Having spent the past 8 years living out of a suitcase and her board bag, professional nomad, Bree Brooks, has been traveling around the world wherever her art and creativity take her. Some destinations have included Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Samoa, and Portugal. Now, at 25, Bree resides in Encinitas, Ca. where she is making a name for herself and her art. From loving art at a young age, it was always a hobby for her. It wasn’t until she spent time abroad that she reconnected to her creative side. After an injury in Sri Lanka forced her out of the water for two months, she took the time to heal through art and started her journey on making her passion her career.
Interview & photos by Kiore Lee
Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Growing up in the US, I was always told that being an artist isn’t a career, it’s a hobby. This held me back from taking classes or going to school for art. I was never serious about painting; it wasn’t until I went abroad that I realized the rest of the world recognized artists in a different way.
What inspires you? How do you get your ideas for your work?
Being submerged in nature gives me my inspiration. I often paint scenes with no one in them or miles of beaches just to be by myself while creating to find peace. Now that I am in America, I often don’t feel enough nature around me; it feels crowded and I have trouble escaping at times. If there wasn’t an ocean here, I would lose my mind.
Tell us about your artistic process-what drives and motivates your art? What mediums do you use the most?
I mainly use acrylic paints. When I do exhibitions around the world or live paining, I need something that dries quite fast so I am able to sell it in a shorter amount of time.
Because I didn’t go to school for art, I don’t have a specific process; all of my art is by chance. I often get asked how long it takes me to create a piece, sometimes it takes me 30 seconds, sometimes it takes me 30 days. I don’t have a format; I do all my painting by eye and intuition. No painting of mine is the same because I don’t know what is coming next, I just create.
What is your favorite piece you have created? Is there a story behind it?
I used to be really interested in painting scenes of contrasting emotions; good and bad, happy and sad, yin and yang. I would paint these shipwrecks that were very harsh and dark but sitting in bright blue and calm turquoise water. My favorite was the one I painted set in Micronesia. There was a lot of detail in the disaster and damage of the boat, but it was in the middle of the crystal-clear Tahitian water. I like the feel of contrasting something superficial with depth. To me, it’s kind of how life is. Something may look beautiful from far away, but when you get to know it more you realize the story behind it may not be so beautiful.
What do you do when you’re not creating?
Surfing. And building now, too. Woodworking has become a new hobby for me and has been really therapeutic. Like art, it has been fulfilling to watch something begin as nothing and turn into a creation.
Surf or Skate? And how long have you been passionate about it?
I actually started skating first when I was really young, then I switched to surfing. Now, surfing is what I love most, hands down. To me, it’s not just a sport, it’s my connection to the environment and nature. I would never trade that for doing something on land.
Where are your favorite places to surf?
One of my favorites is Shippy’s, it’s a long left in New Zealand. Medewi in Indonesia is another long left that I love. I’m goofy foot so I’m always searching for lefts and point breaks. Here, Pipes is my favorite because of how consistent the wave is.
Any advice to other female artists/surfers out there?
For artists, don’t worry about what other people are doing. The more you concentrate on others and what others are doing, the more it affects your art. If you just do what you love, do what you do, and create without considering the outside world, that is when your best creations come to play.
Surfers, just go have fun!
Do you have anything exciting coming up in the near future?
In May, I will be traveling to Ibiza, Portugal, and France for a few months working on some art exhibitions which I am really excited for.
How do you feel about Her Waves and our message to female skaters, surfers, and creators?
It’s awesome! I love that Her Waves incorporates artists and makes it so you can wear their art and represent the artists. It’s more fun and inclusive than just having a canvas painting.
Photo by @sirens_project
Longboard or shortboard?
Mid Length! Anything between 6ft and 7ft is my sweet spot.
Dawn patrol or sunset sesh?
Sunset, for sure.
Chocolate covered pretzels! Can’t get enough of them.
Excessive amounts of coffee. Australia definitely ruined me in that way, they drink ridiculous amounts of coffee there!
Favorite band /musician?
Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac. Always a fav to throw on, especially on a road trip.
Favorite quote to live by?
Follow Bree @breebrookz
Visit her website: https://www.breebrooks.com/