We had the good fortune of connecting with Brian Alfred and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brian, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I think I chose to be creative and make art first as something that I felt very excited by. Making art was something that I couldn’t quite figure out and it seemed so open. The career part came after. I came up in a time when career wasn’t mentioned in school much at all. It was more about understanding art and working hard and letting the other practicalities figure themselves out. It wasn’t easy learning how to navigate a career on my own, but I learned. I have devoted my life to creative pursuits and I couldn’t feel like I made a better decision.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I make art about the world around us. I have always been interested in commenting on our world by showing it and the reflection it has on who we are as a people. That desire to reveal the world was extended when I started teaching and had an impact on young artist’s worlds. Then starting my podcast was another extension of this. Sharing the stories of my peers has been a very gratifying experience that I hope others find inspiration in. I have learned that you need to create your own path, make your own opportunities and don’t let anything get in your way of taking a risk and trying to do something you are compelled to do. It’s not easy, but nothing worth doing is easy.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in Brooklyn and a few of my favorite spots are in all the five boroughs. Flushing is an amazing place to grab food and groceries. I love the NYC museums, especially the Whitney and the Guggenheim. I love playing soccer and the fields in Williamsburgh and Greenpoint on the water are amazing. Moe’s Doughs for donuts in Greenpoint, Sobaya for noodles in the village, COS for some clothes in SoHo and Uncle Drink for some smoothies in Astoria. There’s so many great spots in the city and I love trying new places. Definitely check out Miles McEnery Gallery in Chelsea for seeing some art.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I owe a lot to my best art professors. They ignited the creative fire in me when I was just developing my creative muscle. Helen O’Leary was a huge influence on me. She taught my beginning painting course that started me off. My college studio mate Gerald Davis (artist now based out of LA) inspired me just witnessing his work ethic and enthusiasm for making art. My wife, son and whole family is huge for me as well. They are my support system.