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Recent Paintings & an Interactive Performance

The Factory
Opening: Capitol Hill Artwalk
November 14, 2019
6 pm to 11 pm

States of Being Traced will be performed throughout the evening.

Boundaries, Recent Paintings and an Interactive Performance is an exhibition of Claire Brandt’s paintings and a performance of States of Being Traced, her interactive drawing project. Brandt’s work is about embodiment—what it feels like and what it means to be in a body.  Boundaries explores this in terms of movement (time and space), singularity, and community. Brandt believes that what we are in one moment is different, and the same, from moment to moment. We are multitudes and we are one.

Brandt creates her paintings working from life and from photographs, but not photoshop. As a painting progresses, it develops its own internal logic, telling the artist what it needs. The end result is always a surprise to her.

States of Being Traced is a collaborative work made with volunteer models. Each model strikes a pose for a minute or two while the artist makes a whole body trace of him/her/them. The tracings layer on top of each other, creating an accumulation of figures and a whole, abstract drawing that captures a community’s fleeting form and movement.

The Factory»
Facebook Event»  

Thanks to everyone who came and saw the show!

Jasmyne Keimig wrote about my painting, Proto (Tryptich) on the Stranger’s Blog, aka The Slog. Read what she said»

The Factory

1216 10th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
United States

Photos from the show

All work is from my States of Being Project

SBT at the Torpedo Factory

States of Being Traced at the Torpedo Factory Art Center

The Late Shift: Memento Mori Friday, October 11, 2019, 7 to 10 pm

Come and be traced! Working with event visitors and community, I’ll create a floor-based body trace drawing at the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s October Friday evening open house. Kids are welcome!

Registration for the Late Shift is requested, but not required.

The Torpedo Factory Art Center
105 N. Union St. 
Alexandria, VA 22314


Tracing my nieces at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Photo by Katie Daugert.

States of Being Traced Project Page>>

Finished Project

SBT Cross Pollinate 2019

States of Being Traced at Cross Pollinate 2019

July 14, 2019 10 am to 3 pm

Mini Mart City Park

I will be tracing people in chalk throughout the day. Please come out and join in the project. 

Cross Pollinate is Part of the Georgetown Garden Walk. For more information, pleas see the links below:

States of Being Traced Project  | Cross Pollinate |  Georgetown Garden Walk | Mini Mart City Park


6525 Ellis Ave S. 
Seattle, WA 98180

Click on images below to see larger.

Finished Project

Spring Open Studios 2019

Inscape Arts Open House

12 to 6pm, May 4, 2019
I am in Studio #113 on the first floor, come and say hello!

Join us for our semi-annual open house! See new work by 30+ artists, support local makers, and get lost in our beautiful historic building with five floors of open studios! 

There will be an exhibition, WS is BS*: Contemporary Non-Western Indigineity, in the First Floor Gallery, presented by SPoCS (Seattle People of Color Salon)

*White Supremacy is Bullshit

815 Seattle Blvd. South
Seattle WA 98134

More Information

MATS Testimony

On Monday of this week I testified at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington D.C. during the public comment period—which was only one day long—against the Trump Administration’s proposed weakening of the Mercury And Air Toxics Standards (MATS). I went to the EPA as part of Mom’s Clean Air Force. More information, and calls to action are here on the Moms site.
My testimony is below. 

Good morning, my name is Claire Brandt. I am here from Seattle WA.

MATS applies not just to Mercury regulation, it also applies to regulation of other toxic chemicals: arsenic, chromium and nickel, which can cause cancer.

I am a recent cancer survivor. As such, I cannot tolerate that the Trump Administration’s EPA wants to neutralize regulations that protect us from carcinogenic pollution.

Furthermore, I grew up, in the 1970’s and 80’s in Tacoma Washington, the site of Asarco’s copper smelter, now a Superfund site. That smelter spewed arsenic all over Tacoma in my most vulnerable developmental years. That arsenic still pollutes the water and soil of the region. The lack of regulation during those years has done untold harm—literally untold because it hasn’t been explicitly studied, despite Asarco being a Superfund site.

Two years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I do not have any of the known genetic markers for cancer. I don’t know if spending my early life under the Asarco plume has bearing on my cancer or not. But I do not think that it is an irrelevant coincidence.

I am an artist, and throughout my cancer treatment I made paintings of what was happening to me—that was part of how I coped. I am submitting reproductions of some of these paintings as a record of what happens to a body affected by cancer, one of the impacts of exposure to chemical toxins.

I brought one small painting to show, the subject is a shot I self-administered four times a week during my chemo. It was intended to boost my immunity because chemo suppressed my white blood cell count.

Thank you for your time and attention. Please do not undermine the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.

Above is an image of the painting I showed at the hearing. It is part of my Surviving project, which I alluded to in my testimony. You can see the rest of it here»


States of Being Live at LaPop, Washington D.C.

