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WV Artist on Display: Trey Bryan. Lewisburg’s Newest Resident Artist.

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Meet Trey Bryan, Lewisburg’s newest resident artist. His gallery is near the Lewis Theatre at 857 Court St N. in downtown. Trey’s work can best be described as “representational drawing and painting,” This term might sound boring “we know”… but you will find that most of his work is abstract and “painterly.” Trey describes his art as “ultimately a hunt for the narrative, sifting through composition, light, value and color of my everyday life to uncover the environment I’m experiencing.” Trey creates a lot of plain air paintings, drawings from life in his sketchbook, and big studio compositions that are only made in the studio, but inspired from life. He says “lots of overlaying shapes and paint application piled on a canvas- that pretty much sums it up.” Learn more about Trey and what inspires him with our Q&A:

What inspired you to specialize in fine art?

I’ve always been an artist, since I was little. I always drew in all my school books and desks, I drew all over the walls in my bedroom- which is why I also do mural work now- it’s in my blood. I’ve always enjoyed making things and “being an artist,” having control of my product and lifestyle. I just love drawing and painting.

How do you describe your palette?

My palette used to consist of only primary colors. I used to be a purist in a since, using three key colors and knowing where all my colors came from. But now it’s sort of all over the place, I tend to mix colors right on the canvas, to get piles of color notes and certain harmonies. Sometimes right out of the tube, just to get a certain vibration I may be looking for. I tend to use oil paint… white, Prussian blue, alizarin crimson, Indian yellow, yellow umber, cobalt blue, …. but I also love using latex house paint, acrylic and spray paint… they all move differently and have their own vocabulary of marks that come through in the painting process.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

Hum that’s a tough one, in my “career” my “personal life” as an “artist,” I don’t know what my biggest accomplishment is really- but I do think that there is merit to not stopping or not giving up. Not many people can last as an artist as they grow older. It takes a great amount of time to spend by yourself to create something that is sacred to you, and I’ve found that most people lose interest in their own work.

What obstacles do you need to overcome to find your creative space/muse?

I’ve thought a lot about this lately and what comes to mind is “spontaneity.” I enjoy a sort of scheduled spontaneity with my art practice. Since I love to draw and paint from life, my “muse” is the light and the shadows it creates. I’ll stop the car sometimes just out of the blue and paint off the side of the highway if I like a certain view. And if my head is clear and the day feels good, usually I end up with some art that I like, whether it’s good or not. But another obstacle is trying to find the right collector for the appropriate piece. I feel that much of my work is varied, depending on my mood and environment, I create different things.

How do you find your inspiration?

I tend to find inspiration from the environment around me, from outside sources. I make pictures of places I’ve been or people that I’ve met. Very rarely do I “invent” stuff straight out of my head, but I’m working on that. Trying not to be so chained to observation. But I think my imagination comes out in the colors I pull out of observation and the compositions I design from it.

What advice do you have for other artists?

I guess I would say to not give up, and never let anyone control your subject matter or artistic potential. This is especially important with agents/galleries- when you create what you’re compelled to make, you’ll get closer to creating something original – and to me, that’s everything. And you’ll find your market and attracted clients/galleries that want what you do. And always invest your daily time into creating art, not just thinking about it. Even if it’s just a 10-minute break in your work day, write and scribble something down, it’ll become a springboard to something else.

How can our readers commission your work?

I love doing pet portrait commissions actually, they’re a lot of fun. But I’m moving towards commissioned portraits of “distinguished people” meaning portraits of movers and shakers across my network- doctors, judges, attorneys, business men and woman. I want to create large illustrative portraits that capture the essence of an individual- this is my next venture. But I paint houses and buildings and all sorts of stuff, it’s always surprising what people want a painting of. I am also offering design consultation and brand ideation work – as well as open to collaborative creative projects.

Do you have any upcoming events?

I’m involved with the Lewisburg First Friday schedule and I plan to always share and exhibit new work then. I have also recently accepted an invitation to exhibit my work this September at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Gautier, MS and I am excited to be a part!

What is the best way for our readers to contact you?

The best way to contact me is to keep up with my instagrams @treybryan and @studiotrey, feel free to email me at treybryan@mac.com – or come by the gallery at 857 Court St N. in Downtown Lewisburg, right near the Courthouse. The gallery is usually open WED to SUN 10am to 4pm.

– HashtagWV City Paper #133. July 2021.

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