Recently, while we were walking around our Crossroads neighborhood, we glanced in Cerbera Gallery only to see some gigantic owl eyes staring back at us. Turns out they’re the work of local Midwest artist Joseph Broghammer, who has a penchant for, well, creating larger than life owl paintings with plenty of symbolism and imagery intertwined. (Shamrocks! Eggs! Stained-glass windows!)
Intrigued, we got the 411 from the artist on why owls (and the occasional barnyard animal) have become his muse.
Your paintings aren’t really paintings, no? What are they?
“They’re are all chalk pastel and pencil on Arches paper. A critic once described them as dry paintings.”
How long did it take you to hone your animal-centric art? Or is it still evolving?
My art is growing with me as I get older. My work is about my life, like a personal journal or art therapy. I document the good and bad and try to learn from it. The animals started by accident. I was looking for a way to describe a friend of mine whose name is Kent—and I ended up finding a picture of a Kentish Plover bird. It just seemed like the right direction to go.”
A bigger question—why owls?
“The owls started because I liked the roundness of their faces and their eyes. To me, the owl looked like it was looking back at me to where other birds looked like mannequins with little to no emotions.”
Admit it—do you have a favorite piece at the gallery? Because I’m buying it for myself for Christmas. Treat yo’ self.
“My favorite in the show right now—though it changes from time to time—is My King Lear. It’s about a friend of mine who recently passed away from cancer.”