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Meet Bronle Crosby

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bronle Crosby.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I was born and raised in San Diego, to a family for whom making art was just daily life. Over four generations, we were a pastel painter, a silversmith, a professional photographer, a watercolorist, a muralist, and a rock musician. Some kids got toys for Christmas; we got colored inks, dress-up clothes, and one magical year, my great grandmother’s pastels in a dusty wooden case.

Like most artistically inclined people, I did other things to pay the rent. And yet… always there were drawings to be done, and colored pencils and paints to play within off hours. And endless classes to take. I am grateful for the very talented artists in town who gave of themselves to teach and nurture, and who offered me new ideas and skills that kept my hand in throughout the early career, marriage, and child-rearing years. Some people go to a book club; my kids called my life drawing classes, “The Naked Ladies’ Club.” I still call it that, even when I am the one teaching it.

I finally moved out of my corner of the kitchen and into a studio, and have been working as a professional painter and portraitist ever since. And I teach when I can–to share the joy, and maybe give a creative person a lifeline if they can’t pursue art as full time as they wish. Wishes can come true. I’m pretty lucky.

Please tell us about your art.
We all hope for connection, to somehow touch the infinite. Actors call it Being in The Moment. Athletes call it Being in The Zone. Some people call it Flow. By any name, ‘It’ is that elusive sense of oneness that silences yearning and stops the clock. It allows us to know here and now. When we’re there, we use our expertise and creativity in harmony. It is the state we all hope for from education, meditation, and vacation. It is what I hope for every time I pick up a brush.

My paintings are focused on natural histories: macro close-ups of the big picture, moments of transition. I paint the widening ripples on the pond between raindrops; the brief, potent interaction of blossom and bee; the breath before the bubble shatters; the moment before the egg releases the chick, or the dewdrop falls from the spider web. Blink, and the moment passes. The paint holds on to it.

Portrait painting is likewise freezing a moment. I love doing them because they say, “This person’s story deserves to be told.” A likeness can come or go with every stroke of brush or pastel. But the elusive goal is also to catch some essential quality of the sitter. If I can capture a person’s spark, it is my contribution to history– and to the descendants who will inherit not only the painting, but that nose, those curls, or that twinkle in the eye.

Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?
If you make art, go right on making it–even if it’s only in stolen moments. You have to have inventory to create a portfolio and approach shows, venues, and retailers. Take classes and build your skills. Let people know you make art. Carry images of your work. Introduce yourself as an artist. Meet people in the arts community; go to openings. Follow artists whose work you love or whose careers you want. Take marketing courses, and do the work. And keep at it. There’s no shame in waiting tables to support your art habit.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
You can see my work anytime online at my website, on Zatista or Saatchi (online galleries), on Facebook, and Instagram. There is also a large, permanent installation commissioned by the City of Coronado, on display at the John D. Spreckels Community Center in Coronado, California. My work is available to see in person through Zagö Studio Gallery in Solana Beach; A.Space Gallery in Menlo Park; public art commissions are available through Ronis Fine Art, San Diego; and I am at my studio a lot of the time, so call me for an appointment to come see it.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Grant Barba, Daniel Barba, Bronle Crosby

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