D.C. artist Brian Bailey chats about using art as a tool to help kids express themselves and his newest project “House of Splatter.”
Brian Bailey had no intention of becoming a visual artist, at least not that he knew of. But as soon as he picked up a paintbrush as a 31-year-old, he knew that he had no choice but to seriously pursue his artistry and share it with the world.
“I kept painting and I kept painting, and then I fell upon my style,” Bailey says. “It was a good release for me. It was an outlet that I never really had.”
Initially making a career out of car wrapping, Bailey subconsciously had an inclination toward the creative. From each vibrant paint stroke to the next, Bailey realized his true passion, but more importantly, he also recognized the power of having an outlet for your emotions. Finding that his freeform art style allowed him to freely explore his own feelings and opinions, he began to think about what it could do for others. As a kid growing up in DMV, Bailey wished he would have had the space the channel his emotions creatively. For the artist, it came naturally to work alongside Two Rivers Charter School and Opportunities For Deserving Children, guiding children to explore their feelings through art.
“I know how it feels to be a teenager trying to figure out life but you really don’t have the guidance,” Bailey says. “Why not give them an outlet whether it’d be like painting on the canvas or something [else] and let them know how they can express themselves?”
Bailey defines himself as an artist with a mission to heal. To him, art is a necessary outlet that can even save children from engaging in harm, especially growing up in instability. By extension of that, the artist believes that investing in the arts in schools is essential to support children’s growth.
“[These kids] are in their nurturing stages, we need to grab them, nurture them, get them into something creative, and let them blossom,” Bailey says. “The kids nowadays, all they have is Instagram and YouTube, and we know how deep those rabbit holes can go in the wrong direction. I’d rather be out there in their face … just helping them understand that life can be great doing it your own way.”
Bailey’s belief in art as a tool of healing not only extends to children, but it also is a tool he teaches adults. In celebration of the South by Southwest Festival, the artist has planned a meditation and healing art session called “House of Splatter” in Austin, Texas on March 17.
For the artist, meditation is a vital part of the creative process. Even in his sessions with young kids and teenagers, Bailey guides them to close their eyes and breathe for a couple of minutes before engaging with their canvas. With adults, he feels it also is a good tool to slow down their minds and capture their creative side.
“We rarely take time to focus on that breathe and literally take time to listen to ourselves,” says Bailey. “I feel like doing that before painting, it will help you focus on what’s really important.”
Bailey is continuing his work as a creative director for the annual Project Glow Fest where he will manage art installations and his own curated art, as well as include an interactive art experience for festival goers. He also believes that he’d like to continue “House of Splatter,” having a creative space for it in D.C. in the future. Ultimately, the artist is committed to his mission for both the children and adults of the DMV.
“I want to be able to have a hub here where people can come express themselves freely, be in a familiar environment and create,” Bailey says. “The joy I get from creating, I just want everybody else to feel it.”
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