We had the good fortune of connecting with Brianna Thaxton and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Brianna, how do you think about risk?
It’s risky putting one’s self out there. Will I be accepted? I’m crossing my fingers I will be and by the right audience hopefully. It’s just as risky putting one’s art out there. Will it be accepted, copied, or stolen? Understood? Interesting enough to create discussion? Will it bring joy or some other emotion into the world? Taking risks is the catalyst for development. If I’m not being risky then I’m being lazy. There is no improvement for myself or my art if I allow myself to remain in a place of comfort.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a pyrographer (wood burner) with the subject of my current body of work being unicorns. My unicorns are different and unique. I tie them together with personal trials and experiences that I have faced throughout my life. They represent myself along with the ones I love and admire and include whatever hardships each person has or is going through now. I begin by brainstorming and forming a final composition in my mind. I freehand the basic shapes with graphite directly onto the wood. The outline and shading is then laid in with a beveled wood burning tip. Once the wood is burned it can’t be un-burned, there’s nothing to be done but burn darker. Paint is either added with a traditional brush method or with airbrushing directly onto the wood. I use watercolor and acrylic pigments. With watercolor, the burns on the wood act as a natural barrier and reject the transparent pigment, but with the opaque acrylics I must mask the wood with tape and masking fluid or I’ll lose those burns under the paint. Between the burning and masking it’s a lengthy process that eats hours, days, weeks of my time let alone the application of the paint. That’s why revealing the final result always makes my heart sing!

I’m excited to develop this unicorn world in greater detail while I participate in the November 2022 Chateau d’Orquevaux Residency in Paris, France. This opportunity will allow the time for me to develop what I am digesting from personal pains and joys and form them into my own fairy tale. It will be an oxymoron depicting non-fiction tales with fictional symbolism.

How did I land a chance like this unbelievable residency? How am I now working and showing in a local Utah gallery? Taking risks. Just submit the applications. The worst they can say is no, so do it anyway. How else will I find representation outside my sweet family circle? I want the world to know that I am here, I see life with its glorious sunrises AND awful thunderstorms. I capture that life in my art and give it back, hopefully brighter and with greater feeling for understanding.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The breathtaking view of the Grand Canyon and anywhere else out of doors. Within the city I love seeing bizarre or old architecture.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Hands down I dedicate this shout-out to my family. From my mom, sisters and husband to my additional mom and siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and all my dear friends who are essentially family as well. This sounds like a lot of people but my circle of intimate relations is actually quite small. Without these people I would not be; my art would not be. They lift me up, they pull and sometimes push me forward. They support and promote my art freely with no strings attached. Yes they love what I create simply for the fact I was the creator, but they are also honest and sincere and would love my art even if they didn’t know me on a personal level. I know this to be true because they offer important critiques that someone who only sought to please me would never say out of fear of upsetting me. I love and appreciate them all for it.

Website: www.brannarey.com

Instagram: https://instagram.com/brannarey?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianna-thaxton-767211133/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brannarey/

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