Behind the Brush with Brooke ‘MOM’ Chaney

Welcome to Behind the Brush, where we offer a peak behind the curtain through the voice of talented artists within our community. This week, we’re chatting with Brooke Chaney, a Dallas-based mutli-disciplinary artist and former high school art teacher. 

What inspired you to start your art journey?

I’ve always had a passion for art, which was evident from a young age when I first began creating. I continued to develop my skills by taking advanced art courses in high school and majoring in fine arts in college. After teaching high school art for two years, I had a realization during the pandemic that I wanted to create for myself, leading me to quit my job and pursue my dream of becoming an artist.

Can you tell us the background behind the ‘MOM’ nickname? When and how did that start?

I got the nickname MOM during my time in college from a roommate’s boyfriend. It was a bit of a joke for a while then it stuck and spread. As I continued to refer to myself as MOM, people started to do the same. It also helps that I’m a Cancer, the mother of the zodiac, as well as the “mom friend” in certain social circles and interactions. 

How would you describe the current art scene in Dallas? Are there any emerging trends you’ve noticed in the past few years?

Dallas has a thriving art scene with numerous galleries, museums, and cultural institutions that showcase a diverse range of artistic styles and media. At the moment, there seems to be a growing interest in contemporary art and installations, as well as a focus on promoting local emerging artists. There has also been an increased emphasis on public art and community engagement, with public art projects and festivals becoming more common throughout the city.

Talk to us about community. You attended a local high school and even taught art to upperclassmen, how has the local area influenced or impacted your artist journey and the art you create?

Teaching advanced art to high school scholars has impacted and influenced me greatly along my artistic journey. In my class, there was a focus on best practices in art but also learning life skills through the creative process, such as: time management and persistence, observation and analysis, communication, and reflection, among others. At some point I realized that I wasn’t applying those things, effectively, to my own life or artistic practice. Watching them create and grow through art, reminded me that I still had a chance to do the same. And with that, I quit my job and applied my teachings to my budding art career. As cheesy as it may sound, they (the scholars) really do end up teaching you (as the instructor) a thing or two. Now, the way I conduct business whether that be painting commissions or exhibiting in an art show, is heavily informed by the experiences and lessons my scholars and I shared. 

Your artistic capabilities appear pretty limitless, do you have a favorite art form you’re working to refine or do you hope to keep exploring new mediums and ways to express your creativity?

Currently, I’m mostly focused on painting and am exploring large format painting as a next step in my practice. As far as new mediums, I’m sure I will keep experimenting and learning new techniques to add to my repertoire along the way. Whenever a need for a new skill arises, I step up to the plate and learn. For this Oakley project I took on an orbital sander for the first time. 

What’s a piece of advice that’s really stuck out to you?

When you’re feeling uninspired, create anyway. It doesn’t matter how long or little it takes or how good or bad it looks, just make something.  

You’ve landed some seriously impressive projects, from working with the Mavericks to beautifying the massive space that’s Meow Wolf. What would you tell entrepreneurial creatives who are looking to elevate their game and step into bigger projects? 

Share your work! Talk about it, post on social media, create a website, etc. Always have a way for people to view your work and if you can do it in multiple ways that’s even better. Also, find a unique, strong, and consistent yet evolving voice/point of view. There are plenty of amazing artists in the world so you have to stand out and be professional. 

Tell us about a difficult project that ended up being a success – what got you through to the finish line?

Working on Sweet Tooth Hotel at the end of my first year as a professional artist was probably one of the most challenging projects I’ve had thus far. The labor was conducted across three months and countless hours, including nights where I slept in the installation. The sheer amount of work was enough to call this task difficult, but I also proposed an idea that would push me to learn how to work with multiple new mediums and techniques. My friends, family, and artist community are what got me through to the finish line. I had plenty of emotional, mental, and physical support. With everyone cheering me on, checking in, and lending a literal helping hand, I knew I had no option but to finish the installation. I know a common turn of phrase is to create for yourself, but I want to create for everyone who supports me too. 

What’s in store for you this year? Any far-reaching goals you’re hoping to achieve?

I’m currently working on Meow Wolf which has been a major focus, so far, for 2023. I can’t say too much about it but it’s been an exciting start to this new year. I also look forward to collaborating with another immersive art space that is local to Dallas, called Sweet Tooth Hotel. As far as goals, this year I intend to do, at least, a couple more murals to work on my speed and efficiency (Meow Wolf is my 5th mural ever!). I also want to grow the visual language of my painting style. I feel as though I have a solid foundation and now I want to play around a bit. Nothing too lofty, but you never know what could happen. 

Tell the people where they can follow you and keep up with your journey!

You can follow me on most used platform, Instagram, @madexmom. Or you can head over to my website and join my newsletter for updates on future events, exhibitions, and BTS of my studio practice.

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