It’s fair to declare Brandon Scott a portrait artist, because, clearly, portraits are his specialty. It would never be fair to say that he is “just” a portrait artist, however. The word “just” diminishes the quality and importance of the art of portraits, and it assumes that Scott possesses no other potential to his skill as an artist. Both ideas behind that awful word “just,” betray a bit of ignorance on the part of the viewer and suggest erroneous assumptions. Indeed, while Scott himself refers to his own work as “Uninhibited Expression,” what he has to offer from a portrait is passion tempered with dignity.
To suggest, for example, that Scott’s work is not laced with tone and techniques that appeal to humanity’s more salacious side would be inaccurate. Sexuality is a major part of Scott’s work, but his artistic skill carries far more weight than the axiom “Sex Sells” would imply. What comes across most clearly that appeals to human sexuality is Scott’s use of colour that is applied most clearly to his models’ eyes and lips, which are, of course, the most sexually appealing regions of a face. Aside from the flat backgrounds, the remaining areas of his portraits are virtually black and white. To further complicate the matter, Scott’s use of bare shoulders—including his methods for exposing them—are enough to suggest nudity on the part of the model, especially when we also consider the facial expressions of most of his portraits: the bedroom eyes, suggestive eye contact, distinct youth and vitality on the part of his models. All these components combine to bring about potently prurient portraits. There’s simply no getting around it.
And yet, for all of that, Scott deals with the sexuality of his art with sobriety. Unlike many portraits such as the Mona Lisa or the American Gothic which display the subjects’ entire heads and torsos, Scott’s portraits display nothing below the shoulders of his models, veiling most of what would be more than suggestive and only a step away from what many would consider
to be inappropriate for an online audience: no cleavage, no breasts at all. Put simply, there’s no denying the sensuous nature of Brandon Scott’s portraits, any more than one can deny humanity’s sexuality. But there’s also no denying Scott’s quality and class. He knows where to stop and he does. There is no sense of pushing the envelope for the simple sake of selling sex and making money. In fact, there is no sense of pushing the envelope at all. What we get from Scott’s work from many of his portraits is a mere acknowledgement of human sexuality, much as has been seen in art since the renaissance, and in this, Scott deserves to be saluted.
Brandon Scott is an artist whose work might not fit well in some people’s living room or office building lobby, but in private office itself or home den or library—THERE is a keen fit. I am reminded of the portraits of AAA’s Stephanie Noblet Miranda whose models seem far more early 20th century than Scott’s, but whose work, like Scott’s, still offers viewers something of a sexual “pique” show, tempered with class and bathed in dignity and staves off the autoerotic at the “peak” of appropriateness.
But allow me to be honest, here: It would be a difficult thing, indeed, to argue in favour of Brandon Scott’s temperance in his work if it weren’t for the variation in the repertoire of his topics. For example, he offers excellent portraits of men where there is no hint of sexuality to the art—not because the subjects are male, but because the topic has no need of it; the portraits say what they need to say, and that is the end. He maintains his use of colour especially in the eyes of his subjects, which brings out a certain realism and psychology to his work. And, while the remainder of the face is largely gray scale, Scott uses a flatter background with subtle bursts of colour that bring the subject forward, out toward the viewer so that we can identify with the subject on an intimate level. It’s a powerful technique, but without this addition to his overall style of art, one could argue that Brandon Scott’s work emphasises sexuality “a bit too much.” With this addition, however, there is little doubt that Scott has a lot more to offer the world of art than sexuality.
One other thing that Scott offers viewers is his proclivity to interpret dance on canvas. With these, I am immediately reminded of the work of Degas for his work with dancers–a topic that is still almost neglected in our century. I am also reminded of the work of Dasmang whose portraits are powerful expressions of music—including dance. Frankly, I would love to see much more of this topic in Scott’s work, if for no other reason than that I love the arts, and dance is among the most enjoyable for me, for I am a musician, and have enjoyed dance and song many times while playing in the accompanying orchestra.
Brandon Scott’s work as an artist goes far beyond the realm of portraits. He saturates his work with potent emotional appeal. True, that emotional appeal is sometimes sexual in nature, but, lest we forget, sexuality is neither a sin nor is it a secret. Scott has no more sexuality in his work than he has discretion to moderate its effect–it is a line he treads with the skill of a mountain goat. With that, his work deserves our recognition and applause.