Artist Interview // Michael Brennan of Michael Brennan Fine Art

Back in September, while my boyfriend Max and I were perusing the Fall Festival on Ponce in Atlanta, I discovered artist Michael Brennan and his incredible work. The first two pieces below in particular caught my attention with their bright rich colors and mixed media style. After complimenting Mr. Brennan on his work, he went on to explain his technique of incorporating old newspaper clipping, textbook pages, and other documents into his composition for texture and interest. He explained his artistic inspirations and how his subject matter has evolved from game fish to horses, which now represent him most as an artist. I recently reached out to Mr. Brennan to ask him a few questions and get to know more about him and his work. The interview and a few select pieces from the Michael Brennan Fine Art gallery are included below.
To learn more visit Michael Brennan Fine Art.

left: Studebaker. right: Promenade Dans Paris
Prince De Polignac
Windsor Eventing
Et ils ont toujours ete capables de volar
Kelsey's Sunday Dream
What would you say has been the most rewarding aspect of being an artist? What would you say has been the most challenging?
The most rewarding aspect of being an artist is that the work gives each day meaning. There are always so many things to do that time becomes valuable. It is a pleasure to produce tangible things that others enjoy. The challenge is in managing the economics. Choosing a poorly performing show can be disappointing. It occurs to me that each artist is faced with the challenge of finding the proper market. There are no absolutes. From one moment to the next it is all trial and error.

What (or who) has been your biggest inspiration and/or motivator while developing your artistic identity?
Motivator is the driving quality. A working artist will say that inspiration is for amateurs. Doing the work is the over-riding force that moves the business forward. Before this became a full time endeavor, it was always the artists talking about the work that appealed to me. The work has to be there before anything else will happen. It is in effect, a blind faith of sorts. Although one cannot know where the next opportunity will come from, it can be certain that there will be no opportunity if the work is not being done. It is indeed a job and must be treated that way. One goes to the studio and makes things.
Indeed it is the work that also drives the evolution process. As one becomes a better musician through repetition and practice, it is the same with painting and composing pictures. As the work is faithfully attended to, the technical ability always improves. This concerns brush work, color choices, color coordination, and composition.  You are correct about the essential nature of exposure too: an audience will always tell you what you need to know if one listens and pays attention. Of course it is never possible to know exactly what will appeal to a buyer but there are plenty of indicators in the air.

 How would you say that you have evolved as an artists and an individual through your artistic exposure and growth process?
As an individual, it occurs to me that rejection no longer has any dominion over me. There was a time that I would be immobilized by the dread of disapproval.  Again, the work has prevailed and taken me beyond that deadlock. I do not even see rejection at this point because I am already moving ahead to another project or show. I have too many things to do to worry about pleasing everyone. Indeed, rejection is a reality of art but it is not a stopping point. It took me a while to understand.

Which piece would you say best represents you as an artist and why?
The horses certainly represent me as an artist. For years I focused on game fish but could not get the wheels turning. Horses changed everything. It is because of the passion and dedication of horse people. Indeed, simply spending some time and getting to know these magnificent creatures is its own reward. It is not hard to understand that this world was built on the backs of horses. As horses built our world, they built my art career. Further, simply looking into the aspects of horses opens so many doors; it never ends.

How would you best describe yourself?
My description is somewhere in that I have my greatest joy in helping others make the art they want to make. I teach classes and give away all of my techniques. I made so many mistakes that others do not have to repeat. So many people have an idea of what they want to express inside of them but they do not know how to get started. I show them how.

If people remember only one thing about you and your work what would you want that to be?
In fact that is what I hope I am remembered:  as one that helped others express their art.

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
For aspiring artists: Work. Treat your art as if it were important and really needs to be done. That will get you where you need to be. Act like it is as important as a life support system. It cannot wait for mood or inspiration.
Also: give a lot of art away. Nonprofit agencies hold art auctions often. Find one, get a deadline and make some art. Auctions will put your work in front of an audience that is willing and able to buy. Stand back and see how buyers respond to your work. Know that not everyone will like what you do; this is no place to get your feelings hurt. This is your opportunity to improve your process or reinvent yourself. In addition, avoid over-editing yourself. We all do it and at some point we have to stop. Your art is uniquely yours: your eye, your hand, your expression; put it out there and see how it does. It is never wrong and it is never a disaster.

A big thanks to Michael Brennan for sharing his story and beautiful artwork.


  1. That was an awesome interview Lauren. The questions were right on and the answeers were inspiring. Godd job . And I will add I love this guys art work!

    1. So glad you enjoyed it! It's always great to find an artist who's work you really connect with.



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