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Born in Germany, Brian De Graft (BD Graft) is a mixed media artist who lives in Amsterdam and brings colorful, conceptual and unique interplays between painting, drawing, and collage on paper or canvas, often sampling other artist’s work and fusing it with his own suggestive additions. One of his projects – “Is it mine if I add some yellow?” – contains questions surrounding art and ownership, regarding the flexible nature of art and how it’s perceived; Graft raises the question that once a piece is edited slightly, can it be considered a work of his own.
Graft maintained an interest in drawing throughout his childhood but disconnected with it during adolescence, where skateboarding and music took precedence in his mind. “It wasn’t until I was studying English literature at University that a friend, Geoff J Kim, introduced me to making collages. That quickly became an obsession.” Following his inspiration for the new art medium, BD discovered many 20th century artists, such as Matisse, De Kooning, Frankenthaler, and Avery. This drove him to experiment with collage and images, developing his unique eye as an artist.
“I began by making collages; sampling images and colors from books and making my own compositions. That eventually led to my own style, which now relies a lot less heavily on found imagery.”
Being at peace with the artistic process not always being fruitful, Brian De Graft gives time to all of the musings in his creative space, allowing ideas to develop and bloom as they are supposed to. Using paper, paint, oil pastels, charcoal, scissors and glue, Graft is passionate about working with his hands and committing to an organic artistic process. The uniquely fresh and suggestive content of Graft’s work carries the mark of raw human molding, where hands have worked thoughtfully and passionately, and from which technology is happily absent, providing a keenly mindful and unfiltered insight into Graft’s experience as a creator.
Although the artist claims that his work “generally isn’t that deep”, Graft acknowledges that he likes to “convey positive emotions”. Without being intentionally soul searching or statement-orientated, his works do endeavor to breed happiness and light in its simplest and purest form, which is a powerfully honest and humble approach to creating in a world that requires more light, space, authenticity, and positivity.