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Meet Brent Estabrook of Mugello Gallery in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brent Estabrook.

Brent, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Growing up I was always known as the “artist” kid. My parents encouraged and nurtured my creativity by putting me in various art classes, however, I never dreamed that art could be a viable career at the time so I made the ill-fated proclamation that I would become a dentist. I entered college/undergrad with the intention to become a dentist because it was a “safe” and “comfortable” career.

Upon entering the University of Arizona, I asked my pre-health advisor which major would be best for my future application to dental school. After expressing my interest/aptitude in art, she recommended that an art major would stand-out above the myriad of biology majors, chemistry majors, and the like competing for dental school admission… This moment became one of the most pivotal turning points in my life.

I entered school as a bachelor of studio arts major and my first class was “Painting 101”… from that day forward I painted virtually every free moment I had. When living with roommates, my room became my studio and when fortunate to live by myself my entire home was transformed into a studio… I was, for lack of a better analogy, addicted to art!

Although art had become such an important aspect of my life, I still did not see a clear path to becoming a “professional artist” who could make a living painting. So, I finished undergrad and continued along my predetermined path of “comfort” and “safety” eventually applying and gaining acceptance to dental school.

Entering dental school in 2010 at the University of Louisville, I began the most difficult and life-changing 4 years of my life. Throughout dental school, I painted every free moment I had and often tell people I painted more than I studied. My love for painting began to pay off about two years into dental school.

Heading into my 3rd year of dental school, and massively in debt, I had a painting accepted to the Long Beach Museum of Art Charity art auction where it sold for a significant amount of money at the time… this was the moment I realized art could become a career (thank you again Ron… I still cannot fully express what you have done for me).

Committed to art but already nearing the end of dental school, I told myself I’d finish out the degree before totally changing my life path. Upon graduating dental school, I immediately called an entrepreneurial friend, now business partner, and told him, “I really don’t want to be a dentist” and asked if he’d be interested in helping me build my art career.

He offered a free place to stay and support and guidance in the early years… saving the details of the early struggle, I will say that it was a small space where an air mattress substituted as a bed for an entire year. Every morning I would flip up my art mattress to create space to stand and would begin painting on my easel. I was never bothered my current, unideal living situation because I was doing something that I loved…

I would paint from the moment I got out of bed to the moment I went to sleep! From this point on, dentistry, in my mind, was NEVER a possibility… the only possibility in my life was that I was going to do what I loved: ART! Over the next year in San Francisco, I continued to receive small art “wins” which eventually facilitated my move to Los Angeles where new opportunities and serendipity have continued to compound at an accelerating rate.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I think this is a rhetorical question ;)… nothing good comes easy. I left dental school with well into six figures of school debt. I was completely abandoning four years of intense dental training to pursue something that was historical, very difficult to become successful in, and I was entering a business in which I had virtually no prior knowledge.

People often say that I was brave for pursuing art and not dentistry, however, I’ve always seen it as just doing something that I love… the roadblocks and struggles encountered were overcome almost simply because I ABSOLUTELY LOVE what I do!.. Let your passion fuel you to success.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Mugello Gallery – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
My “company” is a bit of a misnomer, but my art studio is in Downtown LA and happens to be above Mugello Gallery near 9th and Spring Street. I’m undoubtedly most known for my giant, hyper-textured stuffed animal oil paintings. My works have always been about color, texture, brushstrokes, composition or in one word: Beauty. With that said, I am forever exploring new techniques and styles and have several new series in the works yet to be unveiled.

My hope is that the quality and visual impact of my pieces will be respected and loved by the world around; from regular individuals to the museums and institutions at the top of the art world… I want my art to be inclusive and appreciated because I believe in art’s power and importance to the world at large. I’m a huge fan of true painters’ paintings: Van Gogh’s, Picasso’s, Monet’s, George Condo’s, Rembrandts’ and the like. I want to create work that people are actually excited to see in person!

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
The future is both incredibly exciting and unknown. In the early days there used to be a sense of uncertainty and risk that I wore on my shoulders, but at this stage, I’ve been fortunate to have amazing collectors, supporters, fans, and gallery behind my career.

I’m showing in art fairs, reviewing international exhibition opportunities, traveling the world to meet collectors and view museums and collections, and more recently producing my first large-scale sculpture… a 4ft tall and approximately 400 lb bronze teddy bear which will debut during ArtBasel Miami Beach.

I’m particularly excited about this next stage… my success has begun to compound, and new opportunities are arising to place my work in the public eye and begin to give back to communities in need. With all that said, I would like to include two very important lessons I have learned on this journey.

1. Do what you love!!!… it is the only way you can commit the amount of hours, effort and focus to become world class. When work feels like play, you know you are on the right path.

2. People, relationships, friends!!!… without these, the journey has little purpose. Recruit others whose strengths are your weakness. Damien Hirst credits a lot of his success to his manager Frank Dunphy… James at Mugello Gallery is my Frank Dunphy.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 818 S. Spring St. Los Angeles CA, 90014
  • Website: www.brentestabrook.com
  • Phone: (213) 374-5959
  • Email: brent@brentestabrook.com
  • Instagram: @brentestabrook @mugellogallery
  • Facebook: @brentestabrookart
  • Twitter: @brent_estabrook
  • Other: www.mugellogallery.com


Image Credit:

Peter Koloff IG: @peterKoloff

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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