Brandon Wolfe is a young Langley-based emerging artist. His solo exhibition "Animals" is currently on display at the AIFS Online Gallery located at from August 7th, to September 23rd. To view Brandon's exhibition click HERE. The interview below was conducted over email between Brandon and Gallery Director Claire Sarfeld, read on to hear more about Brandon, his interdisciplinary practice, and the thought process behind his artworks. Thank you Brandon for taking the time to answer some questions about your work to be shared with the LAC community. 

Can you tell the Langley Arts Council community a bit about yourself?

My name is Brandon Wolfe, I am 21 years old now and live in Aldergrove. I've lived in Aldergrove since I was two and I love animals.

"Rexie" by Brandon Wolfe, Digital Art, 33.1" x 46.8"

Have you always been creative?

I wouldn't call myself creative, I just like to draw animals and things that interest me. My work does tend to move to many different subjects and materials but I always go back to animal portraits when I'm done experimenting with other art pieces. 

Does your work move across a variety of subject matter?

I choose my mediums for my art pieces just by what I want to do, with charcoal , wood burning and now digital art I can incorporate much more detail then I could with painting because I'm just not skilled enough at painting but I do love the colours I get with paint. Sometimes I might lean towards whichever one I felt I just haven't touched in a while and make sure to get practice in with it.

Where did you train as an artist? Or are you self-trained? In either case, what is something you’ve learned about doing portraits of animals that you could pass onto a beginner?

I was self taught until after high school where I enrolled at UFV (University of the Fraser Valley) for art classes, there I got to practice many different things which made me go from only pencil drawings to , charcoal and paint. My father showed me wood burning and I self taught myself that with a few pointers and practice. I am currently doing digital art and very new to it but find it very fun. The one thing I could say about drawing animals to make sure the fur isn't in all one direction and that it flows in many different directions, and it's OK to have a few hairs fly away from the rest. 

Do you work off a series of images for each animal? What does your process look like for each of these pieces?

I normally have no series of Images I just pick up my materials and think about what I want to draw. Sometimes I'll go out and photograph what animal I want to draw, such as a dog or cat and use that as a reference. I don't really have a good set up I'll look at my tiny phone screen at the picture I took and then start sketching an outline from there. I don't do what other artists do where they draw circles and lines to mark where everything goes I just start drawing it and correcting as I go based on what I see. I'll normally start drawing the animal with the eyes or if I find that too difficult I'll start with the left side of the face and making the outline of the face and then matching up where the eyes should go. For charcoals I like to build up layers like I would for painting and I use the hard sticks, compressed charcoal, and I like to use vine charcoal, and for the eyes I use charcoal pencils. For wood burning it's all done with my little heated pen which I can change the heat on making one line at a time , a very slow process. Typically a large drawing of mine around 32" x 28" or somewhere around that will take anywhere from 4 to 6 hours and sometimes I'll do two in one day. Wood burning takes me much longer such as 36 hours to do a piece.

"Polar Bear" by Brandon Wolfe, Charcoal on Paper, 33" x 27"

Is there an artwork in “Animals” that you are most proud of? And if yes, which ones and why?

I might be most proud of the wood burning of the bear I did as that was my 2nd ever wood burning my third being a 8 foot long table mural. 

Is there an artist, or an artistic movement that inspires you?

I actually don't know many artists but I have seen Robert Bateman's paintings and wish I can get to a level close to that one day, I didn't start drawing seriously until late high school which I wish I had started sooner for more practice. 

How has the on-going pandemic affected your creative practice?

The pandemic has affected me because it's become harder to go out and photograph subjects for commissions and my own personal projects. 

Do you have any advice for other artists or what is some good artistic advice you’ve gotten in the past?

The best advice I've gotten is that not to worry about making a mistake , just go with it , work around it, learn from it, and improve by seeing what you can do next time.

"Small Tiger" by Brandon Wolfe, Acrylic on Canvas, 8" x 8"

The LAC would like to thank Brandon again for his time and the hard work he put into creating the "Animals" exhibition. Brandon is an artist we will enjoy watching and developing over the years. If you haven't yet popped over to view Brandon's solo exhibition click HERE to see his show!