Flaming Red Trees & Giant Crows: The Art of Glenn Brady

Artists, like the pioneers who break away from conventionality, often feel and know when a turning point in their life inspires them to move in a direction that's different than the established path. It's the problems and obstacles artists encounter that enrich their artistic expression, and the motivation to keep creating beauty that gives them a special place in the world. Glenn Brady reminds me of this, an artist who's fought with his creativity in order to express himself and the world around him. His work is spun from stories, situations and people that have left an impression on him, and his style is self-developed.
I'd rather have his paintings speak to you rather than have myself attempt to describe them as I often find myself not only with bright feelings, but also with mixed, and at times, admittedly, uncomfortable anxious emotions when I view his work - many stories and feelings intertwine in the making of his paintings; I always feel like I'm delving into a strange, rich, soft world.
He says of art:
i'm not really into art…i don't know that much about it…i know all the ’big stars of painting…but it really doesn't interest me like music does….i don't like a lot of the bullshit involved with it so tend to just keep to myself…..goya is superb…german artists from after the first world war….australian artists..
He may keep to himself, but when asked about himself he has a lot to say. He shares with us his passion for music, his experiences growing up, how being rejected from art college didn't affect his artistic expression, and the drunken haze of flowers and fields he often dreams of.


What medium do you usually work with?
i always use acrylics and pastels..either on pasteboard or canvas..
when i started i couldn't afford canvas so used to paint on calico and even old bed sheets bits of wood and fibro…

 How long have you been drawing/painting?
i started when i was about first i was painting band t-shirts…always liked drawing…i also had a sort of ’wake up call in a way..that my life was just going one way with drinking and nothing else….i had to start now or i would just waste away…

crows, factories and me
Tell us about what motivates you to do your art. Your purpose to create the work you create.
i'm motivated by a few things….one is music…when i was 14 in 1980 i got heavily into punk…and am still in a punk band to this day…everyone i know to this day is from that old scene…the energy and noise of it never gets tiring… i have so many heroes who play music that i wanted to try and reach the joy and passion that i hear in others..into my own work..

i'm also motivated by being self-taught……i was refused entry into art college twice..when i was 16 and at 18… a part of me is like ‘well fuck your colleges’…don't need a classroom to be able to ‘feel’….life is college…..
i come from the vast landscape of the Australian suburbs…a place that was half houses…and half factories…..nothing grew there but the same cycle of school, work, marry, drink,die….a slow lingering life full of ‘what if’s’?…………i wanted to escape that…but never can in a way….

morning, May 4th
Where do you draw inspiration from?
everything inspires me…i'm looking out the window at the moment and there's a storm coming..big deep blue clouds over the houses……walking around and watching people…sitting in a bar or on a train and wondering about those around me… childhood… time in institutions…..everything is fuel…..everything can be used…
i paint what i see and what i would like to see…like flaming red trees..or giant crows…etc etc….

woman who drinks in the park in the morning

Pick up to three artworks of yours that are the most meaningful/personal to you.
3 artworks……well last year i painted 161 pieces…and this year up to about 74….
when i'm painting them…the one i'm doing is the most important thing….if its not going well then i become anxious and cant do anything else.
it's like my happiness hangs on the success of every painting that i do….i can't afford to fail….
so when one is done….i feel good about it for about 2 hours…then it fades and i start building another one in my mind…..i'm very critical of myself and many times feel that i never reached the pearl of the idea properly…..
you choose the paintings you want me to discuss..(:

haha! alright then :)
I’m intrigued by your tree paintings. You’ve painted jacaranda trees, summer trees, white blossom trees, banksia… maybe we can discuss your tree paintings :)
Do you paint them because of the uniqueness of each tree, or because you’re personally drawn to paint them?
 trees are like birds….in the way that they, for some reason, are very expressive like humans…..a bent over tree will look ‘sad’ an old man……one in full bloom screams ‘i'm alive’!……..
plus trees are very complicated with branches straight or many shapes… many colours….they grow amongst the concrete of the modern world…defiant without speaking….overcoming the landscape..and dying without a sound…

I’m personally very drawn to the red tree. 

I really like the brightness of this piece, the blazing red against the lime green, and the simple child-like feeling I get.  Also, could you tell us more about she and me under the tree, and me under the tree?
the red tree… something i wish i could see while i'm out wandering around…..instead of just the foliage being bright red..imagine the whole trunk and branches!…..
she and me under the tree
she and me……is about alcohol….my partner…and my own life….i've been drinking since i was times very heavily..only stopping when i'm in a psychiatric hospital for a period of time……
nothing suppresses and covers your mind and body like alcohol… is a rented security blanket……..i still after 30 years don't know how to cope with my depression and anxiety problems….and in a way i've given up trying…
i've woken up in alleyways, parks, backyards and once in a cemetery…..

plus my ’version of heaven would be an endless drunken haze in fields of flowers and trees with animals and music and rolling hills and green and blue lakes… rain and blue birds….

me..under the tree

I’ve noticed that in your work as a whole there’s a contrast of uplifting, subtle beauty and depictions of darker moments. What motivates you to express these aspects of life?
expressing dark moments and nice moments is what we all do….mine come out as paintings…others come out at writing and poetry…others with violence and abuse against others…
no one is flat-lining all day long….up and down and round and round we all go……i just forced myself to learn how to put that all down into pictures…..
it's in everyone to create…..we’re just taught not to at a young age by a constant bombardment to the senses with TV,  movies, junkfood and worshipping celebrities…the wrong ‘fuel’ for the mind…
there's two worlds..the one that is all around….and the other one….the secret beautiful one…and once you find the door to that place….life becomes like it was in your childhood…beautiful, colourful, and worth living…

sewer nymphs 2

children tumbling down a hill

Tell us something about you we don’t know, maybe something quirky or awkward or unique ;)
Something you think that makes you who you are.
i've been called many things…some really bad…some nice….a sense of humour is something my dad gave me…to not take all this so seriously…to try and relax…
i've done odd, strange things…as my close friends all know….
i'm not into clothes or fashion…i don't like dressing up…or jewelery…i like to look plain and let my mind and mouth show who i am….
my mind leaps around a lot…..and a lot of it bothers me at times…..

Is there anything you’d like to tell other artists and people reading this? Any words of inspiration to encourage or stimulate creativity in society?
to other artists …..remember that you don't have to do things the way that they’ve been set out..there's always ways around everything… doesn't have to be new york, paris or berlin…it's where you're at today..the things and people around you… doesn't have to be shit job, kids, car, life in the suburbs…
every morning i wake up and wonder if this is the day that i will die… i try my best and get something done…..regret is a cancer on the soul…

burning man

summer trees

boy with blackbird kite

the trapped man

red morning

lover's kiss

painting the old fence

by the river

jacaranda in field

To view more of Glenn Brady's paintings visit: 

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