Local Nacogdoches artist featured in the State Fair of Texas

The work of local artist and former SFA faculty member Jeffie Brewer is being featured at the State Fair of Texas this month. Above, one of his pieces can be viewed at Pecan Park next to the SFA campus. Brewer said his background growing up his parents’ junkyard leads him to primarily use steel as his material for sculptures.

In a small east Texas town was a little, unique junk yard. To the average person, it was a yard full of unnecessary stuff. But, to budding artist and sculptor Jeffie Brewer, it was a landfill of beauty. Brewer grew up with his parents owning a junkyard, which is where he learned how to spot beauty in everything and developed his industrial skills. When he was young, he discovered his passion for drawing and could not see his future without art. Those early encounters are what sparked Brewer’s journey into the art world.

Brewer has been making public work for almost 10 years and has been featured in museums, galleries and collections all over. Galleries in Fort Worth and Dallas placed his pieces in the Texas State Fair’s sculpture walk for him with the help of Laura Walters, the show’s coordinator. This is Brewer’s second year of being highlighted in Texas State Fair.

One of the sculptures in the show was a pink bird. Brewer said he has always been fascinated by birds and placing them in human-like situations, like jealousy and pride. The other sculpture was from a series of yoga guys Brewer made. He likes to make sculptures for people’s entertainment. Brewer said his works’ intention is to “provide just enough information, allowing for a narrative without delving into total non- representationalism, leaving room for interpretation as well as a little mystery that adds to the viewing experience.

“I’m not sure what my art identity is; I’ll leave that to others,” Brewer said. “I just make stuff. As an artist, I consider it a gift to be able to share my vision and experience. Sometimes, it’s serious. Sometimes, it’s thoughtful; and, a lot of the time, it’s just silly. The shared experience of existing, living, loving, thinking, seeing beauty, knowing fear, feeling passion and just being is further magnified through art and creating. I have been privileged to have great mentors, teachers and friends. To continue to share this with viewers is fantastic.”

Brewer was not sure if he won anything in the Texas State Fair’s sculpture walk, but that is not his goal. Although he has won competitions before, winning has never really interested him. His main focus is creating art and displaying it across the world.

“Iwasinashowat Crystal Bridges Museum this summer,” Brewer said. “Crystal Bridges mission is to welcome all to experience the power of art and the beauty of nature. Crystal Bridges Museum is one of the premier American art museums in the country. I also had work in Kennebunk, Maine, this summer in a show called ‘Art of the Cute.’”

He will be showing work at Artis-Naples, the Baker Museum in Naples, Florida, in December. He currently has temporary pieces in Houston and Lubbock and permanent pieces spread all over the country and Canada.

With his sculptures being displayed in various places, it has encouraged some of his old art students at SFA to continue their art journey.

“I guess ol’ Jeffie went above and beyond for his students and is still continuing his role as a mentor, which means the world to me,” Kailan Counahan, a sculpture graduate student from Rusk, said.

He taught for 20 years at Angelina College and UT Tyler, teaching the last 13 years at SFA. Last year was

his last year teaching because he had the opportunity to become a full-time artist and did not want to turn it down. Brewer said he will miss the engagement from his students, but the studio time and lack of meetings outweighs it.

“Jeffie ran a fun class,” Taylor Wright, a senior graphic design and drawing major from Waco, said. “His approach encouraged me to experiment more with my drawings. His pieces are super fun and playful but very sophisticated in construction

or ‘dumb in a smart way’ to paraphrase something I heard him say once. It’s pretty awesome to see one being displayed at the state fair.”

During the week of Oct. 27, Brewer will be installing a new piece in front of SFA’s business building.

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