I Am... Bryn
Photo of Bryn in the art studio | Used with permission
What are your pronouns?
She/Her or They/Them
Where do you live? (General area or state is fine - internet safety is important)
What’s your story? What do you do / what are your hobbies / fun facts about you / things you like to do in your free time?
I am a full-time, freelance, Visual Artist. I have my Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree with a focus in Intaglio Printmaking. Though Intaglio Copper Etching has my heart, I work in multiple mediums & enjoy a continuous exploration & experimentation with different materials & processes within my work. Apart from my Artwork... I grew up climbing trees & skinny-dipping in the clear freshwater lakes in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I've raised chickens, ducks, goats, cats, dogs, snacks, frogs, rabbits, turtles, doves, stray birds, etc... I lived in New York briefly, volunteered in Ghana, West Africa, teaching Art classes to young woman, I drank copious amounts of Mezcal in Oaxaca, Mexico... I've been a Student, a Bartender, a Printmaking Teacher, a Cocktail Director, & now a full-time Artist, currently based in Chicago. I work very hard, I play hard, I love hard & I sleep hard.
If you are an artist/musician/entrepreneur/business owner/etc, please explain what you do, how you got started, how your work has progressed and why you do it.
I have worked extremely hard to make my Artwork my full-time career, simply because there is nothing else that I love more, & if you are able to go full-time with your passion, why not give it a try? I find intense beauty in my craft. I am absolutely infatuated with the slow delicate process of copper etching... how the steal needle glides through the asphaltum hard ground painted across a polished copper plate. Each stroke exposing the bright virgin metal, glistening for ferric chloride to sink its acidic teeth deep into its surface, etching my intentions into its depths. Warming the copper & pulling the thick black ink across it, rubbing the dark viscous substance into each & every crack, holding the pigments like dirt in an older, wiser, person's weathered & wrinkled skin, ready to press its history into a think piece of paper. Like a fingerprint tells the truth of a crime, each of my copper plates tells a story, a moment of emotion explained through shadows & flecks, intricate lines, deep cuts and harsh gestures. Intaglio is tedious, difficult, & breathtakingly beautiful. I tried Intaglio Printmaking for the first time when I was 17 years old. & in that moment when I pulled my first proof print off the press I knew I wanted to print for the rest of my life... so that is what I am doing.
How do your identities (sexual, gender, racial, ethnic, religious, political, etc) influence your work, if they do at all? If there are other influences not identity-based, please feel free to share those, too.
My experience as a queer woman definitely influences my work. However, my Artwork does not scream "pride." There is a very important place for rainbow pride Art, it's just not what I do. Concepts that influence my Artwork are intimate connections, both familial & romantic, unconditional love, loss, death, addiction, physical & mental decay, divorce & rumination. The key themes in my work are rooted in human emotion, things that queer & straight people alike experience. I gravitate towards using my own or other queer bodies when using models & I like to show queer couples when depicting a romantic moment, though the emotional connection is meant to be universal. I feel it is important that there is a queer presence in my work, but a subtle one.
Photo of Bryn's "Mia Sorella" | Used with permission
I think a lot of the straight community think of our queer community in stereo types, such as flamboyancy, rainbows & over the top drunken pride parties. I have only created one piece of Artwork with a rainbow color pallet... my work is primarily dark, moody & interpersonal with grays & blacks being my primary colors. I think it's important for people to see queerness as a component of an individual, not an entire identity, & not always covered in glitter & rainbows, & I intend my Artwork to be an example of that concept.
What has your journey been like to becoming comfortable with who you are as an LGBTQ+ person and/or artist/musician/entrepreneur/business owner/etc?
Like a lot of queer youth, I was nervous & extremely excited to "come out." & like many, was disappointed by other's reactions & interpretations of my sexuality. I was disappointed by both my straight & queer communities at the time, because neither had a safe or accepting space for Bisexuals. For a few years I found myself awkwardly bringing up my sexual orientation whenever possible, to make sure everyone knew who I was & so I could gauge whether or not they were supportive of it. As I have gotten older however, I care less & less if anyone knows my sexual orientation, or if they approve or disapprove of it. It's not changing, no matter who I love or how I present myself, I am who I am. The most liberating thing was not coming out, it was letting go of the need to come out, letting go of the need to explain myself. My sexual orientation is a part of me, but only one part. At the end of the day, I am myself, & I am an Artist.
Photo of Bryn in the studio | Used with permission
Where and how would you like to see your work progress?
I am currently showing my work in Art Galleries, local Shops, & Pop-Up Markets in Illinois. I have started curating/hosting pop-up markets which has been a really fantastic way to connect with other local creators. I would like to keep doing what I am doing, creating & connecting, showing my work in as many different environments as possible.
What are your dreams and aspirations with your work or life?: My dream is, & has always been, to maintain a lifestyle that includes lots of time making Art, balanced with lots of time in the company of those I love.
Where can people find you online? Please only add links that you don’t mind strangers following you on!
Check out my Artwork! My website: BrynGleason.com
Anything else you would like to add?
My partner gave me a pair of Ringneck Doves as a gift. Doves are beautiful creatures, with no scientific difference to a common dirty city Pigeon, only that they are slightly smaller & friendlier. They are extremely smart, typically mate for life, & share full parenting responsibilities with their partner. My doves, Vine & Bone, (named after my favorite shades of black etching inks) have been taking turns sitting in their nest keeping their little tiny egg warm. Little tiny baby bird should be hatching soon... so if you want some cute bird content, mixed in with Art-making content, follow my instagram to see our little bird family grow!
Photo of Bryn in the studio | Used with permission
The "I Am" series aims to highlight LGBTQ+ individuals' stories, their accomplishments, highlights, triumphs, work, etc. Submit your story here.