Performances March 21 – 23

Friday, March 22, 2019, 7 – 10 pm

Performances with Volunteer Models
Thursday, March 21, 7 – 10 pm
Friday, March 22, 7 – 10 pm 
Saturday, March 23,  1 – 4 pm

Sunday, March 24, 1 – 4 pm

March 21 – April 28, 2019

1847 Columbia Road NW, Washington D.C. 20009

Free and open to the public

The finished work will be on view at the LaPop Gallery through April 28, 2019

I am excited to present States of Being Live, at LaPop, a cultural salon, in Washington D.C., this March.

States of Being Live is a collaborative, community work of life-size-life-drawings that I will make with volunteer models. Each person will pose for about 20 minutes while I draw a whole body portrait of her/him/them. The portraits will layer on top of each other, creating an accumulation of figures and a whole, abstract drawing of the community in which individuals are visible.  See the gallery below for images of previous SBL projects.

If you would like to try your hand at making your own life-size-life-drawing, On Sunday, March 24, I will hold a workshop for people interested trying this project.

To be scheduled to volunteer, use the button below to email me. Please indicate what day and time you’d like to be there. Each model session will take about 20 minutes.
volunteer to model

Previous States of Being Live Projects

2018 Winter Open House

Inscape Arts Open House

12 to 6pm, December 8, 2018
Find me in Studio #113 on the first floor.

There will be a Makers’ Market in the lobby, pop-up shows throughout the building including A Mountain’s Pulse in the basement gallery, Che Sehyun on the High Wall beginning at 6pm, and a solo show by Nina Vichayapai in the first floor gallery.

815 Seattle Blvd. South
Seattle WA 98134

More Information

Photos from the Open House

Horse and Art Research Program Residency, Summer 2018


Above: Me laying back on Arabell the horse. Photo by Beáta Veszely.


Last August I spent two weeks at the Horse and Art Research Program in Barnag, Hungary. Barnag is a small village near Lake Balaton, about two hours from Budapest. The program is the creation of Beáta Veszely and Marton Szmercsanyi and it brings together of artwork and horsemanship. You can learn more about HARP  here. The residency takes place on a farm where Beáta and Marton train horses and riders, and teach and practice traditional Hungarian horse archery.

There were three residents in my session, including me. Originally there were supposed to be six of us, but at the last minute, plans for three of our compatriots changed. Georgia, Lara and I were the three who made it. We lived and worked closely together, sharing a large yurt to sleep in as well as communal kitchen and workspaces. Our days varied, but generally we had a block of time for artwork, occasional field trips, time to work with horses, lunch together, archery instruction, and the odd nap in the heat of the afternoon. Some evenings we gathered to watch movies about the academic art of riding or to share our past work. Beáta and Marton were involved throughout, sharing their love of horses and knowledge of art and the Balaton region.


Because I traveled so far to attend HARP, most of the works I made while I was there are small watercolors or drawings. I often made gesture drawings from watching the horses, or horses and riders, and then created more finished works from them in watercolor. This was a fruitful way of working for me, and a method that I continue to use. During my travels, I also began to make paintings of myself experiencing things, such as laying back on Arabell the horse, creating from what I remembered feeling in the moment, rather than from looking at something. This also is a practice I am continuing now that I am home.

As a group we did a collaborative performance with Arabell the horse. The sparks for this came from the prior year’s print of Arabell, my large gestural drawings of people and animals, and Beáta’s inspiration. We created a charcoal wall drawing of Arabell by tracing her multiple times as she stood near the wall in the common room. She moved gently and we captured the movement quickly. We performed this for an audience during our show at the end of the residency. 

See the artwork


The afternoons in August in Hungary are very hot. In the evenings, one it cooled off, we worked with the horses. I have no formal training with horses, but do have experience with them from spending time with my aunts and their horses as a child. Still, I was pretty nervous around them in the beginning, I was a child a long time ago.

Beáta and Marton led us in basic exercises of natural horsemanship. In this method, we walked with the horses first, to establish a connection. The horses wore bridles, but did not have a bit. And, we generally used only a saddle pad—no saddle or stirrups. We were taught that the most important way rider and horse communicate is with the seat, all else is secondary.

At the end of the first evening of riding the horses, Marton instructed us to lay back. I had seen this in some of the videos they showed us, but I was nervous to do it myself. But, I did it. And it was wonderful to feel Arabell under my back, to let go and trust her. When I asked Marton what the purpose of that had been, he said “for you, you didn’t think you could do it.” He was right.

Most evenings I worked with Arabell, who is a gentle and patient horse. However, I did not fully master communicating well with her. I always was hesitant, asking rather than telling her to do something. This was not a very successful way for us to work together. I felt we had a relationship of mutual annoyance—she was annoyed with me because I did not say resolutely what to do, and I was annoyed with her because she did not do what I asked her to do.  Still, I enjoyed working with her and through the lessons, I became much more comfortable with horses than I had been when I first arrived at HARP.


The first afternoon at HARP we watched Beáta and Marton train in horse archery with their group. They rode a track that passed a rotating target. Each mounted archer cantered down the track, both hands occupied with bow and arrows, and fired as many arrows as they could into the target. They began firing as they approached and rotated in their seats as they passed the target, firing for as long as it was physically possible to aim at the target. It was very impressive. While watching them practice, I drew, capturing gesture drawings of the way they worked.

