Artist Statement

Inspired by how the universe is made of repeated bits of the same thing, through repetition, pattern, symbolism, appropriation and relationship; my work explores the expressive capacity of agglomerate forms. Creating from simplified marks, sampling bits of society, I aim to bring value to what's been disregarded. As a proletariat, African American male -coming of age in the 21st century- I work to shine light on forms society often overlooks.

In the past, inspired by the seemingly intuitive creative process noticed in observations of nature, I’ve been interested in how the subconscious may provide meaning to others through generating organic expressions through me. The subjects of the work were depictions of my life investigating emotionally charged themes, coloring the mood of my day to day. I hoped through creating from an honest place, striving to make aesthetically intriguing art, my work would articulate a contemporary experience, giving voice to those without.

These days, I've become interested in critiquing capitalism and western society through combating overconsumption by using creativity to solve the world's issue with waste.  A tree falls in the forest and eventually flowers and new life flourish from its decomposed trunk. What do contemporary artifacts say about us and our society? What happens to capitalism if we increase the value of trash? With an abundance of material and space how large can we create? I'm interested in how art improves the environment and our general quality of life. How can art be used to clean our streets and parks, and inspire the next generation? How can art, create places for people to gather and experience awe, akin to walking through nature? How does surface relate to projection and what does trash, plastic or eco art have to offer light? Imagine a future where the countryside is dotted by massive trash pyramids, blooming flowers... or food and buildings are covered with found objects, swaying in the wind like vines of english ivy.

As an Afro Cuban America, I'm more interested in bringing tribal visual traditions into the contemporary space. Rhythm and repetition found in African patterns are vehicles to entrance the audience. How does light, sound, and material play into expanding on this overall affect? As a global citizen, I value learning from all. At the end of the day, I love romanticism and I’m obviously a bit of surreal dreamer.


Calvin Brett’s work is in the permanent collection of North Carolina Central University's Art Museum. He has completed an installation at Elsewhere Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina and has been a resident at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York. While studying at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Tufts, his work appeared in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. It has also been displayed at the Heath Gallery in Harlem, New York; Warehouse 21 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and in various parts of North Carolina. He's assisted Patrick Doughterty and Don Kimes on public installations. He’s a founding member of Pleiades co-operative Gallery in Durham, NC. Brett's work has been mentioned on Art F City, Indy Week, Mechanical Dummy, and he was interviewed about the assemblage process on KGZR 98.9 Santa Fe.