model: Brennen Steines photography: Hedi Slimane
He is the artist
He is a Ford model right up the road from where I live.
He creates alarmingly engaging art.
And he is
wood, copper tubing, whiskey barrel rings
This summer, Brennen graciously welcomed
me into his home to view new paintings.
They are inspired by a transcendent experience
of confronting unspeakable suffering,
past demons, imminent death and the divine.
Seeing the work changed me.
It opened me.
While connecting with these canvases,
my heart and eyes filled to overflowing.
What a comfort rivers of mascara
and vulnerable incoherent sighs do not appear
to embarrass my new friend one bit!
I have waited months to share images of Brennen’s
exceedingly important and powerful self-portraits.
Their resplendence is set apart from lovely work
I have ever catalogued or spotlighted here.
This is sacred art born of a masterful soul,
and what a gift to the world, these depictions
of life and sorrow, of luminous healing and light!
The artist is currently studying art at the
University of Wisconsin and lives with the illness
Common Variable Immune Deficiency
(of which severe neutropenia is a complication).
Knowing details of the painter’s personal life adds
richness to his creations; however, their brilliance
truly requires no context to reinforce them…
they are JUST THAT BEAUTIFUL.
(The context, for example, that Brennen was
inspired to paint at a most inopportune time…
while neuropathy claimed the use of his hands.)
Even now I am jittery sharing such important,
transformative beauty on my humble site.
But Brennen says it’s okay.
photography: Dilia Oviedo Luciano
We had lunch together this summer at a fancy
restaurant (ha!) where my son worked as a server,
and it was fun for me to notice some staff
sort of falling all over themselves around
the handsome young model.
They had no clue they were in the presence of a
maker of lovely, so very full of promise,
already saving the world
with his gifts of expression.
and leave a comment for me to share
with my hometown hero!
Peace to you right where you are.