Meet Brandy Nichole Roels of Royal Oak, MI, the talented gal and current staff member at Yellow Door, behind Mark It With A B Gallery, unique forms of wood art with a focus on wood-burning done by hand. Always moving around from one place to another, art became the only constant in Brandy’s life from a young age. She continued her art education at the Savannah College of Art and Design, graduating with a BFA in Illustration. Her focus was painting realistic portraits, but she changed course after trying her hand at wood-burning. With dreams of owning her own business and one day opening her own gallery, Brandy formed Mark it with a B Gallery LLC, where she creates handmade wood art with the help of her husband, Quinn, and the company of her puppy, Daisy. Why did you choose to partner with Yellow Door to sell your artwork?
When I first walked into Yellow Door, I remember feeling so at home! I had just moved to Michigan (June 2016), and I was so happy to see an amazing artist community in Berkley after coming from the middle of nowhere in Virginia. Even though I have been working at Yellow Door as a gallery attendant since I moved here, I have always appreciated Yellow Door’s respect and support of independent artists. Every time I go to Yellow Door, I feel so inspired to go home and start woodburning! I truly believe Yellow Door is a wonderful space for artists of every medium! Plus, they needed an artist that does woodworking and wood-burning! How long have you been creating your artwork?
I have been drawing since I was three years old and always followed my dream of pursuing a career involving my art. I officially started my business as an independent artist through Mark it with a B Gallery in January 2016.
Do you have any notable awards or accomplishments?
Yes, and I will try to share those without sounding full of myself. (lol) Throughout my childhood, I received awards from various fairs. While I was in high school, I was recognized for “Excellence in Visual Arts” each year and ended up being placed in an art class level that did not even exist at my school, where I created my own projects and deadlines - super exciting! I also received an Artistic Honors Scholarship from my first choice of college, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, GA, which helped with all those student loans that come with going to an art school. What I think is my biggest accomplishment, so far, is the fact that I worked hard at my craft and graduated with a BFA from SCAD, and I am now a business owner with an LLC. Running your own business is a HUGE role to take, but I absolutely love it! What makes your art work unique or distinctive?
To be honest, my artwork has taken many forms throughout the years. I have gone from acrylic painting to digital painting to sculpting to candle-making and even more. It took me a while to find what I truly love - woodworking with a focus on wood-burning and hand-lettering. What I think makes my work unique is that all my woodworking and wood-burning is done completely by hand! My husband, Quinn, helps me out a lot with the more dangerous woodworking aspects (like all the sawing). For wood-burning, I draw out all my designs before I begin a piece so everything is original. Something that people may not know is that wood-burning is SO slow! It can take me hours to work on a smaller-sized piece.
What do you remember wanting to be when you grew up?
I ALWAYS knew I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. I had no idea where it would lead me, or how I would turn it into a living, but, dang it, that was my dream! There was a moment where I thought about becoming a math teacher. For an artist, I am surprisingly good at math! Another time, I thought about being a horticulturist, but I kind of lack the green thumb. What inspired you to start creating your art work & how did you turn it into a business?
What kept me on this path of becoming an independent artist was the constant support I received from my family and my husband, Quinn. Growing up, it was always just me and my mom, and she made sure that I received the best education to pursue “artistic greatness.” (Thank you, Mom, for always encouraging me to follow my dreams!) However, having a grandmother that made me focus on reality (instead of always dreaming) was not only difficult at times, but very helpful in having to make those hard decisions on how to make being an artist a career. (Thank you to you too, Grandma!) When I was a Freshman at SCAD, it became my goal to someday open my own gallery that would feature my artwork, as well as work by local artists, which is why I like Yellow Door so much. After graduating over a year ago and starting a life with a husband that continues to support me everyday, I am able to finally focus on my artwork. What do you most love about the creative process?
After years of teachers and professors telling me what to do, I love being able to create what I WANT! (lol) Creating in general is what I really enjoy. From drawing out thumbnail sketches of ideas to finishing the final piece, I actually love the feeling of challenging myself. Whenever I start a new project, I always find a way to make things more complicated than they need to be, but finding a way to make it work is the best feeling! I also really enjoy it when I can collaborate with someone else during a project, which is how I rope my husband, Quinn, into joining me on different woodworking designs.
What do you enjoy doing besides making art?
Oh, goodness! I actually really love spending time with my husband, Quinn. I know it sounds corny, but after being together since 2008, he is my best friend. We do everything together and go everywhere together! Whenever we can, we like to bring our puppy, Daisy, along with us. Other than creating art, Quinn and I like to visit wineries (I am a total wino), discover new restaurants, walk around stores (we used to walk around the Kroger in Virginia all the time because there was nothing else to do), play in the backyard with Daisy, and drive around the cities near us since we have not been living in Michigan for too long. Quotes you love or live by:
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” -Unknown
“Create epic shit!” -Brandy Nichole
“To love and being together.” -Quinn’s grandma, Lucy
Any other trivia you’d like to share about yourself?
Although my artwork has taken on many forms, the theme I focused on the longest was Romance. By that, I mean actual imagery of couples. Every project I was assigned, I would find a way to paint or draw or sculpt a couple. I just always felt so inspired by my first and only love, Quinn, that I always lost myself in artwork, books and movies that revolved around love because I could finally relate. I used to never believed in love. So when it happened, I guess I went a little overboard, and my artwork showed it. It drove my grandma crazy!
You can find lots of Brandy's wonderful wood works at Yellow Door and online. Stay tuned for more fun and interesting info about Brandy all this week!
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