The seed of the project was Bruun discovering in his mid-twenties that he had a Danish uncle (Mogens Christiansen) who had been an artist who worked stylistically in a manner similar to Bruun's own. Installation view ofIt Starts with Family
at the Creative Alliance at The Patterson
: a framed self-portrait by Christiansen on the left with 48 works by Bruun to its right.
The abstraction in the ink drawing by Christiansen inspires Bruun's approach to the 48 ink drawings he creates. Bruun purposefully extracts aspects of his uncle's work in his drawings created as homage to his uncle.
Bruun's pieces take on the quality of audience to his uncle's self-portrait image, or chorus with the Christiansen piece as conductor.
One of Bruun's drawings. Each was begun as a pencil drawing made from looking in the mirror, with the abstract ink element coming after.
As Bruun worked on his drawings, he also worked with a group of youth in an art workshop, having each reflect on what family means to them, and selecting a family member to honor through a work of art. Installation view of some of the completed youth work.
Eric Michael Harris, who made a painting in honor of his uncle who he hoped to emulate as a minister.
At the exhibition's reception, young people spoke about the family members who matter to them. Some performed songs written for their family. The event was the high point of the exhibition, underlining the importance of family in a community building experience.