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Exploring Altered States with David Brody



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[dropcap class=”kp-dropcap”]S[/dropcap]eattle is a city brimming with artists. So, in order to standout and make a name for yourself, you have to be different. And David Brody has managed to do just that. The professor of Painting and Drawing at University of Washington has been making his mark on the Seattle art scene for the better part of the last two decades. It seems like Brody’s trippy work is a perfect fit for Seattle’s psychedelic scene.

The timeline of Brody’s work tells the story of his evolution as an artist. On Brody’s site, his work is separated into time periods. From 1985-1994, Brody’s work is brightly colored and surreal. With human and non-human subjects, in sometimes dreamlike scenarios found throughout the work. Next, from 1995- 2006, Brody’s work began to really take shape, the realism element becoming finely tuned. It seems that this era begins with work that draws inevitable comparisons to Salvador Dalí. During this time period, Brody took his profound eye for color and detail and applied it to portraits of various female subjects and even body parts. His most recent body of work took a somewhat sharp turn. Instead of realism with human subjects, the new work plays with shapes and patterns in a style with an almost textile-like, tangible feel. The geometric, vibrant nature of the work could certainly be described as hallucinogenic.

The man behind the brilliant work was kind enough to answer some questions for CULTURE.




When and how did you get started as an artist?

Like most kids, I drew when I was young. I just never stopped.

Where are you from?

Born in New York City. Spent most of my life on the East Coast. Came out here in 1996 to take a job as a professor of painting at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Which artists have influenced your work?

So many. Everything from European cave paintings, to Attic ceramics, to Song Dynasty Chinese scroll paintings, to all the greats of the western canon, to contemporary cartoonists and animators.

Which artists have you been inspired by, that you believe may have been inspired by cannabis, or whose art is psychedelic in some way?

I don’t know about what’s been inspired by cannabis specifically, but there is a lot of great surrealistic and psychedelic art and animation. Rene Magritte’s work often has a dreamlike hallucinatory quality. Some artists, like Peter Saul and Ed Paschke come to mind, too. And R. Crumb’s a great draftsman who’s done a lot of work that reflects on psychedelic drug culture.

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