May 6, 2014

Sleekmaus and Stairs, Superstars of Surrealism- Part One

© Sleekmaus Brent Mosley
Brent Mosley aka Sleekmaus
I have followed the work of several surrealist mobile artists since beginning this journey in 2012. Today I bring you Part One of a two-part feature, Superstars of Surrealism. Part One focuses on the work of Brent Mosley, also known as Sleekmaus. Tomorrow Part Two will run, featuring Wayman Stairs. Sit back and enjoy the wild ride into the minds of some very creative gents!

What is your name and where do you live?

Brent:  Brent Mosley. I'm from a small town in the Central Valley of California, about an hour south of Fresno called Visalia. 

Freedom of Thought © Sleekmaus | Brent Mosley
Freedom of Thought © Sleekmaus | Brent Mosley
How did you get started creating mobile photographic art? 

Brent:  My start in mobile art came from my love of photography and Photoshop. I've never quite been able to leave a photograph alone. I always had to tweak them in some way, even if it was just over saturating them or adjusting other color settings. Once the iPhone's App Store was opened I began looking for apps that I could accomplish this on the go. The first app I purchased was FX Photo Studio back in 2010. 

Thoughts on the Sunny Side © Sleekmaus | Brent Mosley
Thoughts on the Sunny Side © Sleekmaus | Brent Mosley
What device do you use?

Brent:  I am an iPhone fan boy and have owned one since the first model. My current one is the iPhone 5s. 

Do you have a traditional photography or art background?

Brent:  Aside from a short time in my early years where the box of 64 crayons that included a sharpener in the back was my closest friend, I have no formal training in photography or art. I've taken a few photography classes when I started using a DSLR to help learn the manual settings but aside from that everything else has been self-taught.

Constant Motion © Sleekmaus | Brent Mosley
Constant Motion © Sleekmaus | Brent Mosley
Why surrealism? What sparked your passion for this art form?

Brent:  Surrealistic imagery speaks to me more than any other visual art form. Being able to bend reality to my will and creating something that has never existed and bring life to it to evoke emotion in the viewer, be it good or bad. I just want to make people think about my work. To make them actually look into it rather than just give it a random glance and a double tap to bring up that precious little heart that is so sought after as they fly through their feeds giving their drive-by comments.

The Birth of Thought © Sleekmaus | Brent Mosley
The Birth of Thought © Sleekmaus | Brent Mosley
I plead ignorance concerning surrealistic art - is there always a deeper meaning behind it?

Brent:  Art should disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturb is one of my favorite quotes that I feel is very fitting when it comes to surrealism and yes to answer the question, it's important to me that my images convey some sort of meaning to others. They do all have meaning to me in one way or another, some far more than others. To do this I pull from life experiences, feelings, things I see, songs, quotes or sometimes just random thoughts. Sometimes the meaning behind the image isn't even revealed to me until I've completed it. 

Don't be just another cog in the machine © Sleekmaus | Brent Mosley
Don't be just another cog in the machine © Sleekmaus | Brent Mosley
Do you plan your piece and shoot with that in mind, or do you shoot and then create from that point?

Brent:  When it comes to starting a new piece I don't always have a goal in mind, so it's a combination of both I guess. I've created images with a finished product in mind but on the opposite side of that I will take pictures of things that I find interesting or think could look good in an edit with no idea how or where it will be used. My current camera roll has somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 images in it. Images I've shot as well as most of the steps in the process of my edits, so I have a lot of source material to pull from.

Lost time is never found again © Sleekmaus | Brent Mosley
Lost time is never found again © Sleekmaus | Brent Mosley
What apps do you use to create your work? Please describe a bit about your workflow or editing process.

Brent:  Let me start by saying I am a bit of an app junkie. Yeah…is there an app for that? I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 350 apps on my phone and about half of those are dedicated to editing. Some of my current favorite apps are ArtStudio, AlienSky, TangledFX, Mextures, and PixlrExpress+.  

