Bryn is a painter living and working in New York.  

I’m curious about women aesthetically and how it feels to be a woman and how it looks. Do these things correlate or not?

CONTACT

www.brynmcconnell.com
instagram: @brynmc


 

Josette asked Bryn a few questions

Floating (In A Tree), 2012

How did you get started?

I went to Western Washington University right after high school and wasn’t sure whether I would major in Psychology or Fine Art. I took my first painting class and had unending patience for it, while practically failing the Psychology course, so it was a pretty clear decision. I spent all my time in the Art Department so I transferred after 2-3 years to an art school - Pratt Institute in New York. Then I got an MFA from School of Visual Arts.

What inspires you?

Fashion. Jungian Psychology. The unconscious. Movies. Other painting-a lot of modernists-Matisse, Bonnard, German Expressionism…but really all painting! Music! Exploring how I think, feel, respond to the world is a continual source of inspiration.

Are there recurring themes in your work?

Identity. I’m curious about women aesthetically and how it feels to be a woman and how it looks. Do these things correlate or not? Is the exterior an authentic version of the interior? How, as a spiritual being, to be a physical body in the world… and what does this look like?

How has your work evolved since you started?

My interest in identity and façade and how we appear in the world has always been present - even as a child I would draw women in fashionable (80s!) clothing. My source material and mediums have changed – oil, gouache, watercolor, mixed-media installations and now acrylic paint. I work in series, which evolve as I evolve. It all comes out of personal lived learning. What am I bumping up against in my life and how does that motivate my art making? Where does it lead me? I just follow my excitement.

Gateway, 2013

Which work of yours is a good introduction?

Probably the most recent work. But I work in series so they can be seen in groups.

How do you stay motivated?

Painting is where I feel the most comfortable - the rest of life is hard (a fish out of water)! So I just have to get back! It’s a necessity.

Tell us something you wish you had known early on.

Well, when I was 19 I wanted somebody to give me a guidebook on “How to Live”… But it turns out we all have to write our own.  That’s the fun and the challenge. The freedom to do that is beautiful and scary!

Do you always have a clear “plan” when you start a painting?

No! A clear plan makes the worst paintings. I try to stay open to my heart and not my head. My head always wants to run the show so I try to keep the thinking at bay until the end. Paint, then think…or rather see what is revealed. See what’s exciting and surprising because that’s the good stuff and way smarter than my brain.

Have your priorities changed since you started?

It’s a continual challenge for me to respect my creative process. My Ego wants to stay constantly productive on a 9-5 schedule but I have to learn and relearn that unproductive time is just as valuable (if not more!) than productive time. And that going with the flow is beneficial to the work, not a hindrance. When I started I was all about painting nonstop-which I needed to do at that time, but now I need a balance of art-making and well-filling.

I would just invite people to look with heart, not head at the work.

Who/what would you travel to see?

Anyone/anything! Give me an excuse. I love to travel. I lived in Europe for 6 years between my BFA and MFA, and I would love to again spend time in Europe.

 present, 2015

present, 2015

What scares you?

My ferocity. My monkey mind. Also tight-rope walking. Big powerful waves… Lots of things actually - painting scares me! But in a good way.

What would you like to learn like to learn?

French. I’d also like to relearn printmaking and sculpture. And to dance better-Ballet or any type of dancing.

How do you deal with judgment and criticism?

I wait until the dust settles then I see if something sticks or keeps popping up in my mind and revisit that when I feel strong. My first painting teacher gave pretty heavy critiques and I cried a lot my first years. So I think that helped me build a thicker skin too.