Calm?
Storm prefacing calm… Chaos and uncertainty are just elements of this exciting journey. As quoted by Seneca, “It is a rough road that leads to heights of greatness.”
A Place at the Table or A Face in the Crowd?
A place at the table… I want to surround myself with people who extract every bit of energy out of life. I am not interested in following the mundane standards and hope that my art can help motivate people to elevate and pursue their true passions in life.
Brent Estabrook’s Solo Exhibition can be seen in the Mugello Contemporary Booth December 1-6 at CONTEXT Art Miami
Interview by John Hood