“The brain and its product, the mind, are a fascinating subject; I question existence, both philosophically and scientifically, and because of my background, a good place to start my interrogation of life is through the material science of the brain.”

– Kelsey Brookes –


KELSEY BROOKES’ art knows no bounds. His work as a painter – experimenting with pop, abstract and traditional elements, has spliced color and construct with a scientific understanding of modern biochemistry to create a new genre of painting that explores an alluring, meditative abstraction.

Brookes masterfully melds a deep knowledge of cognitive science and art to create bright, intensely detailed paintings that abstract drug compounds, molecules, atoms and hallucinogenic states to heighten a viewer’s sensory perceptions and reactions. His two main bodies of work — molecules and aesthetic abstractions — are created with a rigorous process of attentiveness. A process of focusing awareness on the paint that is lost from the brush as it is applied to the surface of the canvas, then refocusing attention as the mind wanders away; which provides visual evidence of both an artistic process and meditation in practice. Brookes’ molecular paintings begin as two-dimensional maps of the precise locations of individual atoms, molecular line drawings, which then expand and radiate out from these hyper detailed locations/focal points to cover the entire canvas surface. The result, but never the end result, is a colorful abstract representation of the subject molecule. Often, Brookes’ aesthetic abstractions are meticulously painted surfaces that are organically constructed or stretched to provide an overt aesthetic connection to Eastern contemplative traditions, such as Buddhism.

Brookes has had solo exhibitions in La Jolla, Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, London and Berlin. His work was featured as the cover art for the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 2012 “I’m With You” 7” records and The Flaming Lips’ 2013 “Stone Roses” LP. Brookes has teamed up with RVCA and VANS among others for numerous projects. His paintings are featured in the publications SKULL STYLE: Skulls in Contemporary Art and Design, GO WEST!: Cutting-edge creative in the United States. KELSEY BROOKES: Psychedelic Space is the first monograph of the artist’s artwork and examines three years of work and four solo exhibitions. His work belongs in esteemed private collections, as well as the public permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the Frederick R. Weisman Foundation.



1978 Born Denver, CO

1996-2000  Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO

Lives and works in San Diego, CA



2015     PSYCHEDELIC SPACE, Quint Gallery, La Jolla, CA

             PLANTS OF THE GODS, Eric Firestone Gallery, East Hampton, NY

2014     SLEEP: THE SCIENCE AND THE MYSTERY, Library Street Collective, Detroit, MI

2013     BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY, Judith Charles Gallery, New York, NY 

              RECREATIONAL DRUGS, Valmorbida, London, UK 

2012     SEROTONIN: HAPPINESS AND SPIRITUAL STATES, Quint Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA

             MEDITATIONS ON SYMMETRY, Compound Projects, Malibu, CA

2011      DESIRES OF THE SOUL, The Outsiders, London, England

2010     KELSEY BROOKES – CAPED CREATURES, Circle Culture Gallery, Berlin, Germany

2009    BIGGER, BRIGHTER, BOLDER, Quint Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA

2008     KELSEY BROOKES, New Image Art Gallery, West Hollywoodric , CA

2007     SUPER NUMERARY, Milieu Gallery, Bern, Switzerland



2014     DAZED & CONFUSED, Eric Firestone Gallery, East Hampton, NY

             STATE OF THE ART: DISCOVERING AMERICAN ART NOW, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AK

2013     WORKS ON PAPER II, Quint Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA

2011     REALITY BITES, Post No Bills, Venice Beach, CA

2010    HERE NOT THERE: SAN DIEGO ART NOW, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA    

            SURVEY SELECT, curated by Mark Murphy, Wonderbread Factory, San Diego, CA

            COME AS YOU ARE, Prism, Los Angeles, CA


2009   QUINT: THREE DECADES OF CONTEMPORARY ART, California Center for the Arts, Escondido Museum, Escondido, CA

            RETROSPECTIVE, Laz Inc, London, England

            HOMING IN: AN EXHIBTION OF 50 SAN DIEGO ARTISTS, Quint Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA

            RVCAX LODOWN, Lodown Gallery, Berlin, Germany

2008  SEE NO EVIL, Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA

           SMASH & GRAB, Laz Inc, London, England

           OPEN DAY, Pictures On Walls, London, England

           SCION PRESENTES INSTALLATION 4 - LOS ANGELES, Scion Installation LA Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

