This past weekend, the Comic Con FanXperience took over more than just the Salt Palace, it ruled downtown for a weekend. --- There's more to be said for it coming in my recap this week, but the influence that the convention had on the community was intense, so much so that it made it's way into other events like Gallery Stroll, where a number of exhibitions were geek-centric.
This month, we visit Mod A Go Go on South Temple, which had three exhibitions going on at the same time. On the second floor was a video-game-centric showcase with more than a dozen local artists showing off pieces dedicated to gaming. Today we interview one of those artists, Brittani Nay, who does scorched wood artwork and who also had work on display in Artist Alley at FanX, about her works and being a part of that show, which you can see photos from in this gallery here.
Gavin: Hey Brittani! First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Brittani: Well, I'm a 28 year old girl. I live in a condo with my boyfriend, Mike, and our dog, Charlie. I work from home with my wood-burned art, or pyrography. Most of my days are spend binging on Netflix and burning awesome geeky things into wood. Or I'm playing with my dog. I'm sort of obsessed with that guy.
Gavin: What first got you interested in art and what were some early influences on you?
Brittani: I honestly can’t remember a time when I wasn’t super into art. Even as a kid I would save all the paper I could so I could just fill it up with drawings. The notes I would pass in class would be about 80% art 10% song lyrics 10% actual letter. My earliest influences were just cartoons I would watch or comics I would read. One major influence was one of my art teachers I had at West Jordan High School, Mrs. Hess.
Gavin: Did you go to college or any art school to learn more or were you mainly self-taught?
Brittani: No, I was mostly self-taught other than the art classes I took in high school.
Gavin: What drew your interest toward wood burning and how did you get into doing it?
Brittani: Well, the first thing I made was a Christmas gift for my Mom. I really got into doing it so I decided to try something horror. I started with doing the creepy hollowed eyes lady from Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark. With how much fun that was I decided to do all of the Universal monsters and so on.
Gavin: What was it like for you learning how to do it and how to do various treatments?
Brittani: Every project I learn a new way to improve my work. At the moment I am still using the same basic wood burner I bought in a kit, and I only use the angled tip for every piece.
Gavin: What made you decide to go more for geek and pop-culture artwork?
Brittani: I just wanted to make stuff that I enjoy as well. It is purely selfish for the most part. I truly love what I do. I feel like one lucky gal.
Gavin: What's the process like for you when creating a new piece, from concept to final product?
Brittani: It all starts with lots of research on the subject matter. Then there’s a sketch, then a burn, stain and I gloss every piece.
Gavin: Considering what you do tends to be permanent after you do it, how much leeway do you have in your creation as you make them?
Brittani: Not much. Small mistakes can be sanded away to a point, however I usually find it's best to incorporate any little mistakes into the piece. Most of the time I find I'm happier with the finished result that way. But it's been very difficult, and I have scrapped a few projects to get where I am today. I am very proud of the work I am bringing to FanX as well as the piece this month at Mod A Go Go.
Gavin: Aside from the wall art and the awesome belt buckles, what other items can people get your work on, and are you planning to expand into new areas?
Brittani: At the moment, I am giving some big projects some serious research. They will be much larger and some guitars. I have lots of exciting things in the works. I haven’t done any belt buckles though.
Gavin: Tell us about the artwork on display for this Stroll and at FanX.
Brittani: This month at Mod A-Go-Go, I will have Mario in his Tanooki suit. And for the FanX, I will have 50 pieces total and they are some of my very best pieces to date. From Leatherface to Spiderman, Joker to The Silence. I am really excited for everyone to see my new works.
Gavin: How has it been working with Mod A-Go-Go and being displayed in this group exhibition?
Brittani: Working with Mod A-Go-Go has been the absolute best. I couldn’t have found a more positive, supportive group of people. They are so warm and genuine and they are always giving such great feedback on my work. They truly care about supporting local artists and are great friends.
Gavin: What are your thoughts on our art scene, both good and bad?
Brittani: I am sort of still a new fish in this Salt Lake City art scene. I am trying to branch out and try new places. I think we have lots of great festivals and I look forward to trying to get in there and do some new ones.
Gavin: Who are some local artists you like checking out or recommend people should look for?
Brittani: The first ones that comes to mind that are my favorite would be Kat Martin, James Rezler, Heather Ackley, Buddy Eyre, Bill Galvin, Dave Styer, Steve Stones and Matt Page. I am sorry if I got carried away, there are just so many people I have really been getting into.
Gavin: What's your take on Gallery Stroll and the work they're doing to promote local art?
Brittani: I love Gallery Stroll! I always get to see a bunch of new people and chat and geek out.
Gavin: What can we expect from you and the gallery going into next year?
Brittani: I am wanting to make much larger-scale pieces in the future. I have a lot of ideas though.
Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?
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