I recently interviewed L.A. artist Brett Cody Rogers for Berlin based Freunde von Freunden. Ailine Liefeld photographed Brett's home and studio, while Brett and I talked about his studio practice, and his early days assisting, including a very interesting story Matthew Barney's Cremaster 3. Read the full interview, and see all the photographs here, on FvF.
"We met with Brett Cody Rogers in his Los Angeles home, in a neighborhood called Los Feliz that borders on Griffith Park. Inside his 1927 home, Brett’s walls are covered with art works (including his son’s room), and he led us around his home, upstairs and downstairs, explaining the stories behind each work. His wife was just leaving for work as we sat down with coffee and scones in his kitchen. I first learned about Brett Cody Roger’s work at a store in Los Angeles called South Willard. Ryan Conder, the owner, installed one of Brett’s painted geometric canvas mobiles from the ceiling. His later works continue to suggest forms of architectural reference, and his interest in modernism, while he moves painting to photography. Over conversation, Brett explained how the birth of his son 4 years ago changed his studio practice, “taking all the crisis out of art making.”
- David John for Freunde von Freunden
"When my son was born, everything changed as far as my work goes…within a year, my grandfather died. My son was named Van after him, it was a really strange time for me. Pretty much everything changed, but I think for the better. I had to re-evaluate what I was doing, and I went through 2 years of making work in nothing but black and white, which prior to that it was very colorful. And then I started making photographs again. It was something I could make an image fairly quickly with, and so the means as with which I was working, I was working with cheaper materials, faster processes, and just by doing that, I got more of a handle on the content. Whereas before I was relying very heavily on color, to do all the leg work in the painting.
So when my son was born, the whole thing opened me up pretty greatly. I think the biggest thing is that having a kid, it takes all the crisis out of art making. You know when you have too much time to think about yourself and your own troubles in the studio, and you worry about everything, worry about making the wrong move, and if a painting goes wrong and it’s like the end of the world. I had all these existential crises before I had a son, and from the moment he was born, it took all that out of art making, and it made it more enjoyable to make stuff, because you just have less time. You just go in and out, you have to go in, and work, and then you turn your back on the work, you run out the door, to go pick him up at school, you don’t look back, you don’t think about what went wrong that day, or if you made something good or bad, or whatever, you just made stuff and you just deal with it later, which is really great.
Living Room: Brett Cody Roger's "Painterʼs Forms", 2011, C-print, brass frame
I notice a lot of familiar artists in your home. Can you talk about some of the work that is here?
Brett: Sure, they are mostly friends’ works, given to us as gifts, or as trades. There are some of Ricky Swallow’s pieces, some ceramics, a bronze whale that he made, and he made this watercolor for my wife for her birthday, it’s of two dead fish, and there is another drawing by the entry way, and it’s a skull sitting on top of a tophat, with some barnacles next to it. This is from Lesley Vance from 2007, Jed Lind, Bari Ziperstein, Violet Hopkins, this one is from Bara (Hans-Peter) from Berlin, another German painter named Klaus Merkel. He was an early influence and mentor to me.
Go to Brett Cody Roger's site here.
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