We learned the basics of archery while at HARP. Lara first taught me as she had learned the previous year. I can’t say I was a natural at it, but I enjoyed it a great deal. Beáta gave us more instruction over the course of the residency, enough that I bought a bow to take home and I was able to shoot from horseback on the last days at the farm.

Beáta and Marton are affiliated with Kassai Lajos “the creator of the modern version of horseback archery” and have worked and trained with him extensively. Late in our residency, we spent a day at The Valley, Kassai’s headquarters. The day began with a show performed by the young people who had just completed their summer training. This was followed by a large, family-style potluck meal and an afternoon of training for the adults. Georgia and I spent the afternoon watching the training, visiting with the horses on the farm, and practicing with our own new bows.

Summer Fields

Each morning the horses were let out of their paddock to graze in the fields. For the first few days, after breakfast, I went in search of them. The fields were large, with a copse of trees running lengthwise through them. The grasses were high and filled with bugs and flowers and sticky burrs that got caught on my pants and socks and in the horses’ manes. The horses roamed far and wide. When it was clear I wouldn’t find the horses and get back on time for our next activity, I stopped where I was and made drawings of what I saw right there.

When I went on my own, I was never successful at finding the horses in the time I had. But, I loved walking out in search of them. Each time I went, I got better at finding the pathways the horses made. And walking was much easier when I traveled on one of their paths. The fields were a gentle uphill away from the farm, and walking up there provided a view of the valley we were in. I could see the steeple of the Catholic Church across the road from the farm, as well as far away hills on the other side of the valley. It was quiet except for the buzzing of the bugs.

After a few unsuccessful missions, someone suggested I follow the horses out in the morning. A few days later, they were released to the pasture a little later than usual, and I followed them.

At first I gave them a lot of space, drawing from far away. As I got more comfortable, I edged closer, they were aware I was there as I drew nearer. One got curious and came to check me out. She nuzzled me in a friendly fashion, and stayed close. The rest of the group started to drift towards me. And then, suddenly, all six were right around me. I got nervous then, what would I do if they all wanted to nudge me at once? I knew they wouldn’t hurt me, but after a few minutes I went in from the fields.


Sleeping in the yurt was quite comfortable. We each had plenty of space, a thick pad to sleep on and extra pillows and blankets, left by previous residents, to use. The first night we were there, in the early morning hours, a major thunderstorm rolled over the farm. It crashed and banged and rained hard. The yurt lit up with lightning. I lay there, exhilarated by the storm and nervous. Was a yurt a safe place to be? But, leaving the yurt and crossing the yard to the buildings did not seem like a good idea, so I stayed in bed and hoped for the best. Eventually the storm quieted and I slept again.

Each morning at 5 am, the Catholic Church across the road from the farm rang its bells. This was no subtle, one or two rings to mark the morning hour. Those bells rang and rang and rang, intending to wake the town. I always went back to sleep. At 6 am the Protestant Church at the other end of town (a block away) rang. These were much more modest and were quieter for being further away, still, I often heard them. Lastly, despite it having been light since at least 5 am, at 7, the rooster next door crowed, and every time, despite the earlier bells, I called him an asshole. And then I got up. Our hosts told us that they hardly noticed the bells after living near them. I didn’t believe that was possible. However, by the last few days of the residency, I couldn’t remember waking up to the 5 am bells.


My time at HARP was rejuvenating, I enjoyed the people, the horses, and the place very much. I felt alive in the world while I was there. I hope to go back sometime and see how the program evolves.

Horse and Art Research Program

The Body: Power Meaning and Representation in Contemporary Art

Show: The Body

Washington State University Fine Arts Department, Gallery 2, Pullman WA
November 15, 2018 to January 10, 2019

Two paintings from my Surviving project are included in this juried show. The show is Curated by June T. Sanders and Ayanna Z. Nayo.

The paintings I submitted to this show relate to the theme “The Body: Power, Meaning & Representation in Contepmorary Art” because they are the story of a woman’s body—my body—that is not about beauty, sex, or motherhood. In other words, they represent a body and experience that is not part of the main, reductive narrative of womanhood in the United States.

more information

Show: Surviving

Retail Therapy

October 11 – November 24, 2018
Capitol Hill Art Walk Opening: October 11, 2018 5 – 8pm, event link>>

905 E. Pike Street, Seattle WA 98122

Please join us in October for a presentation of Claire Brandt’s recent paintings. Last year Brandt was diagnosed with Stage I Breast Cancer. From the beginning, she painted her experience. Through biopsies, surgery, chemo and radiation she painted self-portraits in order to process an intensely frightening bodily experience.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, at Retail Therapy we will have information on resources for support and screening for breast cancer.

See the work

“Going through cancer was the scariest experience of my life, especially in the beginning. I was lucky, mine was an early catch and I had good medical care. Making these self-portraits was a way for me to confront and feel what was happening to me. They are record of my experience that I hope helps people understand what breast cancer means to a body. And I hope they are helpful to others who might be facing something similar—without sugarcoating it, I want them to know that there is a way through.”

– Claire Brandt


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