Chandra Brooks: Artist and Designer for United Colors of N.I.M.B.Y.

I’ve never wanted to be a Designer although I’ve always designed things.  Until the moment came when I decided to produce my artwork as home decor, I had no idea that I could “design”.  I studied at Parsons School of Design in New York, and on most levels, I did not belong there.  I’m the kind of Artist who complains about how other Artists: drink too much coffee in fashionable cafes, glamorously attired, when they should be transforming ash into inks while wearing Cinderella’s dirty rags in their studios.  In school, the designers were career driven,  industrious and tidy.  When they drew a grid, they laid it out with rulers, stainless steel straight edges and portable right angles.  I eyeballed my grids and used whatever book, magazine and edge seemed appropriate.  And ohhhhhh how they (Designers) could present themselves!  They were living, breathing marketability with complete portfolio and elevator pitch exhaled and revealed at a moment’s notice.

Artists are the Court Jester: secretly advising mad kings such as Hamlet, while only being tolerated publicly or intermittently revered.  In my mind, Artist’s design images which narrate unseen realities and reflect upon what should be known or seen in a voice which makes our knowledge accessible to all factions of society.  Designers create the cages and boundaries of these realities within societal comfort zones. Generally speaking, design objects are inoffensive because they fall into categories which each society and culture accepts as its norm.  Creature comforts vary from culture to culture, so one mans mattress may not suit another, but the design elements will be accessible within that society.

A Chinese friend in The Netherlands struggled with the softness of Western beds until she found imports to suit her tastes.  The first time she took her Dutch husband home to China he was awake all night because, for him, the firmness of the typical Chinese bed was akin to sleeping on a rock.

The purpose of my work as a Visual and Performance Artist is: to help develop humanities capacity for cultural empathy, understanding and knowledge to encourage acceptance, tolerance and peaceful interactions.  I do this through storytelling by:

  • creating one fairytale in 42 languages with images, aesthetics and cultural references for each of the cultures attached to these 42 languages. 
  • By doing so, I give my audience the opportunity to see how their story translates to become your story. 
  • The story never changes, but the: landscapes, clothing, feasts, religions and politics do. 
  • Despite all the differences, they mostly work to highlight the similarities between us:  we all love the same, hope the same and have ideas, politics and faiths particular to our cultures which are designed to teach us how to be good. 
  • Our basic truths remain the same despite the fact that many are misguided in their actions, and interpretations of what is good, just or “right”.

The artwork and images created for this work of mine, The Universal Fairytale, are the point of departure for the designs that I have created to bring a beautiful aesthetic with meaning and purpose to suit your home decor and textile needs.