By Hannah Lenore Gray
“I promote love as an art form,” declares Jeremy Brown, an Atlanta-based artist who has been known to take that statement quite literally in years past. His company, Love is Art, capitalizes on the notion that couples can create their very own abstract art pieces by engaging in the physical aspects of lovemaking. But these days his focus has undergone a shift of sorts. While Love is Art pieces showcase the physical act of love, Brown’s new collection counts on depictions of its emotional and intangible aspects — “whether it’s romantic or just brotherly or anything like that.“
Titled “Love Marks the Spot,” Brown’s new work serves as a physical embodiment of his personal understanding of the emotion. The pieces themselves are multidimensional, reflecting both Brown’s perception of love as well as the chaos involved in relationships. Clean, untarnished spaces counteract busy, explosive ones. The multiple layers are covered in a high-shine epoxy resin, sealing the intensity and vibrancy together in one cohesive piece. In his own words Brown asserts, “I like straight lines, I like right angles, but then I like just complete chaos as well. And text. And I like graffiti street art. But I like more of the idea of a wall that’s been painted on a dozen times and it’s been weathered over time … it’s had so many stories put on it by different people.” Above all else, it is Brown’s constant integration of humanity into his work that sets him apart. Even on the eve of his first solo exhibition, for Brown, others always come first.
Brown expresses this aptitude through his numerous collaborations with fellow artists and humanitarians. For the past two and a half years Brown has partnered with Steve Dezember II, who suffers from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), to create one-of-a-kind abstract pieces of art with the tires of his wheelchair. In regards to Dezember, Brown calls their initiative “a means for him to still be creative, to still build something while everything’s being torn down.” DRIVE, as their partnership is called, raises funds for ALS research and spreads awareness of the disease.
Brown’s partnerships transcend mediums, too. His current venture with poet Christopher Poindexter mixes prose and paint to create the physical representation of a shared purpose. “It’s because he does poetry, I do painting and then we were able to combine the two. And the poem that he wrote is basically just talking about that the only thing that he’s figured out is just being generous and compassionate to other people but it’s like, I feel the same thing: ‘What is my purpose?’ And I find the most happiness supporting other people,” says Brown. By using excerpts from poems found in Poindexter’s book, “Naked Human,” and using the style that has become characteristic of Brown’s artistry, the collaboration is immensely popular, with each new piece selling out in a matter of minutes. And true to form, a portion of the proceeds from each sale is donated to charity.
For Brown, love really is the answer. And though that can sound a bit cheesy, he has somehow never crossed that line. It’s his honest belief that love — in its generous and compassionate complex — has the capacity to make a difference that is so palatable. His inspiration comes from experience, “I’ve seen that light and felt that fire and that’s kind of what I’m doing is continuing to just push the concept of love and compassion for other people,” he says. Through this lens of humanity, love really does mark the spot.