Our Spotlight on the Arts is shining brightly on visual artist Brooke Crist!
We first met Brooke when she opened her shop in Shepherd’s Old Field Market (SOFM) as one of their very first tenants in 2017. We were absolutely enamored by her colorful studio filled with vibrant shades of pink, yellow, green, orange, teal, and more, often embodied within distinctive black borders.
Brooke’s bubbly personality reflected the images of her SELFLOVE themed art portrayed in t-shirts, totes, tennis shoes and earrings which adorned her store. Her unique style was seen in decorated shiny lacquered table tops in splashes of sea-colored hues. We were immediately drawn in by her ever-present smile and warm greetings upon entering the marketplace which always made us look forward to our next visit.
Little did we know, or anyone else, that Brooke’s life was soon to change. Forever.
On July 20th, 2019, Brooke’s son Steven “Stevie” Gilmore tragically died in a motorcycle accident. She now relates that “It’s been one year and eight months since my son passed yet I still can’t wrap my head or heart around it. It didn’t have to happen but it did and here we are living out the rest of our lives with an empty space once occupied by such a beautiful soul.”
As a full-time artist, Brooke has channeled much of her energies, memories, and self-healing into her artwork. She has created her own unique “PIECES OF ME” collection, symbolic of how the heart may be utterly destroyed but also rebuilt over time, stitch-by-stitch and day-by-day. Left with a huge void in her life since that fateful day, Brooke often felt hopeless in the face of so much adversity but was also determined to move forward in a positive way.
With Stevie being gone, our featured artist realized that this would not be the “same” life that she had before but rather a
“re-constructed” one. The artwork in her “PIECES OF ME” collection has been inspired by her losses and reflects broken hearts at different stages of healing, a mirror of how complicated yet beautiful one may exist during the many stages of repair.
Brooke has implored that every story is different – heartbreak may be from the loss of a loved one, something traumatic occurring in one’s life be it physically or mentally, or from so many other different sources. From the wounds of despair and darkness there can also be light and hope, which is what Ms. Crist has tried to capture and channel through her artwork.
Some days are harder and some lesser though, but regardless of the situation and challenges at hand Brooke has tried to share positivity and strength with others through her paintings and creations. She encourages self-love and acceptance for all, regardless of one’s color, race, or background. She envisions the world through a kaleidoscope of palettes that pop, paintings that create smiles, a recognition that we are all imperfect yet can co-exist in peace and harmony.
“Broken hearts are filled with so much love…love that was once poured into someone who is no longer here. That love just builds up every second of every day. That love needs somewhere new to go; to flow.” ~Brooke Crist
Brooke has since moved her shop online with her work displayed on her website and social media sources listed below. Her current collections also include home décor and wearable art.
Thank you Brooke for being a valued part of our artistic community, you are truly an inspiration to us all!
Facebook: Brooke At DesignsbyBrooke
Photos provided by artist.