Artist on My Radar: Bri Custer’s Memories of Light & Color
THANK YOU to everyone who entered our “Summer Refresh with Minted” Giveaway last week. I’ll be emailing everyone with the results shortly!
Reproduction retailers like Minted are a FABULOUS way to support working artists & beautify your home. But I ALSO advocate buying originals when you can!
Having a one-of-a-kind piece that is meaningful to you is an investment you will always treasure.
So, yes, while I am doing posts about art 2 weeks in a row, there are so many wonderful artists out there — artists that are producing great work at an attainable price for many homeowners — that I want to keep doing this series of artist profiles at regular intervals.
So without further ado, let’s start!
Bri Custer — Memory Through Color & Light
“Memory is not just the stored past: it is an active process of retrieval, rearrangement, and revival that, like an archive, calls to mind that which it archives.”(from the artist’s statement)
Bri is a fellow New Hampshire-rite and lives in the seacoast area with her husband & pup. She works as an artist full time since leaving her teaching job at the end of the pandemic last year. And, MAN, has she been prolific in her work!
Amy: How did you start painting?
Bri: I was always drawn to the art corner as a kid, but I took my first formal painting class in high school. From there, I went to school for art at the University of New Hampshire and really settled into my painting practice in that environment.
Amy: Who are your biggest influences?
Bri: This is always the toughest question for me because there are so many. I admire Anna Hepler for her studio practice and the natural evolution of her work, my college instructor Rick Fox who ignited my love of Plein Air painting and color theory, and Catherine Kehoe for her mastery of color and space.
Amy: What does art mean to you?
Bri: I think the definition of art depends entirely on the context. I guess in the most basic form, it’s an intensional decision to alter one’s surroundings for any number of reasons–whether it’s to make a decision about aesthetics or to make a statement. For me personally, making art is an exercise in observing my surroundings and experimenting with my own perspective. The process of looking and reacting on the canvas is the most important piece of that puzzle, and the end result is a byproduct of that process.
Amy: What inspires you?
Bri: I find I get the most inspiration and creative energy from being in nature. That’s really why I love plein air painting so much–even if you return to the same spot over and over again, it’s never quite the same.
Amy: Is there a particular piece of which you are particularly proud?
Bri: My answer might be cheating a little, but it makes more sense for me to pick a body of work that I’m proud of rather than a single painting. Last summer I committed to returning to Wagon Hill Farm in Durham, NH to observe and paint the landscape. I visited from the spring through late November to paint different views of the farm and rolling hills and I am so proud of the resulting 32 paintings. They have power as a collection, showing the shifts in light and season over the process. It was so satisfying and rewarding to build this body of work and find a rhythm in observing a single place over and over again.
Amy: Do you accept commissions? What is that process like?
Bri: I do accept limited commissions throughout the year. My very favorite part about taking on commissions is getting to build relationships with people I wouldn’t otherwise get to meet. Throughout the process we are consistently communicating via email and zoom calls as I bring the clients into the process. We consult on composition and color to get things just right. I have a commission guide available on my website at bricuster.com/commission-guide that talks about the process in more detail, including how to get in touch for an inquiry.
Amy: Where can people buy your art?
Bri: My available work is listed and available to purchase at bricuster.com/shop. I am launched a new collection of oil paintings called “More or Less” in May. (There are a few left!)
This collection spans moments of late Fall, Winter, and early Spring. Each painting had a hand in informing the next as I contemplated the phrase “more or less.” This phrase typically means “imprecisely” or “approximately.” For example, “more or less symmetrical” or “more or less accurate.”
I found myself thinking of this phrase “more or less” a lot over the past few months in multiple ways. I am “more or less” painting the landscape, but I am also thinking of the choice I have between more and less in the painting process. Pushing more color and then pulling it back. Swiping with heavy amounts of paint, and then scraping it back down. Do more or less marks feel right? These studio paintings are part of a constant reach to find a balance between peace and chaos and an existence somewhere between reality and memory.
Amy: I see that you are reaching out to help other artists with their careers as well. Can you tell me about that?
Bri: Last year, I founded The Non-Toxic Crit Group, an 8-week workshop venture aimed at gathering artists to discuss their work, diving deep into feedback, reflection, and process in small virtual groups.
Toxic criticism is uninvited judgement born out of resentment, insecurity, & jealousy. It often becomes self doubt and can inhibit our art practices if we don’t set strong boundaries. Non-toxic criticism, in contrast, is constructive feedback that comes from love, understanding & support. It answers questions, helps you grow, and inspires new directions.
We welcome creatives from emerging to late career experience levels working in all media from around the world. We have had members who are coming back to their process after taking years off and full-time mid career artists, recent graduates and self-taught artists, creatives searching for community and others looking to climb out of a creative slump. It’s a wonderful community — so supportive & inspiring!
In addition to her oil paintings, Bri offers a number giclee prints, as well as smaller gouache paintings on paper, both at a nice entry price point.