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Q&A with Brett Walker | 2009 GAP, Visual

Artist Trust

Brett Walker, Domesticity, letterpress on paper towel, size varies, 2009.

Q: What kind of art do you make?
A: I’ve largely consolidated my efforts these days to mainly focus on making photographs and films. I was making a variety of different stuff, had a pretty wide art practice, and slowly - over the course of the last few years - I’ve scaled it down, I wanted to really master and be good at a small amount of things, and photography has always been this constant thing in my life, the thing I knew the most. At the time of the Artist Trust grant, I was making tons of drawings and short films, performances, thinking through answering ideas and concepts with installations and sculpture.

Q: What did you use your award for?
A: It largely went towards completing several different projects and art objects I was making in response to thoughts and ideas I had about personal sustainability, how an individual who aspires to make art, but also lead some sort of a normal life, normal equating to things like health insurance, maybe buying a house, or at least being able to afford rent on a place, having a family, I’ve always struggled to make sense of how the worlds I exist within fit into the larger picture of domestic, middle class life in America. I made a lean to shelter from a bunch of copies of the Rolling Stones album Let It Bleed which features the song Gimme Shelter, I reconfigured a snow sled with wheels and a steering assembly, made an inflatable boat from a rain jacket, a timer and a pump from an air mattress, a watering system to grow carrots in a gallery using water gathered from a dehumidifier.

Q: What was the impact of this award on your art career and life?
A: Well, besides the nice line on the resume, it helped finance and complete a number of projects and works, much of which eventually was used for my grad school admission portfolio which helped me get into UC Berkeley. I feel like it also helped solidify a lot of relationships I had in the art world in Seattle at the time. In fact, I still feel fairly connected to the Seattle art scene, far more than I do in San Francisco, where I now live. There’s many people in Seattle who I still feel in communication with, some of which have written letters of recommendation for recent grants I have applied for.

Biography
Brett Walker received a 2009 GAP to enable the purchase of materials for the completion of a dozen sculptural pieces already in progress. Citing a wide range of cultural mediators and cinematic influences, his artistic output to this point has both traced his development as an individual and created a cornerstone from which he gets the ability to function in the world. His previous work is about the development of a real-life character, of establishing an identity and finding a way to live and interact within contemporary culture and society.