Interview Series | Brent Houzenga

This week’s Interview Series is featuring artist, Brent Houzenga. WORD! I have even modeled for Houzenga and one of his pieces hangs in my kitchen. His subject matter is really interesting, as well as his process. Here is part of his artist’s statement from his website:

Six years ago, artist Brent Houzenga’s life was altered dramatically when he stumbled across a pair of antique photo albums from the 1890’s in the discarded trash of others. Since that discovery Houzenga has amassed an extensive body of work, attempting to bring these lost souls back to life through abstract painting and stencil work using vibrant colors and his own unique action painting techniques. Often displaying his subjects on re-purposed window frames suggests the antiquity of the subjects in his paintings as well as the rural and rustic background of this self-described ‘Prairie Pirate’. Working on the reverse side of the glass, painting backwards and tirelessly scraping away existing layers of paint to create new marks, Houzenga pays homage to those he renders. Many subjects remain unscathed peaking out of chaotic abstraction while others are altered entirely.

1. Give us a little background on where you grew up.

BH: I was born in Clinton, ia a river town and grew up close by living partly in Thomson (a town of 500) and then later in Fulton il.  My father is a farmer And my mom is a nurse.

2. How would you describe your art?

BH: Loaded question.  There is the obvious – what materials I use – my subjects etc but for me it is a meditation on discovery and creating history through layers.  Non verbal communication with the universe.  (perhaps I’m delusional)

3. What inspires you?

BH: You never know when it’s going to strike! Of course I love seeing art and listening to music.  The biggest thing is seeing other people do what they love, whatever that may be.

4. What is the weirdest thing that has happened to you at a gallery opening?

BH: Um-I guess in 2009 there was a lady who claimed to be a mystic and kept telling me how moved she was and how grateful the people I paint are.  Like she had some sort of connection with the dead.  Not all that weird to me really but that stands out the most.

5. How many cities have you had your artwork in?

BH: Too many to count.  You can check my exhibitions page on my site.

6. What’s your favorite artistic city and why?

BH: Man-you’re making me pick!? I’ve been all over and every city everywhere has great things to offer.  I’ve been living in new orleans for the last six months and it has been great!  Of course I’ll always have love for des moines

7. When you go to the grocery store, what do you buy?

BH: Haha – I have been eating out soo much since living here.  Usually just the essentials-bread,eggs,cheese,soda,beer,gatorade

8. What haven’t you painted on that you would like to? Anything? I’ve been to your warehouse.. there wasn’t anything unpainted.

BH: I really want to do some large scale outdoor murals. An airplane would be sweet too.

9. What’s your favorite thing to do to get in the mood for painting? Listen to music (if so, what kind)? Meditate?

BH: I am kind of OCD and a workaholic.  Whenever I have free time I try to paint.  Crank the music up-hit the 420 button and letter rip.

10. What is your spirit animal?

BH: Red tailed hawk

11. Most embarrassing story:

BH: hmm-I’m too embarrassed to tell you

12. Where can we buy your art?



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