The Entreprenuer of the Month: Awtrey Brewer - Changing the way we see the world
Have you ever met someone that you know you'll never forget? Like no matter the time you spend together, whether it's months, days or a matter of minutes, they have permanently left an impression on you. Bryant Awtrey Brewer is one of those people. With an eye for creativity and the desire to explore the depths of his art form, Awtrey is one of those upcoming NYC photographers whose work is turning heads and for good reasons. We sit down with him to explore his story, artwork and vision for the future.
When did you start making art? What compels you to create?
"When I moved to New York in 1997, that's when I felt this creative freedom to try anything I wanted or fantasized about. I became a DJ/Producer. Because why else would you move to NYC? Since then I haven't been able to stop. Even in my professional work or (JOB), I love because I'm surrounded by people that I need to show my work to so it's kind of two sides of the same coin."
How do you come up with ideas for your work?
"Most of the ideas I come up with for my work are fairly simple. I'm into Minimalism, which has been a growing movement not only in art, but it is applied to everyday life as well. When it comes to my photography, less is usually more. I see a subject for what it is without any distractions around it and try to emulate that in my images as much as possible."
Tell us a bit about your experience launching the business, the ride in general, and how you were able to drive it to where it is today.
"Well, lots of people have an idea for a business, set goals and achieve them. I can't say that I really have a business sense when it comes to photography. It's been a very gradual growth, first playing with images on my phone and putting them out there to see what friends would think. That's when I realized it was something I could be more serious about, from the response I got. This started in 2016 about 8 months after being sidelined with a broken leg.
At least I could still use my arms! My family was so convinced in my photography skills that my uncle decided to give me his used Pentax SP 1000 SLR and I think from that point, visually seeing what I could do with a 35mm manual focus lens is what gave me a new found interest in this field. To make a longer story shorter, I started an Instagram account dedicated to creating an image portfolio of my work while learning how to expose film.
The only obvious next step was to build a website, which I was very much encouraged to do by my peers and mentors. With that, it was almost the end of 2016, I had my website up and found a niche that I loved. Contemporary Minimalism in color photography. On Instagram, I had come across a handful of photographers into the same style that joined me in the creation of my latest photo book, Concrete Canvas 2017. I was a little bit nervous about this. Putting myself out there internationally, not knowing what direction it would go was probably the most exciting part.
Nonetheless, I had great support and without that, I don't think it would have happened. I had a few people tell me that a photo book is a pretty good route to take if you're a photographer, so I did that and now have an idea for an annual release of this concept through my own photography business."
What advice would you give an artist or entrepreneur interested in starting their own business?
"There is nothing more important than consistency and perseverance. Everyone who decides to jump into there own ship will run into obstacle after obstacle. But these I think are the lessons that have to be learned to create and maintain a successful business. If you give up after a year because you've made no money, then you already lost sight of why you started it in the first place. Because it's what you like to do. Just keep doing it."
What direction will you take your art in the future?
"I'm in a bit of an experimental phase right now so the next immediate ideas that I've had planned are with Monochrome, Black & White Photography for portraits and a continuation of my Concrete Canvas series in color film."
What is the social impact you would like your work to have?
"In the long term, I'd like to be part of a moving car that keeps still life in film a recognizable commodity. I think that with the explosion of the digital age, a large portion of this demographic haven't experienced or have no interest in experiencing the satisfaction in composing an image before you see the result. It takes a more artistic eye. What I mean by that is, in film, your options are limited so you take more care in composing the end result, which usually comes out to a better image quality all around, also noting that film produces the best capture of natural light that can't be done through a digital SLR. So on a social level, I would like my work to encourage all digital artists to learn the analog process of what they do on some level. I feel like this knowledge creates better quality."
How did you come up with the name for your Brand? What is the significance behind the name of the Brand?
"Well, this is pretty straight forward. My government name is Bryant Awtrey Brewer. I've always used Bryant Brewer as an athlete, just because...first name, last name. When I started DJing and producing music, I got creative and used my first name, middle name and changed the spelling to Bryant Autrey. So now I'm a photographer! The only logical route was to go with Bryant Awtrey Brewer or Awtrey Brewer and that's how I chose the title for my website and official name on sold art."
Share a little known fact about yourself.
"When I was 15, I found out that I could play two cassette tapes at the same time so I went out and purchased two identical copies of Big Daddy Kane. Put them in the player and manually synced the same song and it created the Flanger effect that today you can digitally do in a second."