Tuesday, March 1, 2011

.the artist's voice :: an interview with brandy kayzakian-rowe.

I remember the first time I saw Brandy's work.  It happened to be on MySpace, back when many of us were just starting to find out about social networks and setting up our profiles.  At the time, I went by the screen name Gypsypics.  So the day that I came across the name Wandering Gypsy Soul, I knew I had found myself a kindred spirit.  Brandy Kayzakian-Rowe may live in New England but her heart is deeply rooted in the South which is evident in her work, whether it be the warmth that emanates from her paintings to the soulful connections made through her photographs.  Besides being a beautiful friend, she truly is one of my favorite artists.  And so begins a new series I'm calling The Artist's Voice to share with all of you the wonderful talents and thoughts of many creative thinkers.  And today, it's Brandy's voice I want to share with you.   

KE:  What has been the biggest influence on your life as an artist?
BKR:  Well, of course all of [my favorite musicians] plus so many more.  My husband Djerek - the most passionate, creative and inspiring person I've ever met, Vincent Van Gogh, Gullah painter Jonathan Greene and also oddly enough, The Cosby Show!  haha!  I grew up watching that show (I'm roughly the same age as Rudy) and watched a parade of amazing and inspiring people including performances by Lena Horne, Joe Williams, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente and Stevie Wonder.  Artists, like Jacob Lawrence and Ellis Wilson, were showcased all over the Huxtable home and truly caught my eye and imagination.  Seems funny but its true.  I really think that show had a big influence on my young mind, teaching a love of all cultures and art forms!

KE:  What are your favorite songs and/or musicians to listen to when you are busy working on a painting?
BKR:  I never paint or edit photos in silence. I find such inspiration from other artists.  Some favorites include Keb Mo, Stevie Wonder, Chicago, Brandi Carlile, Lyle Lovett, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Sarah Vaughan, Miles Davis, to name a few.  I'm kinda all over the place when it comes to music, but another great inspiration to me is film.  I have a love affair with all aspects of film-making and love to play favorites as I work. Anything by Michael Mann (my all time favorite director), Annie Hall and Manhattan (so love Woody Allen), old Sydney Lumet films, The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, Munich, In the Name of the Father, At Close Range, and lately I can't get enough of watching newer films like The Town, Shutter Island, and Edge of Darkness.  Man, looking over my film favorites, I sure do like dark ones!  ha!

And of course when I'm photographing musicians, my true love, I always love to have them play as I snap away.  Nothing better than live jazz, blues, roots and soul music flowing from the source!

KE:  Do you ever struggle creatively? When you do, how do you work your way through it?
BKR:  I have artists block quite often, and when I do, I never force anything.  When I do, I never like the results.  When I get artists' block, I try to go to the places that really nurture and inspire me - things like visiting museums and galleries, film, watch and listen to my husband practice guitar (he's a fav photography subject for sure!) and oftentimes just get out in the car and take a road trip!

KE:  If you were given the opportunity of a lifetime, what would it be?
BKR:  Well... I am in the midst of putting together my musician photography portfolio to send out to agents and reps.  I have a certain agency that I really really want to be a part of.  The portfolio ships on Friday!! My dream is to spend every minute I can photographing artists at work, musicians, dancers, actors, directors and so many more.  I started about 5 years ago in Memphis and Mississippi, and then later in the Pacific Northwest.  You can see some of my work here: www.brandykayzakianrowe.com
My husband has worked tirelessly to support us both while I've been getting my photo career started and my dream is to one day support him in his music in return.

KE:  Favorite childhood memory.
BKR:  Hmmm, the first one that pops in my mind is when I was about 5 years old.  My father took me to a Padres baseball game to see Steve Garvey play.  I grew up loving baseball and he was my absolute favorite player.  After the game, we walked to where some of the players were signing autographs so I could meet him.  There was a HUGE crowd around Garvey and no way I could get near him.  So I began to cry and wail to my father, sobbing that I wanted to see Steve Garvey!  At that moment he parted the crowd and walked right over to me, picked me up and gave me a big kiss!

KE:  Got a favorite dessert?
BKR:  Mmmm, that has to be a cool slice of Key Lime pie.  Growing up in the Deep South taught me an appreciation of all things crisp and refreshing, and I can't think of anything better than that!

KE:  Any words of wisdom?
BKR:  Be passionate about everything you do, never waste time, hold close your artistic ethics.  Don't be afraid of being a hermit and when you do socialize, surround yourself with amazing and inspiring people!

To find out more about Brandy, visit her website www.brandykayzakianrowe.com
To purchase any of her artwork or products, visit her Etsy shops:


  1. loved this interview...and quite frankly i had quit reading a lot of interviews because they were boring to me, but this one drew me in and grabbed me. shook me up and made me pay attention. the art is so joyous and appealing. and...when i read a love for lyle lovett and woody allen's earlier films, we had a connection.

  2. i appreciate the wonder filled Q/A .. the essence of art is here ..loving these KAT!!

  3. lizmarvin@charter.netMarch 15, 2011 at 4:06 AM

    Wonderful and revealing interview. I have been admiring and collecting Brandy's art for some time. Like fine wine, Brandy's art, like her, just gets better with time.


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