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Art & Artists

Experiences of Reflection and Insight

By Mayela Rodriguez
July 13, 2017

Current Listings Project Artist Feature is Bay Area artist, Brett Cook.

“I remember when the Listings Project wasn’t on the internet, or even called a “project”. It was really just an extension of an exceptionally spirited person with extraordinary wide reaching friendships. What started as a generous resource sharing between social relations transformed into a manifestation of creatively connecting people with the basic need of housing. The scale of the project has clearly changed over time, but that sense of service, friendship, and super amazing deals remain.” — Brett

Brett is an interdisciplinary artist and educator who uses creative practices to transform outer and inner worlds of being. His objects feature painting, drawing, photography, and elaborate installations to share pluralistic stories that reinvent representation. His public projects typically involve community workshops featuring arts-integrated pedagogy, along with music, performance, and food to create a fluid boundary between art making, daily life, and healing. Teaching and public speaking are extensions of his social practice that involve communities in dialogue to generate experiences of reflection and insight.

Brett often incorporates portraiture into his creative practice. By combining traditional techniques with non-traditional materials, sites, methods, and models, Brett’s depictions go beyond conventional portraiture. These large-scale assemblages combine a myriad symbols into altars that honor the similarities between seemingly disparate cultural expressions. Fabricated through his Western training, Brett integrates African Diasporic, Eastern and Indigenous concepts to document narratives of interconnectedness, aesthetics, and perception.

He has received numerous awards, including the Lehman Brady Visiting Professorship at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Recognized for a history of socially relevant, community engaged projects, he was selected as cultural ambassador to Nigeria as part of the U.S. Department of State’s 2012 smARTpower Initiative and was an inaugural A Blade of Grass Fellow for Socially Engaged Art in 2014.

Learn more at

Photo by Brett Cook

Mayela Rodriguez, our Editorial Designer, works closely with the team to create designs for the website, newsletter, and user experience. A self-proclaimed “media-agnostic” artist, Mayela received her MFA from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. You can learn more about her work at

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