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Gaby Broome
Wind Up Boy

acrylic on canvas
30″ x 48″


Casey Roonan, Comics Artist & Cartoonist

Casey Roonan
Cartoonist & Comics Artist

Artist Statement
“I am inspired by the everyday events, subjects and motifs in my life. I paint what I know but at the same time, I paint what I don’t understand and want to analyze.

This painting is of my little brother; it is a version of him that I despise, but I am fascinated by it nonetheless. My brother has bad anger management issues. I have many memories of his outbursts that include: throwing chairs, breaking vases, and hitting etc. I depicted him here with a doll like lifelessness and a metal windup screw to explore that question of who is in control. Without realizing it, he is really a slave to his own impulses.

I am also using the figure in the painting as a device to express the feeling of the mundanity of the everyday that creeps up on you when you realize that you are doing the actions without feeling anything. It feels important to maintain that control over my live even if being in control, in actuality, is simply an illusion.”

Video Transcript

“This is a really lovely painting, and your excellent technique really plays up a sense of mood and atmosphere that is extremely evocative. When I read your artist statement though, I do wish that I could get a bit more of a clear sense of this very personal narrative within the piece itself.

On the one hand I find it extremely commendable and really interesting that you decided to do this piece about anger, but portray a scene where the central figure is actually very inert, sort of in between fits. I think the trick for you now will be to try and find another way outside of the pose of the figure to convey this potential for this explosive fury, and I think there’s opportunity for that in your mark making.

In general, you have this style of painting that is really mottled, and sort of haunting, but I also think you could push yourself to be a little bit more graphic and a little bit more energetic, especially in the bed sheets around your brother. I think that would be a great place to sort of convey this emotional stormcloud that’s brewing.

My favorite part of this piece is the way that the more experimental wash in the background interacts with your more tightly rendered painting style, and I think you could push these two different painting approaches out even further from one another, and that way play up even further the very complex emotions that you have already captured in a more evocative but a very successful way.”

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3 responses on "Gaby Broome"

  1. Hi Gaby! Thank you for sharing your piece with us. You have a very remarkable paint style, it does have a very haunting effect that works strongly with your concept.

    Reading over your artist statement, I can easily match your intentions with your work. I feel the theme of control is very strong, however, I struggle to understand “the mundanity of everyday life” part.

    I think this is where your piece can take two different directions. One in which you explore anger, I strongly agree with Piper with his suggestion of adding the debris left from his outbursts. Or one in which, you further this theme of control possibly by incorporating another figure or symbolism that emphasizes this illusion of control. I also agreed with Stephanie in her suggestion of sharpening edges and line within the piece.

    Also, incorporating moments of more saturated colors within the painting could be a helpful technique in developing it further.

  2. Hey Gaby!

    Firstly I have to say that I am in love with the mark making on the figure and sheets as it really gives the eye a lot to look at and wander around in. The colors you chose for the skin calls to mind bruises and slight decay, making it feel like this figure has gone through a lot. This plays into the element of the wind-up screw, suggesting a narrative that it has run wild and damaged itself in the chaos. The placement of the screw on the back of the figure creates a sense of symbolic burden, something the figure can’t get rid of and is maybe tortured by.

    Your artist statement lines up well with my initial reactions, and I think the question of who is in control is really apparent. However I struggle to see the mundanity of the everyday, and when I look back, what lends itself most to that is the color of the skin and position of the figure.

    I would personally lean more into the narrative of the wind up, temper tantrum ridden little brother by maybe adding what was destroyed in his chaos. This could be done in numerous ways by adding broken elements on the sheets or to the background. Another way you could depict more of the anger he experiences is through even more intense mark making in various parts of the piece.

    Overall I really love your piece as it has a lot of narrative and emotion. I would be excited to see you continue to work with concepts that deal with emotion and the human psyche as well!

  3. Hello!

    The first thing that strikes me about your piece is how beautiful and varied your brushstrokes are.The contrast between the soft rendering of the background and the more paint-heavy rendering of the figure and sheets is brilliant, and really serves to highlight the weight and tension of the figure. I also enjoy the subtle variation of the colors in the figure, especially around the shoulder area and the part of the back below metal windup screw.

    I think maybe one thing that might help the piece relay more of what you spoke of in your artist’s statement is to add some sharper edges and lines. Although your brushstrokes are varied, the edges are mainly soft and tend to blend together at times. Maybe you could sharpen the lines in the figure around muscle tension lines? Or maybe you can sharpen some of the edges in the sheets to indicate that the figure is resting in a state of discomfort?

    Overall, I really love your piece and I’m happy that you shared it with us!

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