BROOKE BARTTELBORT: SHE BENDSSydney Cummings
Our next artist highlight is Brooke Barttelbort.
Brooke is a cat-mom to Whisky and plant-mom to her ever-growing collection of plants, she is a lover of museums but also street art, and enjoys a good spooky movie or haunted house (perfect timing for this blog), as she is a Halloween baby. When Brooke isn’t bending glass, she loves to travel and take photographs of her adventures. You can find her listening to true crime, hanging out in a tiki bar, or even hiking around California. Brooke loves to collect art as well as create some amazing pieces of her own.
HOW IT STARTED
Brooke started bending neon consistently in 2018 when she made her move to LA. Before that she took an elective course with Bill Concannon introducing her senses to the world of neon for the very first time.
Though Brooke may be somewhat new to neon, her passion burns as bright as the neon fires she works.
“I’d be lying if I don’t say, I’m a sucker for [neon’s] awe-inspiring, electric glow in the final stages—but it’s so much more than that,” Brooke said. “I love getting lost in a rhythm and nailing the perfect bend. I love playing in the flames and watching the glass melt. I love that neon is a never-ending challenge and each new piece has its own unique hurdles. I love collaborating with other professionals and artists, combining our talents, and sharing in the excitement of creating something beyond what is possible on our own.”
While still in the process of defining a style, Brooke’s neon art ranges in variety as enjoys experimenting with different materials, fonts, themes, and elements.
“I enjoy the trial-and-error process of testing different materials,” she said. “My previous work draws from a mixture of intimate, personal experience and inspiration in the form of film, nature, music, art history, and modern design. Some pieces I really poured my heart into, they helped me heal and allowed me to share my story.”
Brooke’s work reflects what she cares about in the world, her passions, and even her fears. Her favorite piece, Ripple Effect 2, is shown below. Ripple Effect 2 was “inspired by the beauty and importance of oceans, whose survival hangs in a delicate balance impacted by our actions.”
“The pattern for this piece was abstract but deliberate—representing a small section of brain coral,” Brooke explains. “The white tubes represent coral that has been bleached because of severe heat stress and environmental impact. The colored tubes represent a healthy, vibrant coral reef. The animation pulses on and off, giving the impression of slow breathing or a heartbeat. The frame surrounding this piece is dark and rectangular, similar to looking inside a coffin without a lid.”
Brooke pushed herself to step outside of her comfort zone and try new methods to complete the Ripple Effect 2 piece, but she completed it after several months of hard work.
“What began as a challenging pattern, became a multi-level piece with 6 animation settings, including a dimmer and speed adjustment. This was my first time animating a piece. I designed the sequences in Adobe AfterEffects, then built graphs to represent these animations.”
COMMUNITY, SUPPORT AND FUTURE BENDERS
One of her inspirations in this field of work is the She Bends community.
“They help me feel connected and supported as a female neon artist,” she said. “I’ve met some amazing women through She Bends and have been part of incredible exhibits thanks to their generosity and effort.”
Behind every great artist, is a great supplier (wink wink). Abitech is always happy to see neon artists come in the shop and help provide any equipment and unique materials for our customers—we’re always happy to see Brooke’s smiling face come through the shop.
“Abitech is my go-to for all my neon glass,” she said. “Aside from the incredible suitcase of colors (such magic!), Abitech is willing to answer all my questions and provide guidance as needed. Rather than ordering online, I prefer to visit in person.”
Brooke hopes to master her craft and share her knowledge with the world one day, hoping to possibly teach students and help the next generation of neon makers find their way.
Show your support and stay connected with Brooke by following her at @Brookelyn619 on social.
View more of Brooke’s amazing neon below!