ROAR got to know Gerard Brown aka Grizzle through his collaboration with another ROAR Network feature on artist and fashion designer Brodie Bannerman from One Undone clothing brand. Grizzle is an Australian artist based in Newcastle who is known for his unique street art and clothing range. His work is fresh, eye catching and slicker than your average. He has an amazing style that can be seen on the local streets, t shirts and has caught the eye of fashion label Mambo. He took the time to have a chat with us about what it takes to be a professional artist and start your own brand. Read about his creative life below. To shop some of his awesome pieces or for further information, contact details or contract work, check out Grizzle's website mrgrizzlebigcartel.com Cheers!
ROAR: You are an extremely talented and creative artist. When did your love of art begin?
Grizzle: ahh thanks, I don't know if it was a love for art at the time but I recall always having some sort of art material in front of me when I was young, paints, books, artworks etc. Art is a natural feeling for me, I've always appreciated site specific artworks too, whether it be sculpture to murals. My family are very artistic and have strong work ethics which has given me the mindset of working at something, either it be a sketch on paper when I was five, to playing with my old boys film camera, to painting a large wall tomorrow until I'm happily finished with it. I guess the real question would be when did I fall in love with my own art. After years of abandoning my art to follow a design career, which I'm still very passionate about, I woke one morning and looked through the years of sketches I'd produced, realising these needed to be out of this book and onto the street.
ROAR: We found out about your art through a collaboration you did with One Undone clothing who we also featured on the ROAR Network. What are some other awesome collaborations you have been a part of and how important do you think it is that artists get together to support each other and create new designs?
Grizzle: Collaboration to me is everything for exposure, I guess it's rare to do it for anything else. It's how you grow and form as an artist. I do love a good group show and I've been privileged to be apart of many over the last couple of years, if it be a framed artwork based show or large wall mural exhibitions like 'Hit the Bricks'. There are always little to large projects I will collab on but most recently I've teamed up with Mambo which has been a childhood dream of mine, let's say I'm a pretty damn happy kid right now.
ROAR: We love following your instagram pics and have noticed that you have been doing some huge wall pieces for street art. How do these opportunities come about and what would your advice be to up and coming street artists to gain legal opportunities to express themselves?
Grizzle: I guess it's been an easy transition for me to replicate the smallest of illustrations to the largest of walls, scaling has always been a 'large' part of my work. I guess I've got an iconic styling to my pieces too, I'd have to thank Hanna-Barbera cartoons for the endless hours of inspiration there. As for advice, It's critical though I'd say don't show your work until you've spent the hours refining your style. Find your space wherever it may be and go over it time and time again until you know you're onto something. You're always going to find influences and use them, learn from them, everyone in life does, just don't bite (copy). From there it's a matter of being able to reproduce your work and adapt. I'm a site specific driven artist. I will hunt for walls that suit my thoughts and create from there, sometimes I will sketch the whole space with a concept on it, talk to whoever I need to talk to and pitch my idea. I turn walls down from time to time as I feel nothing for them, though I may know someone who has a style that would work well with the environment.
ROAR: You also have a BigCartel site with some original t shirts and it is evident that you have been successful in getting your name out there with other brands as well. Was it difficult setting up your own business and starting to sell products? What are some tips you can give to young entrepreneurs or people desiring a change and wanting to follow their dreams and passions.
Grizzle: *laughs. Yeah it's ahh, been interesting but not difficult in a sense of being able to source materials, knowledge and getting the right people involved to do the right jobs. Collaboration is key! I've been In the marketing, design world well before I reached this point, meeting the right people and with my experience to build, write up a business plan which includes my art and follow it. I'm fortunate that I can lay down my art on my own apparel as there are a lot who need to outsource. I've just introduced a new line 'SAP' secret artist program, which I have hand picked artist from around the world to collaborate with. These are artists that haven't the means to produce or show their works and I want to help promote their talent. The biggest tip I can give is hibernate, dedicate time to any project you work on, most of my t-shirts designs have more than forty hours vested into them, refined from sketch to sketch before I even think about putting it onto silk. It's the hours behind any project people don't see, but it means so much more when you release it.
ROAR: What are some events or creations you are most excited about for 2014?
Grizzle: There are a few projects close to me I'll be working on over the year and some overseas trips planned, to paint and new adventures for my brand which will be fun and to coincide with hopefully some more group and solo exhibitions, But to be honest, I really don't know what's going to happen, as long as I get to paint and have fun like I am now that is all I ask.