Brian J. Sullivan

Artist Statement: 
"The Great American Icon" I see myself as a story teller, a silent witness to the world around me. For me, it has always been about the image, not necessarily what I have seen, but what I have perceived beyond the facade. I am interested in exploring popular American cultural stereotypes, icons, images, slogans, advertisements, and the exploitation of the general public by the mass media. Over time, these iconic images take on a meaning all their own. In each of my paintings I try to make use of these associated meanings as well as take them out of context and combined them with many other disparate images as a way to create new meanings. I distort the perspective, play with the figure/ground relationship, create multiple layers, and use super saturated and vibrant colors, all in an effort to not only cause the viewer to reflect on what these icons in the past meant to them, but also what they may mean to them now. I like to create narrative works of art which provokes the viewer to question their beliefs and give them an opportunity to draw their own conclusions/interpretations of my paintings based on their experiences. My goal as an artist is to create visceral works of art which in some way resonates within each viewer. I believe that art fills a basic human need. It gives our lives color, fulfillment, purpose, meaning, and excitement. Art stirs the imagination, mind, and soul. It affects our moods, desires, and our personalities. It liberates us and differentiates us from the animals that do not create but rather just exist.
Bio / Description: 

I received my undergraduate degree in Metalsmithing and in Ceramics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1981). In 1984, I was awarded a scholarship to further my studies at the Appalachian Center for Crafts (an artist apprenticeship school) in Tennessee. I worked side by side with masters in glass, woodworking, ceramic, fibers and metalsmithing. A year later I moved to Chicago and began helping sculptor Barry Tinsley fabricate his large scale pieces. In addition, I also worked at Vectors, an architectural fabrication shop. In 1986 I was offered a full scholarship to attend the University of Illinois-Champaign to pursue my Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture. In 1987 I was selected to participate in a three month residency program at the Michael Karolyi Memorial Foundation in Vence, France (an international artist colony). I met many wonderful artists, including my all time favorite sculptor: Arman. In 1988, I was chosen to attend the Warsaw Academy of Fine Art in Poland for a one month residency program. I met clandestinely with several underground Polish artists and learned the art of political propaganda posters (at the time Poland was still a communist country). In 1991, I was fortunate to be able to do independant research in cooperation with Samford University in London, England.

I have been back to France several times and have made many trips to the Caribbean to document indigenous flora and fauna. Most recently I have been focusing my attention on the Far East with trips to Malaysia and China. I exhibited at the Bund Museum in Shanghai this past year. During the summer, I helped restore the "Sun Singer" (a large bronze sculpture in Allerton Park, Illinois).

For over 30 years I have been exhibiting my work professionally.
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1514 Grandview Drive #9, Champaign, IL 61820