We had the good fortune of connecting with Brittany Lampe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brittany, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk taking is essential. I think about something my painting professor told me in university- he said “paint what you know”, and I have found myself living by that in my practice, but this brings up something important: if I limit myself and my experiences then I have less to paint! I think about risk taking in my life as getting outside my comfort zone, via travel, or just doing something out of the norm to gain more personal experiences that will hopefully inspire me and impact my art. I would not be making the art I am if I hadn’t taken some risks, both personally and professionally. For example, when my husband and I were moved to Okinawa Japan for his military service, I had to really start over with a lot of things, and try to find my artistic voice while learning about the island, the art scene, and building relationships and connections to learn how to grow in this new environment. Now we are returning to the United States five years later, and I will have to take risks again to start in a new environment. I definitely owe a lot to the extra push from the military to move and get out of my comfort zone and face the challenges of moving my career around the world…but it has helped me nourish my art with so many experiences. So paint what you know, but make sure you get outside of the studio and take risks to add to your library of ideas!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art is always growing and changing because it is a reflection of my personal experiences- right now I am leaning into more of a relationship between nature and mental health, with some abstraction and imagery represented. I work in layers, and have been enjoying the process more than anything lately. The plan is sometimes to just have no plan- go in with a bare canvas and start intuitively until things catch. Other times I see something when I’m driving or running, and I immediately have a connection to it and know it will be part of a painting. I think with my work I just have learned, and still am learning, to trust my intuition and let my art come from a place of passion and truth. I am really excited about the rest of my life! I get excited to be in my studio and practice a lot of gratitude that I am able to be a full time artist- it has always been my path and a dream come true. It did not come without a lot of hard work of course, but again, I believe in honesty, truth, and passion, and of course perseverance. I think I really started opening doors with my art when I was making things that I was happy about, and not necessarily what I “thought” other people wanted to see. That definitely comes through when you are putting that much time and energy into something. I really learned to just be myself, and I still get nervous sometimes when I am introducing people to a new painting or project I am working on- but if it is something I am putting my heart into I try to remember to not worry so much about what people may think. Part of making art is just being brave. Not waiting to know it all before you start, otherwise you will never get started. Don’t wait to share something you have made because you never know who needs to see your art or how it will touch them. I have found that people relate through art more than I realized, and being honest and telling my story has really helped me personally and professionally.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well if you are coming to Okinawa Japan welcome! It is such a beautiful island full of kindness, color, and culture and we are extremely sad to be leaving. We would definitely be eating at our local ramen and sushi spots! I really love the fish markets, you can see so many beautiful catches just waiting on ice to be selected- and you can choose to eat it raw (sashimi) or usually there is a chef that will grill it up for you! Our favorite type of restaurant are the Izakaya- these restaurants offer small plates, and we get a variety of things to share- yakisoba noodles, deep fried vegetables, and a warm sake! We love the food here! Hang out spots are definitely the beach- we live in the middle of the island, and heading north is where all of the gorgeous secluded beaches are. That is usually where I go for inspiration or relaxation. What is beautiful and unique about the beaches is the water is crystal clear turquoise blue, and the beach sometimes runs right into the jungle and mountains. It really is gorgeous and the snorkeling is excellent! A good jungle hike after some beach time would definitely be on the agenda. If you’re looking for somewhere more condensed and populated, American Village or Naha is more of a city life, with lots of fun shopping and food. Those areas are also very interesting because of the people watching, and lots of unique buildings and murals everywhere.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I need to give a shoutout to my Okinawa community; both military and locals. There were so many local galleries and events that were willing to give me a chance, a platform to showcase my work, and an art community I love so much on this tiny island. The military community here has been so so so supportive of spouses like me with small businesses. I was fortunate enough to also exhibit and sell my work on base, and the love and support I received at events was very humbling and I have so much gratitude for these last few years. I never thought I would touch so many people with my art, and I truly believe I am able to continue to pursue my passion because of all of these people. Of course extra shoutout to my husband- I often overflow out of my studio into the living room and ask him for help with event preparation, and he puts up with my crazy artistic antics!
Kayla Kirby Photography