LA-based artist Brooke Reidt was Element Eden’s first ever Advocate and just brought out her first capsule collection. Marveling at their kaleidoscopic prints, we remembered our interview with her from the print mag last and dug out our chin stroke about the creative process and how sleep is overrated
Interview by Sam Haddad
I was born an artist but I never knew I could make a career out of it.
When did you first realise you could make a living from art?
I never took art seriously, it was just what I wanted to do, it's what made me happy and what made me feel alive. I think I realised I could support myself with my art when I took the risk and quit all the other petty jobs to do it. I've had to make a lot of sacrifices but the rewards are worth it and I feel blessed that I can keep creating without the distraction of another job to support it.
You were the first Element Eden advocate, how did that hook up come about?
I was doing some work next door from the office. The creative director for Element at the time was trying to coordinate meeting an artist in New York and someone pulled me in. When we met there were a lot of common interests and serendipitous moments in the meeting it was almost as if we were meant to work together. Then he brought Johnny Schillereff [Element’s co-founder and president] into the meeting and the conversations flowed so organically. I was under the impression I was meeting the two of them to make some art, I had no idea of the scale of the project.
The advocates programme has grown pretty big, who are your other favourite advocates and why?
Oh man it's hard to say favourites. Every girl is so unique and so many of them are such good friends I feel like they're more like sisters. Mataji [Booker] was the first advocate I met. We met on a photo shoot at her home and we couldn't stop laughing and goofing off together, it was as if we immediately connected. Our friendship grew beyond the brand and she really is my soul sister for life. Hearing her sing will light your heart on fire. I've also spent some time with Amy Purdy and I often wish I could transport myself to wherever she is in the world because she's just so inspiring to be around and the work she does blows my mind. It would be awesome to hug her once a day I swear she transmits magic. I've never met Miya Ando but her art projects are so thoughtful and powerful, every time I read a proposal or an article unveiling her work it propels my mind forward, I love her!
Do you still find time to work on your own work?
Yes it's what I live for! What would life be if I wasn't focusing on my personal growth? I only freelance enough to support myself and my personal projects. I'm working on some large paintings and a secret project that I don't want to say too much about.
Oh gosh well if I'm working I can't sleep until I finish something. I'm scared if I stop I won't be able to find my way back to that moment and that same momentum. I usually stop when I find myself making mistakes or working extra slow. I'll take a nap from three or four in the morning until six or seven and then start again. Once I finish I'll take a longer nap maybe four hours or so. If I have a really overwhelming project I often can pull off two-three days without any sleep at all.
Do you think a lack of sleep is good for creativity? Sometimes we write better with a slightly fuzzy head, though sometimes it works the other way too…
Exactly I see more things come to life with a lack of sleep. If I find a rhythm and catch onto an idea or see something in a painting I cannot stop until it's fully realised. Like I said if I find myself slowing down I'll take a nap but most of the time the less sleep I get the more creative I feel.
We love your tattoos. Did you design them yourself?
I used to spend a lot of time in a tattoo shop. A lot of them I had my hand in designing for sure. Others were just collaborations with the artist himself.
Is LA a good place to get creative?
I love it and hate it at times. There's so much inspiration here. I can be in the ocean, desert or mountains in about an hour each direction. I'm not going to lie, I take every opportunity presented to get out of town in search of new inspirations in new places. Travelling for long periods of time allows me to regain an appreciation for where I live.
Do you have any advice for readers on how to create their best work, say if they're struggling with artist's block?
Listen to music, watch documentaries, read, walk around, hike, go into nature, research something you know nothing about. A lot of the time I refuse to look at art but I do enjoy reading about artists and watching documentaries about artists. Sometimes I just need to restart so I'll leave my studio, go get a coffee and get lost walking around downtown or go sit in this huge book store a couple blocks away. Just don't procrastinate, if anything change your medium and just smear some paint around.