Starkville Daily News · 28 Aug 2019 · By EMMA MOFFETT-TAYLOR Starkville Daily News
Concealed in a bungalow among college student housing and campus book stores is the home and studio of one of Starkville’s no table artists: Brent Funderburk, internationally acclaimed watercolor painter.
Born in North Carolina, Funderburk recognized his creative inclinations at an early age. As a twin, Funderburk found he and his brother functioned in complementary ways, each drawn toward the visual in different forms.
“He is real scientific, architecture,” Funderburk said. “I am really not scientific but organic. So the twin thing was really important. We always had these complimentary, creative ideas, and I knew I needed to do the yin and he would be the yang.”
Since those moments of his youth, Funderburk blossomed into success as an artist with his most recent artwork appearing in the publication “Splash” in 2019 and ’20.
Alongside his career as an artist, Funderburk is also an MSU emeritus professor, having worked at the university since 1982. Now that he is retired, his primary focus is art.
“I can hide for a year in my soul house, my secret space, and then come out to the world with my work,” Funderburk said.
As September approaches, Funderburk is proud to announce the limited edition print of his acclaimed work “Soul House (Red),” available only for order on Sept. 1 at noon on his website www. brentfunderburk.com.
“I think of it as a one-day priority,” Funderburk said. “You can contact me through my website and buy it. When they are gone, they’re gone. There are no more than 25 in this edition.”
“Soul House (Red)” is a primarily red-based watercolor painting inspired by the pear tree and shed in his backyard and described in Southwest Art magazine as working to “illuminate a lost but imaginably better world.”
Having received many accolades, “Soul House (Red)” was selected by juror Sterling Edwards for the Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Exhibition at the Center for the Arts Evergreen in Colorado, on display Sept. 13 through Oct. 26, 2019.
Funderburk expressed his desire for his works to remain accessible to the public, saying these prints are an opportunity to capture the life of the original work for one’s personal collection.
“People say they cannot afford my individual paintings so I had a book and the book sold out,” Funderburk said. “I had two prints and they sold out so it has been a while since I have had a print so I say ‘Well, I am going to put another printout, a limited edition print.”
Despite the success of his artwork which is regularly featured in galleries around the world, Funderburk said he still misses the true gallery experience.
“I love the idea of real live people in a real room with one and only works, but things have changed. About half the galleries in the country died during 2008 or so,” Funderburk said.
While social media has become an important tool in the modern era, Funderburk said that, in some ways, it has taken away from the beauty in seeing art in person.
“Lots of people show their work through social media and websites which is kind of satisfying, but it is not the same on a screen,” Funderburk said. “Even though I love being able to communicate my work through the internet, I am still looking to showcase my work. I haven’t found it yet.”
Funderburk worked with a gallery in Memphis, Tennessee for many years before it closed but said it is hard to find a true gallery director unless you are in a big city like Los Angeles and New York City.
“The real idea of a gallery is that someone has a very small staple of artists, and they make a living for their artists,” Funderburk said. “They say, ‘You go work on your art, and I will take care of you.’ They write about it, advertise it, make catalogs. It is hard to find those people anymore.”