The framed picture sits on Brandon Anschultz’s desk. It is a small abstract drawing, featuring neatly outlined, colorful globes. Anschultz created it when he was 5 or 6 years old, an age when most budding artists are in their Scribble Period. “You can’t get away from yourself when you’re doing artwork. You always fall back to what you do. I’m still doing the same things as an artist that I was doing when I was that little kid,” Anschultz laughs.
Well, not exactly. While Anschultz continues to explore color and color theory, he has left the crayons behind. When he is not working as the director of the Des Lee Gallery, which is Washington University’s student and alumni gallery, Anschultz is creating art in his bright Lafayette Square studio.
The sculptures at the heart of the studio immediately capture your eye. There are at least 40 of them, dangling from wires, waiting to be dunked into vats of latex paint. Anschultz begins each sculpture with a core, which can be anything from a dowel rod to a ball of faux fur. (Laumeier Sculpture Park recently gave Anschultz some pieces of stair railings, which are now at the center of some of his newer sculptures.) He dips the core into the paint, and allows it to dry. Each sculpture is dunked hundreds of times over the course of a year. When Anschultz decides the sculpture is finished, he breaks it open, exposing rings of paint that resemble the cross section of a vibrant tree. Anschultz showed his sculptures at The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis last year, displaying them on intricate wooden pedestals that he also personally crafted.
Dozens of Anschultz’s paintings hang on the north wall of his studio. Like the sculptures, the paintings are also three-dimensional works in progress. “They’re accumulations. They’re about adding and adding,” Anschultz says. While the colors in his sculptures are layered, the colors on his paintings are each placed in full view, to be studied as they relate to each other. “Some of these colors are beautiful, and others thump you in the eye. The colors that aren’t quite complementary, they really vibrate,” Anschultz explains.
When asked about the most challenging aspect of his work, Anschultz says, “The hardest part is making it financially sustainable. It’s not a cheap endeavor. After the financial meltdown, which was also an art meltdown, it was a lot more difficult. I had to keep three side jobs, along with my regular job, for several years. But it comes and goes. Last year was a great year for me.” No doubt 2015 also will be a positive year. Anschultz currently is preparing his paintings and sculptures for a show at Chicago’s Regards Gallery, June 20th-August 1st. Show details can be found at regardsgallery.com.