Artist uses heavy machinery, connecting landscape to work

Brett Loving Digs Deep

Born in San Diego, CA, artist Brett Loving was raised in Lakeside, MO where a special talent was discovered — his ability to creatively alter the landscapes around him. Before pursuing his artistic capabilities, Loving put his efforts towards motorcycle racing, which brought several moves across the U.S., and across the globe. By 2012, he moved to Sag Harbor where he saw unique art opportunities on the East End.

What makes Loving’s work particularly unique, and a testament to his love for engaging the rugged landscape around him, is that all of his work is done using a 42,000-lb Volvo excavator. From painting to sculptures, and his EarthWorks projects of transforming the land into aerial views of art, Loving has created a niche in nature. Highlighting his talents, he recently participated in a TEDx talk held at Southampton Arts Center titled “How can you be the artist of your life?” His work is currently on display at The Spur in Southampton.

What inspired you in each (or a few) of the locations you’ve resided?

Montana is geographically the most inspiring, without a doubt! There are so many life lessons to learn just by simply existing in the environment there. I also lived in Arizona and southern California. The desert is the vast opposite but lacks no beauty. I’ve traveled to every state and to many parts of the globe. Different places, different people, all with different circumstances, but arts and creativity in each place are always what intrigue me. I think arts and appreciation for arts is a universal language.

How did you get into construction equipment as an excavator artist?

I grew up on machines from the time I was four years old — 2012 is when I put the first paint brush to canvas via excavator.

This certainly separates you from others! Have you thought about other mediums, aside from an excavator?

Absolutely! Sustainable and functional EarthWorks installations are my passion. My entirety of work has all led one another into the next medium. Nothing ever remains one dimensional, which has allowed a full circle of painting to sculpture to EarthWorks installations. All lending themselves to one another.

What’s your creative process like?

I paint usually in the winter so the paint will be in temperatures preferably under 32 degrees. Thirty thousand vertical pounds of pressure go onto the canvas at times so I need the paint to remain in a less malleable form. I sculpt year-round and as for creating EarthWorks installations, I’m hoping to have something by this coming spring out east.

Being an artist on the East End is a world of its own. Do you feel the younger group and more seasoned artists have a connection?

I think we all want to think our experience is so unique and ultimately it is. Established artists, as I would say, have forged the path before us. I’ve found all the established artists on the East End to be very welcoming. There is an instant connection as we are all on similar paths.

How do you acquire the land to do these projects? That’s quite a big ‘studio’ so to speak.

Right now, I have a few private land owners that are interested in taking part in the pilot projects. Ultimately the focus is globally to create in every environment where there is public space. To create for the people. I really believe it’s time we start thinking about how we conceive public space.

What are your plans for future projects?

Currently I am working on creating a sustainable and functional EarthWorks installation on the East End. Creating a place that can be communally interactive. A place to grow, learn, educate, all while being immersed in a place that has undulations for terrace farming, collection of rain water in retention/reflection pools reminding us that water is a valuable resource. Creating oyster reefs in some applications and doing all these things while taking into account design. Creating aesthetically pleasing and functional space for all of us to use!

How’d you get into motorcycle racing? Do you still race in your free time?

My best friend introduced me to it when I was 10 years old. My most recent race I did was four years ago in upstate NY. I’ll ride motorcycles for the rest of my life.

You’re an outdoorsy guy. What else do you enjoy doing?

Ah, I like to do everything: motorcycles, race cars, ski/snowboard, wakeboard, skate, downhill mountain bike, fly airplanes, explore. Really, anything fun!

A closing reception will be held Saturday, October 27, from 4:30 to 6:30 PM. The Spur is located at 280 Elm Street in Southampton. Learn more about Brett Loving at www.brettloving.com or @Brettloving.

nicole@indyeastend.com