This Sunday, we’re looking at the art studio of Diedrick Brackens. Brackens is a textile artist who draws on traditional methods of weaving and fabric-making to comment on issues of sociopolitics, black history, and cultural identity. Through his work with the traditionally “feminine” craft of textile weaving, Brackens addresses ideas of masculinity through the lens of his identity as a queer man, as well as challenging notions of fine art versus craft.
In his practice the artist sometimes draws on his own memories and experiences of growing up in Mexia, Texas, using allegorical and metaphorical imagery to position these personal stories within a greater cultural narrative.
While this is a fairly close shot, we can still see some of the objects that make up Brackens’ practice. Front and centre, naturally, is the artist’s loom. In the background we can see some works-in-progress or studies, as well as some miscellaneous studio equipment. I wonder if the artist sketches out designs before producing the finished product on the loom, or if he creates a loomed mock-up, in the same way that a sculptor might produce a small-scale clay model.
Brackens’ use of the loom is reminiscent of Robin Kang’s studio, though Brackens’ method of working appears more strictly traditional. His loom is totally manual, which lends a sense that the studio must be a place of dedicated, almost meditative work. The artist looks to be enjoying the process, in this image.
Brackens is currently based in Los Angeles. The 30-year-old artist was recently the recipient of the Joyce Alexandar Wein Artist Prize from the Studio Museum in Harlem.