Jeremy Brown paints it forward
There are a few reasons you may already be familiar with 34-year-old artist Jeremy Brown’s work. The South Africa native and current Old Fourth Ward dweller (he moved here at age 10) recently exhibited his own solo show, Love Marks the Spot, at the Westside’s Kai Lin Art Gallery last summer. Before that, he’d gained a solid level of notoriety, both around ATL and internationally, for his Love is Art kits — a sexy project where couples strip down, splash nontoxic paint on a canvas and, well, get it on. Voila, art! Lately, however, the full-time artist has shifted to a more philanthropic focus.
In recent months, Brown has launched the projects Little Abstract and DRIVE For a Cure. The former is an art kit that provides kids with all the materials they need to create their own pieces of abstract art. “It began as a project I would do with my nephews — being a big fan of Jean Michel Basquiat and the his use of both image and text, I began creating backgrounds that my nephews could draw on top of, creating a Basquiat-styled piece,” Brown says. “The kit includes a large screenprinted background, and the kids are instructed to answer 22 fun and inspiring questions by writing or drawing their responses.” Little Abstract aims to help youngsters harness their creativity and channel it into their own keepsake artwork.
DRIVE For a Cure is another project close to Brown’s heart—he created it in partnership with his longtime friend Steve Dezember, who was diagnosed with the progressive neurodegenerative disease ALS in 2011 and is the face of local ALS organization HOPE for Steve. “I created the project to not only provide a means for Steve to create, but also as a means for him to raise much needed awareness and funds for the disease,” Brown says. “The DRIVE paintings are created by me pouring paint on the wheels of Steve's electric wheelchair while he drives it across the canvas.” Steve picks all of the colors — Brown just pours the paint. “My for-profit projects are what have allowed me to dedicate my time and resources to philanthropic projects,” he adds, “so they essentially go hand-in-hand for me.”
Locals can check out the pieces for themselves during a DRIVE exhibit opening at ABV Gallery this March, and see more of Brown’s solo work at a show dubbed Light and Love, opening in July at Kai Lin. “Creating is my biggest passion,” says the artist. “Whether creating art, products or even just positive inspiration for others, it's what I live for.”