John Brainard

by Claire Edwards


John Brainard is an artist from Tulsa, Oklahoma who is known for his large, multimedia collage-paintings. He now lives and works out of his studio in Paris, France.

This photographic slideshow depicts the various steps in Brainard’s artistic process, taking a painting, In Honfleur, from concept to creation.


Brainard admits that he never works with a definitive plan in mind. In this case, for example, he took digital photos of a dumpster covered in rust to serve as the basic canvas. Photos by Corinne Kosnikowski.

photo by Corinne Kosnikowski

Next, he decides whether his painting will work with the patterns in the photograph or against them to create a kind of artistic friction. For this piece, Brainard chose to keep most of the photographs intact.

Photo by Corinne Kosnikowski

Brainard’s next step in the process combines the two panels depicting the rust-covered dumpster into a single, unified base for his work.


photo by Corinne Kosnikowski

Brainard looked to his surroundings to provide the soft, round shapes in this painting. Specifically, he was inspired by very traditional Parisian railings and balconies.

photo by Corinne Kosnikowski

After Brainard collects all the potential elements for his piece, he creates the collage through an improvisational “back-and-forth process, of fitting in the collage elements and painting to develop the work as a whole.”

Brainard then collects materials to complete the collage. He seeks out different materials to incorporate into the piece, finding them along the sides of roads and sometimes in dumpsters.

After this touch-and-go process, Brainard’s work is complete. He’s ready to title it. He names the work “In Honfleur” after the region in which he photographed the dumpster doors, and the piece is 5’3” wide by 3’6” tall.