Artist Bramm Lindentree creates what he feels and sees through both paintings and music. Bramm’s latest exhibition, EMERGENT, can be viewed at the Armidale Gallery from March 23rd. Inspired by his surroundings at Black Mountain, soul and folk music, nature and his personal journey through life, Bramm’s art is layered and tactile …
Hi Bramm. What brought you to Black Mountain from the “big smoke” (Sydney)?
My sister and brother-in-law own El Prado Alpaca Farm in Black Mountain. Once you stay at the BnB there, you are hooked. The trees, the sunsets, the stars at night, the quiet and so many beautiful animals … It stays with you.
So, when they invited me in early 2018 to come live there and paint in the converted cool room, it was the chance of a lifetime. Up to then, I had made a makeshift studio in the corner of my bedroom in Sydney. It was time to have a real home (a little kit home) with a garden – a place for my dog Ollie to live out his final years.
I was restricted in Sydney, working as teacher just to pay bills and finance my other creative work. I needed some room to breathe and the clarity of vision that country living brings. It also gave me the chance to work with animals (we also breed ducks) and help out on the farm, particularly during the drought.
I am originally from this area. In fact; I was born not too far from here, in the small town of Emmaville.
How do you feel living a rural lifestyle has changed you both as a person, and as an artist?
It is so easy to get caught up in “city energy”. Living here has been the greatest teacher one could have – nature always is. When you are working to survive, there is often little room for creative thought. Here, I mirror what I see. I am not so concerned about time. Because I’m more relaxed and happy (being so close to my sister and the natural world) I’m able to explore, experiment and expand as a person and an artist to discover my own style.
Describe your new studio space …
My studio space is the old cool room. It is filled with an eclectic mix of objects that I love – mostly stuff from the ‘50s and favourite CDs. From where I sit, I can see animals grazing up on the hills.
I am by no means a neat artist. More often than not, I use my hands and an array of objects to paint with, so it’s a chance to be as creative as I want. The only thing I’m fastidious about is cleaning my brushes after I’m finished. My two dogs are often sleeping on the mat in the corner.
You’re also a musician. What/who would you say are your biggest musical influences, and where did the artistic journey begin for you?
I have always been a creative person. My friends are amused by my need to constantly change things around in the house. I am lucky to have been born with a keen eye for colour and design.
My journey as a visual and performance artist really began in the early ‘90s in Sydney. Most of my work took place in bare galleries. I wrote, designed and performed in many shows during this period, transforming each space into whatever was needed. Of course, this was done on “the smell of an oily rag”.
I have also written, designed, produced and performed 10 original songs and video clips. When you’re an independent artist and have a very limited budget, you have no choice but to do everything. In one of my songs, RAVENS EYE, I used 20 metres of recycled black plastic to create an Alice in Wonderland type tunnel.
I listen to many forms of music, from folk to soul, but I really love the pure lyricism of George Michael. In fact, I’m learning one of his songs right now.
You’re presenting an exhibition called EMERGENT at the Armidale Gallery from March 23rd. What inspired this body of work?
I call my latest exhibition EMERGENT, because that’s what I feel I am doing – emerging as a visual artist, finding the forms to express myself and the joy of discovering more of what I can do.
I suppose my work can best be described as Abstract Expressionism. I create layers, and then I strip away what is not needed.
I actively encourage everyone to touch the work and look for their own way through it.
You’re known for finding and re-using items in your work – your previous exhibition, RAINBOW RECYCLE, made use of plastic shopping bags. What items have you sourced/re-used (if any) in EMERGENT?
In my last exhibition, RAINBOW RECYCLE, I used all recycled products, including plastic shopping bags.
In this one, I have sourced some of the paint leftover from other projects and canvas from second hand shops. Why spend large amounts of money on something, when it’s right there in front of you for under $5!
Will we have the opportunity to meet you at the opening of EMERGENT?
I really look forward to meeting and chatting with lots of folk at the opening, which happens at 6pm on Saturday 23rd March at Armidale Art Gallery.
There will be also be lots of other work on show by other artists, so we look forward to sharing the time with you. The exhibition runs from 23rd March to 23rd April.
Where can we hear more of your music?
If you want to hear some Bramm music, just go to https://www.youtube.com/user/BrentPurdyArts
Interview: Jo Robinson.