While employed as a communications manager at a nonprofit agency, Teresa Brazen went through a major life change. The suicide of a man she regarded as a mentor and father figure shook her to the core. “I made a promise to myself that I would choose paths that would give me joy,” she says. And she has. She had been painting for herself for years, but never had the courage to share her work publicly.
Brazen spent the early part of her life in a small village in Venezuela. It fostered a fascination with other cultures. “In my exploration,” she says, “I’ve come to see firsthand that we are not really as different as we think we are. As a friend of mine once said, ‘We all bleed the same blood.’ ”
A painter and a videographer, Brazen centers her work on the concept of what it means to be human. A trained dancer, she focuses on the minute shifts in gaze and body language that illustrate emotion and the moments in between. She says, “My paintings and video art are expressions of our innermost thoughts. I aim to illustrate that we all feel the same inside, regardless of our differences. I believe that the recognition of these shared emotions can reconnect us.”
Once she decided to make her artwork public, Brazen showed wherever she could, determined to work her way up the art-world ladder. Her first exhibit was a group show at a community art space in Atlanta called Art Farm.
Since then, she has had numerous shows featuring both her paintings and her video art, as well as the doodle-a-day project that can be found on her website, brazenart.com. She modeled the project on a friend’s idea to create a painting every day. Brazen’s doodles serve as spaces for her to experiment—they are multimedia and may or may not inspire her to create a final project.
Brazen counts Frida Kahlo, Anna Deavere Smith and videographer Pipilotti Rist as influences, as well as her experiences in everyday life. In her video art particularly, she likes to create a sense of intimacy. “As for muses, when I glimpse the inside of someone, that resonates with me, sometimes they end up in my work, even if abstractly,” says Brazen. “That could be a close friend, someone I just met or a lover.”