Times of Youth: For those who don’t know about you and your work, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in Southern Ontario, Canada. My mother was a painter, although not a very good one. She made small watercolor paintings as an afternoon hobby and I was instantly fascinated. I started drawing before I could talk. I was convinced I was born the wrong sex when I was little and I made pictures of powerful, domineering women as a way of resolving feelings of humiliation. I taught myself to paint and never went to art school, which I am grateful for because they would have improved my terrible proportion. I always made my faces too long and they probably would have fixed that.
Times of Youth: How would you describe your work to someone who has never known about it?
I am Franz Kafka as a drag queen, spilled onto a canvas.
Times of Youth: What sparked your initial interest in arts?
I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t hunched over an image of a woman. But I do remember asking my mother to draw me pictures of Wonder Woman when I was very little. I have vivid memories of laughing out loud as I watched her draw a female figure because I was so thrilled by it. It actually tickled me in my chest and I would burst out laughing. Later on, as a teenager, art became a life saver because it was my only safe form of expression.
Times of Youth: At what age did you start doing all this work? Has your family always been supportive of this choice of career?
My family is very supportive, even though my mother is disturbed by the women in my work. They encouraged me to go to art school, but I didn’t. Gauguin said that an artist’s life was “one long martyrdom.” It just seemed like a nightmare to me. But you are what you are and my life was an absolute disaster until I finally focused on the work I was meant to do. I started exhibiting in 2010. My first show “Virago” almost sold out and allowed me to focus entirely on my girls.
Times of Youth: If not this, what else would you have taken up as your 2nd career of choice and why?
Music, because it’s not so lonely. It’s immediate and accessible. But that’s why everyone is doing it now and the industry is saturated with people who are only interested in using it for self advertising.
Times of Youth: Do tell us how has your experience been in your current field so far.
It’s been spectacular and incredibly fortunate. I really never thought people would be interested in my girls. The art I make is completely self-indulgent. I don’t do commissions and I never make compromises. And yet, people seem to be interested.
Times of Youth: On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate yourself as an artist, honestly?
Well, that’s a loaded question! Since you asked for honesty, I guess I can refrain from false modesty. I think I am the best at what I do. If I wasn’t, I would just be doing this as a pastime. So my answer would be 10. Don’t hate me.
Times of Youth: Which of your projects are you most proud of and why?
The painting I am probably most proud of is the one called “Daddy”, but I intensely dislike the women who bought it, so it’s safe in assuming that I’ll never lay eyes on it again. I love that piece because it’s a lifetime of a diary in a single image.
Times of Youth: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I’d like to one day find a fabulous Flash dance loft and maybe mentor some younger artists.
Times of Youth: What is one question nobody has ever asked you— that you wish they asked you?
Did Madonna say thank you?
Times of Youth: Any message to your fans or followers via Times of Youth?
Anytime anyone responds with enthusiasm to my girls it’s inspiring because these are pieces that I thought I would have to keep buried my whole life. So if I have any message to admirers of my work, it would be a big warm and sincere thank you.
Times of Youth: Do tell us how can fans can contact you to share their appreciation/feedback/suggestions.
People can contact me directly through my website www.troybrooks.com