December 6th, 2017
Jesse Gussow

It’s hard to not be completely drawn into the beautiful art works by artist Brigitte O’Dowd. Her subjects are almost always gorgeous women, and boy does she do them justice! Her attention to detail is phenomenal, especially when she does paintings of tattooed people. Which, as she says, is like a painting in a painting. Needless to say I’m a huge fan of her work. Everything that she does is just so damn sexy and stunning!



Where are you from?

Born in Philly, moved to South Jersey (Blackwood) in 1987, but spent my summers with my Nonna on Camac Street in South Philly.



How did you get started in Art?

I started drawing my mom's record covers in 1984: Madonna, Grace Jones, Bob Dylan, The Bangles, Cyndi Lauper ...I was obsessed.

How would you describe your work?

Girls, girls, girls ...I love women, nothing is more inspiring to me in this life. The nuder the better.



What is your favourite body part to paint?

Hands, feet and boobs.



What materials do you typically use?

I use oil and acrylic paints on canvas or wood.



I love the way you paint tattoos; have you ever done tattoos? What draws you to paint tattooed people?

I love tattooed women, I’ve always thought of them as a painting within a painting. I’ve drawn 3 tattoo commissions over the years, but I found it's easier for the client to deal directly with the actual tattoo artist (cut out the middle man).



If you could travel back in time where would you go, and why?

I’d go back to New York in 1977, Studio 54 and dump four pounds of glitter from the ceiling....and stalk out the late Gia Carrangi, a frequent Studio 54 model and goddess.



You seem to be constantly getting banned from Facebook and Instagram. Why do you think social media hates nudity in art?

I am constantly kicked off of Instagram and especially Facebook. I spend most of my time in the "Facebook jail". I'm honestly not sure what Facebook is so afraid of in terms of nudity. I've spent hours fighting back and forth with them....I’ve gotten nowhere.



Do you remember the first thing you ever painted? If so, what was it?

My first paintings were of nude models in Playboy magazine. I was 10/11 years old.



What is your entire process for a large piece, from start to finish?

I draw out an image directly onto the canvas (praying that the design of the figure will "work"). Then I fill the values with acrylics, and build up layers in oils. I also have a ritual of listening to [the band] Type O Negative throughout the process.



Where did you learn how to paint?

I’m still learning how to paint, however I had an amazing painting teacher: the late, great Phyllis Hewitt.



What do you look for when choosing what to paint?

I am fortunate to have a series of beautiful muses who inspire me constantly: two performance artists, Reggie Bugmuncher and Scarlet Storm are my heroes! My lifelong friend and photographer Marla Green provides me with images of the girls.



How have you grown as an artist from when you first started, to now?

I am still growing as an artist, I feel like a newborn most days ...I definitely need to paint more vaginas. A variety of shapes and colors.



Do you prefer Oreo or Fudgee-O cookies?

Neither. I prefer Wild Turkey and all things salty.

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