Interview: Artist Brock Seals On Collaborating With Rams Player Janoris Jenkins
Over coffee and tea at Blueprint Coffee, Brock Seals sits his cell phone face-down on our table, displaying a diamond that he has painted with brightly colored brush strokes on the phone’s case. His boots—which often garner a lot of attention from passersby—bear the same types of brush strokes.
He’s a walking billboard for his art, but not in a self-aggrandizing way; rather he is humble and grateful that people pay attention to his work. That attention reached new heights when the Rams got wind of him. A St. Louis-based painter, Brock Seals was painting Rams jerseys just for the fun of it before it led to him designing cleats for cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
Although the team’s recent announcement of its relocation to LA left many fans uneasy, Seals is as sure as ever that all isn’t lost. As a young artist a part of the budding St. Louis art scene, Brock Seals thinks that there’s no better time than now to create. He and I met to talk about his collaboration with Janoris, his aesthetic and what it is like to be an artist in St. Louis.
How did the collaboration come about with you and Janoris?
We had a mutual friend that linked us. He wanted the first pair of his cleats painted with something simple. He had no idea about the kind of work that I did. So, once he handed his cleats off, he decided he wanted them pink and black.
But I didn’t do them [that way.] They were multiple colors. I did my signature aesthetic so that I could present to him what I do; I just did my thing. Once he got them back, it was something that surprised him. And it’s just something that we kept doing.
How many cleats did you paint for him?
Four or five pairs.
Did any of his teammates ever say anything?
I’m sure they always asked about them. I did another pair for Stedman Bailey. Besides him, it was just Janoris the entire season. But next season, we definitely plan to get more players on the team.
So, even though they’re moving to LA, he still wants to work with you?
Most definitely. We’ve kind of built a relationship. It’s something we want to keep going. We did a lot of things within that first season—getting shout outs that recognize the cleats we were making. So, I’m sure that’s something he wants to keep doing to build his repertoire. Everything is more exciting.
How long did it take between the first pair of cleats and the Rams’ recognition of you and Janoris’ collaboration?
I think we did two pairs. The first pair was for breast cancer and he donated those and that got a lot of people looking at him. The second pair—people started to talk about it more. And the next thing I know, I was hitting him up regularly.
So you all would go to his house and brainstorm what you want the cleats to look like or you would just drop them off every week?
Pretty much. I would go to his house and we would chill in the man cave. And he would have the cleats there and say “Do your thing.” I would paint them at his house and finish them there.
Can you describe your aesthetic?
My aesthetic is very colorful. It deals with a lot of brush strokes. I get a lot of influence from Japanese and Indian inks. It’s kind of pop culture as far as the content sometimes. It’s definitely about evoking emotion with the colors.
Beyond the cleats, I know that you create other things. So, what’s your inspiration?
My surroundings. Where I come from. I just find it inspiring that I kind of picked this up out of nowhere and just ran with it and I get a lot of support from it. The people around me and how I’m able to affect the people around me is what inspires me most.
Describe your process of creating.
It’s a continuous process. I feel like ever since I started painting, I haven’t stopped. I have to keep paint on my hands. I just think about the little things. I have to keep my work ethic up. That’s one thing that I pride: My work hasn’t always been the best, but one thing that has made me successful is my work ethic. People see that I’m consistent. People see that it’s a necessity to me. I keep everything in a small bag, so I can paint anywhere. I paint on the go.
What are your thoughts about being an artist in St. Louis?
Being an artist in St. Louis in the art community, it feels good right now. We’re in the beginning of it. Art already doesn’t have rules. So, I like how people are accepting it. In this city, people aren’t as open to everything but they’re perceiving the art as something; it’s doing something for them.
And you also have been traveling with your art.
Yeah. LA, Chicago. I went to Italy a while ago. That’s kind of what inspired me midway to start doing the clothing a little more. I went for 10 days. I went to Florence, Sienna, Luca. That’s kind of what molded me as an artist.
What do you love most about St. Louis?
That we support each other. It’s a genuine support.
View more of Brocks work at Brockseals.com.