           AJ FOSIK AND KELSEY BROOKES, White Walls Gallery, San Francisco, CA

           FAIRFAX + HAIGHT, RVCA, San Francisco, CA

           A BENEFIT SHOW, Fecal Face Dot Gallery, San Fransico, CA

           SEMI-PERMANENT ART, Australia

           POSTER RENAISSANCE, London, England

           WELCOME HOME, Fecal Face Dot Gallery, San Fransico, CA

           GOLD RUSH, Okay Mountain Gallery, Austin, TX

2007  OPENING GROUP SHOW, Lazarides Gallery, Newcastle, England

           SANTA’S GHETTO, West Bank, Palestine

           'REPLACE ‘PLEASE’ WITH FAST & ‘THANK YOU’ WITH GOD', Lab 101, Los Angeles, CA

            OUT OF TOWNERS, Fecal Face Dot Gallery, San Fransico, CA

            BRODEO, New Image Art, Santa Monica, CA

            INSTALLATION SCION ART TOUR 4 - NYC, The Reed Space, New York, NY

            10 CURATORS, Colette, Paris, France

           THE RETURE OF SAINITY, Andenken Gallery

2006  SANTA’S GHETTO, Pictures On Walls, London, England

           Giant Robot, San Francisco, CA

           RATTLE THE CHANDELIER, Lab 101, Los Angeles, CA

           Magpie, San Diego, CA

           City Beat Art Show, San Diego, CA

           KCDC + RVCA, Brooklyn, NY

           THE 125TH AVNIVERSARY OF THE INTERNET, BLK/MARKT Gallery, Culver City, CA

           TNT INSIDE-OUT, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA


           STENCH, SEVENTEEN ARTISTS KICK UP A STINK, Lazarides, London, England

2005  SANTA’S GHETTO, Pictures On Walls, London, England



2014     Miami Project, Quint Gallery

              Untitled, Eric Firestone Gallery

              Wynwood Walls, Miami, Library Street Collective

2013      Art Los Angeles Contemporary, Quint Contemporary Art

              Miami Project, Quint Contemporary Art

2010      Art San Diego – Quint Contemporary Art

2008      Aqua Miami – New Image

2007      Aqua Miami – New Image




2015        “KELSEY BROOKES: PSYCHEDELIC SPACE,” Published and Distributed by Gingko Press in association with Quint Gallery and Library Street  

                 Collective (Designed by Wendy Belt), 2015.

                 McCormick, Ken. “Banksy collection put up for auction by artist's former agent from Bristol,” Bristol Post (bristolpost.co.uk, accessed February 3),          

                 January 23.

                 Forrest, Nicholas. “Steve Lazarides to Sell Banksy Prints at Bonhams,” uk.blouinartinfo.com (accessed February 3), January 13.

2014        Chute, James. “Brookes latest in 'Murals of La Jolla' series,” San Diego Union-Tribune, August 26.

                Sherman, Pat. “Mesmerizing Mural: New public artwork on Ivanhoe Avenue is first under Athenaeum auspices in La Jolla,” La Jolla Light, August 20.

                Chute, James. “Belt, Adey and Brookes make the cut for Crystal Bridges: Three San Diego artists represented in 'State of the Art' show,” San Diego    

                 Union-Tribune, August 18.

                 DeVito, Lee. “Science meets art in Kelsey Brookes’ psychedelic paintings,” metrotimes.com (Detroit Metro Times), July 22.

2012         Chute, James. “Overwhelming Beauty,” UT San Diego, December 20, p. 31.

                  Heist, Annette. “Your Brain On… Art,” sciencefriday.com, accessed November 7.

                  Murphy, Mark. “Kelsey Brookes Serotonin Visits,” murphydesign1.blogspot.com, accessed November 2.

                  Granite, Amy T. “Kelsey Brookes Gets Trippy,” sdcitybeat.com, accessed October 31.

                  Myrland, Susan. “San Diego’s emerging art scene: Kelsey Brookes, ‘Serotonin; Happiness and Spiritual States,” utsandiego.com, accessed October


                  Bennett, Kelly. “A Scientist-Painter Considers the Molecules of Well-Being,”voiceofsandiego.org, accessed October 26.

                 “Kelsey Brookes | Serotonin: Happiness and Spiritual States,” rvca.com, accessed October 3.

                 “Red Hot Chili Peppers Prep Singles Series,” rollingstone.com, accessed June 18.

2011           Stephans, Anna Maria and Seth Combs. “Arts & Power,” Riviera Magazine, December,     p. 78.

2010         Anonymous. “Rogues of K Street,” Playboy Magazine, July, p. 34-35.

                  Pincus, Robert L. “Kelsey Brookes,” ARTnews, June, p. 113-114.

                  Gilewicz, Samantha. “It’s Life, But Not As We Know It,” Nylon, March, p. 140-141.

2009         Pincus, Robert L. “The Shotgun Approach,” San Diego Union Tribune, December 10, p. 16. 

                  Combs, Seth. “Bright Young Thing,” San Diego City Beat, November 11, p. 66.

                  Cover, San Diego City Beat, November 4.

                  Buscemi, Lauren. “Artist Profile: Kelsey Brookes,” Art Ltd., November.

                  Williams, Kate and Mark Whalen. “Kelsey Brookes,” Monster Children, Issue #24.

                 “Preserving the Sacred: The Art of Kelsey Brookes,” sezio.org, accessed April 13.            

                  Hatton, Hayley. “Heathen Chemistry,” Dazed and Confused, April, p.44. GQ Magazine.

2008        Lazarides, Steve. Outsiders: Art by People, London: Random House, 2008, pp. 38, 114-115, 142-143, 252-253.

                 “Kelsey Brookes’ First U.S. Solo Show,” Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine, 

                  November 6. htt HYPERLINK "p://www.juxtapoz.com/Current/kelsey-brookes-first-us so" p://www.juxtapoz.com/Current/kelsey-brookes-first-us  

                  solo-show. Accessed April 30, 2009.

                  O’Shea, Jamie. “7 of the Wildest Cards Working in the Art World,”Paper, August, pp.54-57.

                  RE:UP Magazine

2007        “Profile: Kelsey Brookes,” Juxtapoz, November, p.44.

                  Jones, Josh. “Paint or Surf?,” Huck, November, p.38.

                  Oñate, Curro. “Kelsey Brookes: ¿Por Qué No?” Staf.thenew.popculture (Spain),  April, pp. 88-91

2006        FAESTHETIC, Issue 6. 160 pages. 

                 “Kelsey Brookes,” Happy Magazine, July, pp.112-121.

                 RE:UP Magazine



     Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA

    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AK

    Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles, CA

    Chapman University, The Phyllis and Ross Escalette Permanent Collection of Art,     Orange, CA