Currently ArtStudio is my go-to app for starting any edit that I do. Being able to edit and retain layers is huge in my process. I can pull in elements and see how they will work. Moving or hiding other elements without having to flatten the image is a big help.  It’s like having a full-blown computer editing program in your pocket. Where it lacks is in the post processing of the image. Filters and textures for a final image all come from other apps. I rely heavily on the ones I mentioned above for finishing an image. The more control I have in the apps, the more likely I am to stay with them. There are a lot of apps out there that have some really interesting filters or textures but they don’t allow you to change anything about them so they tend to be instantly recognizable. When you are looking to make something unique that just seems counterproductive in my book. OK, I’ll step down from my soapbox now.

Stand for something or you will fall for anything © Sleekmaus | Brent Mosley
Stand for something or you will fall for anything © Sleekmaus | Brent Mosley

Have you ever exhibited your work? If not, any plans to do so?

Brent:  Have I? Oh yes indeedy. In fact, I have shown with my main man Wayman that I have the honor of being featured with in this article. I started showing my work in studios, galleries and art festivals last year. Since then I’ve done about 20 shows with many more lined up this year. One that I’m very excited about that I recently booked is a show in the town of Exeter, CA where I grew up. I will be showing with another local artist at the Exeter Courthouse Gallery from July – September.   

When I started thinking about showing I wanted something that really stood out. After looking around for a while I found a printing company called Pixuru (there is definitely an app for this) that I am very happy with. They print all of my pieces that I showcase on wood. Yup, ¾ inch plywood that is completely ready to hang. The pieces are directly printed onto the wood and this brings a whole different element to the art. The wood grain showing through adds a texture to them that makes them feel like the art is part of the wood.

The Stag © Sleekmaus | Brent Mosley
The Stag © Sleekmaus | Brent Mosley
Do you sell your work? If so, where?

Brent:  Of course! Everything is for sale by request. I don’t currently have an online marketplace for prints, but I do sell some of my pieces on t-shirts at I am in the process of looking for the best location for selling my prints. So, I’m open to suggestions if anyone has them. 

I do sell my work at my shows. I have some 12”x12” and 20”x20” wooden prints and 8”x8” paper matted prints currently printed and available. If you are in Central California area, come out and see me. I would love to meet some fellow mobile artists and photographers.

Changing how you view something can change how you see everything  © Sleekmaus | Brent Mosley
Changing how you view something can change how you see everything
© Sleekmaus | Brent Mosley

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Brent:  Inspiration comes from everywhere and I am always looking for it. If you are a mobile artist, photographer or just looking to be involved with a piece of art, I would love to collaborate with you. Just contact me anywhere the Sleekmaus name is carried. Talk to you soon.

Find Sleekmaus (Brent): Instagram / Facebook / Flickr / Twitter / Website / Sleekmaus Shirts

Apps Mentioned: 
FX Photo Studio
Alien Sky
Tangled FX
Pixlr-o-matic PLUS
Pixuru: Photo Art from Your iPhone

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  1. Thank you Geri! This turned out great. I am really looking forward to reading Wayman's half of this tomorrow.

    BTW I like your selection. You had to dig back a ways for that one.

  2. Excellent article about an amazing artist.

  3. I love reading your fab article! Thank you so much for introducing the art of Sleekmaus. I'm a fan!

  4. He is amazing indeed! Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Yes, I found it in your "archives" - I really love it!

  6. Amazing artist! I am impressed by the textures, colors and my favorite picture is "Don't be another cog in the machine". Amazing work!

  7. Thanks for reading - I agree that Brent is AMAZING and I might add, he's a nice human being as well, which is an added bonus. I hope you'll visit the links to his galleries so you can enjoy more of his work

  8. HA I can totally relate to your art background! Love this read again Brent...good stuff man!!

    These turned out awesome Geri!!

  9. Thanks Wayman! I sure can relate as well to Brent's experience with art background. I can still remember how exciting it was to get a new box of crayons! I'm guessing you guys colored OUTSIDE the lines, right?


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