Brittany Fanning grew up in Florida, bitter from sunburns and fearing alligators. She studied fine art in Dahlonega, Georgia where she was heavily influenced by Appalachian artists and their painterly figurative work. She then moved to South Korea, where she began painting the neighborhoods of Seoul.
Brittany juxtaposes serenity with chaos. Typically a figure sits in the foreground, enjoying a glass of wine or admiring her cat, while a volcano erupts or a fire tornado whirls towards her. Blissfully unaware or simply just used to it. Each scene contains a wry sense of humor and a guilty appreciation for luxury fashion.
Alligators were once a symbol of danger, but overtime, Brittany grew to appreciate the reptiles. Now they act as pet-like companions in her work.
After spending 2020 inside her Seoul apartment, it’s evident that much of Brittany’s work is heavily inspired by media consumed during the pandemic; Quentin Tarantino films, comedians, true crime podcasts and 90’s hip hop.
Where are you from? Did you grow up in a creative environment?
I grew up in Florida. My family always fostered my creativity, although no one made art themselves. One summer vacation started with my grandma giving me a massive box of A4 paper and markers to draw with. I remember feeling elated. I moved to North Georgia when I was 16 and fell in love with the outsider artists Appalachia had to offer. I think that’s when I knew I wanted to paint for a career.
Who or what has compelled and/or encouraged you to create your art?
It’s all I want to do, to a fault sometimes. I’ll hide away in my studio for weeks and avoid all social engagements if possible. Of course family and friends encourage me, but it’s more of my own eagerness to see certain concepts and color palettes on a canvas.
What is the key topic or issue that your work addresses?
Recently, my work has been about impending doom. There’s typically some type of disaster happening in the background, like a tornado or volcano. The figure in the foreground is usually drinking. I think it’s somewhat representative of how I handled the pandemic.
What is your biggest source of inspiration?
In 2019, California was burning down, I saw a fire tornado (on TV) for the first time and I had to paint it. I paint a lot of things I’m afraid of, such as plane crashes and alligators. While I’m painting, I listen to comedy and true crime podcasts. Themes from both are starting to meld their way into my work. I love films by Quentin Tarantino; how he can make extreme violence palatable because of the humor behind it. I painted a few flame-throwing scenes similar to the one in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I also love Slim Aarons’ photography.
If you weren’t creating art, what would you be doing?
I don’t want to think about it. I’d hate doing anything else.