Meet our Artist: Q&A with LittleCollector artist Brendan Wenzel
1. You divide your time between NYC and Nepal. What do you like about living in NYC? What draws you to Nepal?
I just returned to the states after spending about a year in Nepal, where my wife was completing a fellowship running a women's center in the Surkhet valley. This worked out really well for me because I got to explore the nearby jungles, and had the privilege of teaching art and outdoor education to some fantastic kids. Although exploring the region and getting to know the community in which we lived was incredible, after a long time away from friends and family, it felt like the right time to head home. The majority of my adult life has been spent in Brooklyn, and wherever I go, It's hard not missing the city.
2 If you could be any animal, what would it be and why? Asiatic Small Clawed River Otter. I like their style.
3. We are head over heels for your animal prints. Where did you get your inspiration from?Thank you! The species that appear in these images, which are all pretty fascinating, did most of the heavy lifting. I pull inspiration from all over the place, but my favorite reference always comes from artists who interacted with animals firsthand when the planet was a bit wilder. Whether it be drawings from eighteenth century naturalists or cave paintings, its exciting to see how people perceived a creature before zoos and google image searches.
4. What is your favorite LittleCollector piece? Thats a tough one. I feel like I'm turning my back on the other seven creatures that appear in the the prints if I single one out.
5. What song are you dancing to right now? Funny you should ask. I don't normally express myself through the art of dance, but as it happens recently my wife and I found ourselves showcasing our best moves within a circle of forty clapping children during our Nepali goodbye party. Almost all of the kids there were pretty spectacular dancers, so the whole thing was very intimidating. I'm not sure what the song was called, but it involved a good deal of whooping and yipping, and would definitely be on my iPod shuffle if only I had had the foresight to record it.
6. You seem to travel a lot. Where is your favorite place to create? Anywhere in close proximity to a library. There have been many advantages to working in places that are a bit off the map, but not having access to a good library has been really tough.
7. When not creating endearing and inspiring art pieces, what do you enjoy doing? Pretty much all my free time over the past 7 months has been spent hiking and drawing with a posse of enthusiastic young naturalists. Its been a great hobby, but unfortunately it looks like I'm going to need to find something else to occupy my time. Suggestions are welcome.
8. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Rice. I really, really like rice.
9. Can you give one piece of advice for all of our aspiring LittleCollector artists out there? I have no tattoos, and most likely never will, but have many times joked, especially after dinner parties, about getting "Ask more questions" etched onto my knuckles or any other prominent and unavoidable location on my person. I am not advising that any young artist drop two hundred bucks on an "Ask more questions" tattoo, unless your parents are paying for it, but I do think listening with a great big-ole, open mind, has in my very limited experience, been the best way to end up somewhere new and interesting.