In addition to being the Arts Editor at The Huffington Post, Kimberly Brooks is a painter and new media artist. In an article last year, Brooks revealed that fashion has always been a topic of interest: "As a young girl, I thought of fashion and color as a means to make myself more attractive to the opposite sex. My grandmother once told me, "Red and yellow, catch a fellow; pink and blue, keep him true." My entire sense of fashion was about sexualization and objectification. I essentially wanted to make myself look pretty for the boys I had crushes on." As she matured past the bright colors of her tweenage years, through the grungy San Francisco days of wearing GAP and all black, Brooks has now rediscovered her love for fashion. Brooks's recent work, a series of paintings of stylists, took her deep into the world of fashion by showing the beautiful people behind the scenes like Janie Bryant and Grace Coddington.
How did you choose the subjects for your paintings?
The list of people who I decided to paint grew organically from the subjects. At first I went to the magazine rack and looked at all the major stylists from the credits pages-- these people behind the scenes-- who were they? Some of them I knew, like Grace Coddington for example, but others, not so obvious. When I went to my first subject's house, I would show them the list. They would then say, "But you forgot so-and-so!" Or "That person doesn't belong", etc. It grew from there.
Who are your style icons?
First and foremost my mother. She has incredible style. When I was a kid she's be in the kitchen with crazy 70s outfits and heels. I created a whole show about her and her style called "Mom's Friends" about her and her friends in the 70s. As far as my style icons, I have many, they range from my friends, like my gallerist Heather Taylor who has an amazing sense of style, to Chloe Sevigny to Sophia Coppola to Madonna. Fashion is a form of theater and I see no difference in the creative energy I use to paint as I use to put together an outfit. The first designer that really got ahold of me in my adult life (when I could afford to buy clothes) was Alexander McQueen. I am looking forward to seeing how Sarah Burton carries his torch. I've recently discovered how much I love Martin Margiela and of course I also love anything by the Rodarte sisters, I think they're brilliant.
What is your daily uniform?
In the studio, I wear work clothes which mostly a t-shirt (I love the vintage tees at J Crew) 501 Levi Jeans or kakhi pants and Topsiders or black boots depending on the weather. I just have to be comfortable because I'm moving around so much. If I run into people in Venice that I know, I explain to them that in real life I'm gorgeous and stylish and they're going to just have to use their imagination. I keep a pair of heels and a black blazer there in case I have to look fabulous or official at a moment's notice.
What is your latest purchase?
In truth it was more t-shirts from J Crew on the internet. But in terms of something major, I just got a crazy blue tafetta dress by Bottega Veneta at Decades on Melrose.
What fashion trend are you excited to disappear?
Skinny jeans on men.
Check out the gallery below to see Kimberly's painting of Grace Coddington and more!
Brooks's next show will be in September at Taylor De Cordoba in Culver City. If you are interested in attending the opening please submit your email to www.kimberlybrooks.com.