Art Gallery: Bruce White

The gifted Bruce White has turned velvet into his own personal creation playground. He has used the often-mocked canvas as a way to showcase his pop culture infused work in a uniquely kitschy way. You can see more of Bruce’s work at velvetgeek.com. You can also follow him on Instagram @VelvetGeek.

We talked to Bruce about his personal style, popular culture and how he thinks he fits into the current art scene.

When did your love of art start?

I have always been interested in drawing, even when I was very young. I would draw my parents, my pets—anything. When I got a little older, I would copy from comic books. It really wasn’t until I got to high school that I started to intellectually understand what “art” was and the impact it could have.

What inspires your work?

I love the way light falls across the human face. I love the structure and the anatomy of the face. I enjoy trying to capture the expression and feeling of a subject as much as I can.

Why did you choose Black Velvet as a canvas for your work?

I became fascinated with a vintage bootleg Star Wars velvet painting that I saw on the internet. It was terrible, but it was very interesting. It was a “good” kind of terrible—very cheesy and kitsch. I thought, “I bet I can do that.” My first experiments were awful, but gradually I started to get the hang of it. I thought that I could take this very “low brow” type of painting and try to do something more with it. So, I went from very simply rendered paintings, to making my work look as realistic as I possibly could. I really like the contrast of painting on black velvet. When you look at any velvet painting in person, in proper lighting, it has an interesting visual impact. The light reflects off the paint, while being absorbed by the fabric, which really makes the subjects “pop.”

Pop Culture is obviously a large part of your work, why do you enjoy creating things in that world?

I am a sci-fi and horror fan. I grew up with those movies and TV shows, and I still enjoy them. I suppose it is my way of paying tribute to them. Why should velvet just be limited to paintings of Elvis? Darth Vader is just as iconic.

What does it mean to you to be in artist in this day and age?

I’m not even sure where to begin with that question. I mean, as I have grown older, I have learned to concentrate more on myself and my art. I try to do the best that I can with what I am working on. I am inspired by other artists, but I try not to compare myself to them. I try not to worry about “trends” or anything like that.

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