UC-Personality: Michael Brohman
Pushing boundaries in art and life
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 00:09
The faculty of CU Denver is rich in talent and personality. Take, for example, Michael Brohman, the professor of sculpture whose work has been exhibited around the world, and who has himself traveled a lot as an artist. He taught courses abroad in Ireland, Scotland, and China.
However, you don’t have to leave campus to see his work. It may not be well known but two of his sculptures are featured right here, at the Auraria campus.
People may not realize how much time Brohman spends on his artwork. While some works take months, others can take years and even decades. He mentioned one sculpture that he started 20 years ago. For him it’s not about creating sculptures as quickly as possible, it’s about an artistic search and getting to know your subject very well.
Often, these contemplations result in a completely new body of work or may drastically change the look of an already existing body. Brohman sees the magic in the process just as much as in the end artwork. He pushes the boundaries of his understanding and the understanding of the people around him.
He said that his teaching style is influenced by a professor of his own, who taught him the love of art and the love of learning.
Brohman thinks that artists need as much discipline as they do creativity in their work. It is generally assumed in society that art is somewhat effortless, but Brohman said that “art is working hard to perfect your abilities.”
“Everybody has a great idea; but putting your idea in some kind of form, and having it read the way you intended to, is years worth of work,” he said. This is why he combines a hands-on approach with lectures on contemporary artists and brief introductions to the business of art.
To give his students an insight into this business, he took them for a field trip to Santa Fe for a few days, where they had a chance to talk to gallery owners and other people in the field.
At the beginning of his senior year as an undergraduate economics major, Brohman realized that it wasn’t for him. He was hesitant to try to be an artist, even though he was interested in art his entire life. This career path did not seem practical or profitable. But once somebody told him that “the biggest act of courage is to make decisions that you know will change your life.” So, Brohman took on an entirely new path.
After experiencing an uncertain future, he wants to give his student all the tools they need to be prosperous in their own ways.
Non-arts majors who occasionally take his classes benefit from them, too. “My biggest accomplishment is students leaving this class being problem solvers, and knowing how to approach the situation, and being their best advocates,” Brohman said. “You will get out of [my] class and see things differently.”