Courtney Seabrooks is a painter, sculptor, and mother based in southern California. Her work fluidly plays across multiple mediums, as she explores repeating motifs of figurative female bodies and abstract, organic shapes. Her collection of original artwork, prints, and posters is available on her website, The Strange House.
Hi Courtney! What's inspiring you during this season of life?
It's slowness nowadays that inspires me. For so many it has become a luxury. I'm often moved by the way trees sway, and how oranges growing change color from green to yellow, then yellow to orange.
How has your relationship to your creativity changed or adapted over the years?
I've always gone through intense creative streaks. During these times I rarely share what I am making. I am more private, focusing exclusively on my work and my family. Lately my notebooks are overflowing with drafts. I'm working all of the time - with my trademark delusional confidence! I've been playing the long game in the art world and have adapted the way I approach it countless times.
Tell us about a project (big or small) that you recently completed.
We (my husband, myself, and our 2 year old daughter) just moved into a new home.
What distracts or blocks your artistic side?
I'm just a very busy individual who is also very focused on being the best mother I can be. This doesn't really block my artistic side, but I am constantly running out of time during the day to actually channel it.
Is there a place (physical or otherwise) where you go to recharge and refuel?
I will do some rituals, breathing exercises in nature, attend a show, travel to a new place. I take as much time as possible to encourage my spirit's growth.
Who helps you think through your creative ideas?
I try not to share ideas before they are completed. I think it takes away the desire, and sometimes desperation, needed to actually complete a task. At times though, my husband will let me know when he thinks I've missed the mark. (Whether or not I agree is another story.)
You seem to move fluidly between mediums, from poetry to sculpture to painting and back again. Is there one art form that feels more challenging than the others, or one that comes more naturally?
I have honed my skills for these things in one way or another over the course of years. Painting has always come naturally, although I haven't shared much personal work. I'd say that sharing it is more difficult than creating it. I've always been an amateur writer, writing screenplays and short stories just for fun at first. I used to imagine that I was witty - I'm not sure that anyone would agree. The most challenging medium for me is sculpture and physical installations because it's very time consuming and technical. I find myself wanting to work with metal and aluminum, or video installation. It doesn't help that what I'm picturing is always just on the brink of what's feasible.
How is motherhood shifting your relationship to yourself and your creativity?
Motherhood has brought me into a unique place as an artist. I'm very literal now. I know exactly what it is that I want to create. I understand the feeling and I see it clearer than ever before.
Also, something that we don't see too often anymore is generational wealth through the passing down of skills, businesses, and legacy. People start from scratch every generation now. I hope to show my daughter everything I know about ideas and creativity, to give her love and build her confidence. If I can give her a life full of art and film-making, making things by hand, deep cultural experiences, and ways of expressing and supporting herself through art-making, I can only imagine the person that she will become.
You can find Courtney's work on The Strange House.
Follow Courtney on Instagram at @the.strange.house and @courtney.seabrooks.