We love helping bring attention to the tremendous variety of talent among our SSP families here in Brooklyn. One such talent is a SSP mother, Tegan Brozyna, who was recently highlighted in the Gowanus Open Studios event this past month. Her artwork incorporates a combination of textiles, painting and sculptural elements; collectively creating a very calming effect. It’s no surprise as her family has been working with textiles for generations, traced all the way back to her great grandmother!
SSP: Let’s start by sharing with our readers a little bit about your artwork, which is truly unique in regards to the combination of mediums and materials used. Can you tell us about these materials and your process?
Drawing from both my background in traditional landscape painting and my interest in weaving, my current body of work focuses on my relationship to my environment, specifically my neighborhood in Brooklyn. As part of this exploration, I collect artifacts in the form of objects, shapes and color palettes. Using this source material as inspiration, I then create woven paper collages that are suspended in loom-like structures.
Each piece relates directly to a specific location. The color palette is inspired by found objects, and the paper forms take their shape from rubbings of cracks and other physical markings in that same environment. Borrowing from the language of weaving, clusters of paper are then layered and suspended in space by the tension of threads.
SSP: Can you share a little about your background and upbringing and how these experiences inspired and affected your art?
My parents always encouraged my siblings and me to be creative and to pursue our artistic interests. From a young age my artistic training was traditional with an emphasis on drawing and painting from life, but a few years ago my practice started to feel stale. I wanted to move away from representational work toward abstraction, but didn’t know how to break into it.
I started to experiment with textiles, specifically sewing, weaving and embroidery. It felt like a natural fit because my mother’s family has a long tradition in textiles starting with my great grandmother who worked as a seamstress in England and going down to my mother who sews and crafts. Although I still consider myself a painter, incorporating textiles has reinvigorated my art.
SSP: How has being a mom changed your approach to your work? How do you balance being a mother and an artist?
At times it can be a challenge to balance being a parent with being an artist. More than anything, time often feels limited so I feel very lucky to have a supportive partner who can watch our daughter while I’m in the studio. When she was little, I often brought my daughter to the studio with me and made smaller work that was easier to complete in 1-2 sittings. Things got a little more challenging when she started crawling and then walking so I have to say that I wasn’t as productive as I’d like to be. I baby-proofed my studio to make sure that my daughter had some freedom to play and explore while I worked. It’s a little easier to focus and get work done now that our daughter is in school twice a week.
SSP: If your artwork said something, what would it tell us? Is there a deeper meaning behind the textiles, the color and the overall presentation?
For me, my work is meditative and calming; it helps me to make sense of my world, and to feel at home in both my surroundings and my own skin. My hope is that my audience also gets this feeling of peace and harmony, which I think is especially important right now.
SSP: Do you have one particular piece which you’ve created that has more significance to you, and why?
A few years ago I created a piece that was inspired by a quilt that my great grandmother made during the Depression that repurposed old clothes. It made me feel closer to her, and it also tied into my interest in sustainability and the environment.
SSP: I understand you’ve not only been fortunate enough to show your art in the US but also on global scale, including Italy and Iceland. Most recently you were a part of the Gowanus Open Studios this past month. Where can we see your work next and what does the future hold?
I’m currently in a four-person show called “A Fluid Tapestry” at Ground Floor Gallery on 5th Street here in Park Slope (just off of 5th Ave). The exhibition is up until November 13, and we’ll have an artist talk that night from 6:30-8pm.
We’re also expecting our second child in February so I plan on using the next few months in the studio to really dig into my practice and experiment with a new series of work.
To read more about Tegan Brozyna, please visit: www.teganmbrozyna.com