What Does He Do: There is not a single goth in all of Houston without at least one Bret Harmeyer print in their house. His work is famous for its dark imagery, especially his anthropomorphic insects and masked protagonist. Bret works primarily in water color, though he has recently branched out into sculpture. Perhaps the most striking aspect of Harmeyer's work is the way he uses bright colors to illicit the uncanny. His soft blues and earth tones seem garish and dreamlike, giving finality to his surrealistic landscapes and pale subjects.
Why He Enjoys It: Harmeyer loves the way that errant psychological musings of his can easily be translated in visual images that will invoke those same musing in those that view them.
"What I enjoy most is when I feel that the work I've created is as moving as the catalyst that inspired it," said Harmeyer.
What Inspires Him: It doesn't take an art history major to see that Harmeyer is a big fan of medieval and renaissance paintings. Much of the colors and compositions he utilizes echo the great works from those eras, as well as the fundamentally different view of the world they possessed as opposed to modern man.
He's also partial to the German and Surrealist artists of the 1920s and 30s like Max Ernst, Otto Dix, and Remedios Varo, but adds, "I don't truly have a single major source of inspiration: what resonates with me changes all the time, and I am more often inspired by my experiences and observations of the world around me."
If Not This, Then What: Harmeyer's background is actually more rooted in science than in art. He studied marine biology in college, and he collects snakes and reptiles as a hobby. By the way, when we say he collects snakes, we don't mean he goes to a pet shop and buys them. Harmeyer has been known to stop on the side of the road and capture venomous snakes with his bare hands. If that ever gets boring, he would like to study the visual arts from an anthropological viewpoint, specifically that of prehistoric and colonial Mesoamerica.
If Not Here, Then Where: Harmeyer is a New Orleans transplant, and has an affinity for culturally vibrant cities such as Houston, Chicago, and New York.
"If not that, then the absolute middle of nowhere," said Harmeyer. "Sometimes I crave complete isolation in nature."
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