Garrett Brumfield pulls his mask down over his face and gets to work, perfecting his technique and decisively making the correct moves, whether quick or patient, for which each instance calls. About 40 minutes later, the University Lab player stretches his back and finally takes a seat to discuss his latest endeavor. Most high school athletes wouldn't draw many similarities between football, particularly battling in the trenches, and painting, but Brumfield has often looked a bit more deeply at many aspects of the world around him than many of his peers. "The world of painting and football, they kind of work hand in hand, as far as I've gotten a lot better with the paintings that I do, but it was just like football: It took practice," he says. "I've been playing football since I was 8 years old. I've only been painting not even a full year yet, but with practice and learning the techniques and learning how to do all these things, it's not too much of a difference." The 6-foot-4, 285-pound Brumfield, who played tackle for the Cubs, took up spray paint art last March, about a month before committing (April 20) to LSU, where he projects more as a guard. "Ever since then, I just kind of progressed and tried different techniques and looked up things on the Internet," he said. "A lot of people see the things that I do, they look at it like, 'Oh, Garrett does these amazing things,' but it's not just me. There's a whole community of guys who do this stuff on the Internet, so I just look at what they do, draw from them, try the techniques that they do and develop new techniques of my own and just try to put something together. Sometimes I might go outside slap some colors down and see how it comes out. "Sometimes it comes out good. Sometimes it doesn't. I've wasted more poster boards than I've had finished products." Former teammates such as Jarrod Franklin, Steven Sensley and Tim Williams, all of whom graduated U-High in 2013, took Therese Knowles' art class with Brumfield last school year, and have been impressed to see the strides he's made as a young artist since then. Younger players such as sophomore defensive back Malik Antoine, to whom the senior has referred as a little brother, were initially more surprised by his off-field talent. "I actually thought he was joking about spray painting," Antoine laughed. "I figured he must have an abundance of spare time to just be spray painting, but then I saw one of his paintings. It looked like a professional artist did it. Garrett is truly skilled in a lot of areas — a jack of all trades." Brumfield's father, Paul Brumfield, wasn't the least bit surprised to see Garrett expressing himself through the new medium. "Garrett has always been an inquisitive kid," Paul Brumfield says. "He's always been a kid that wanted to do things with his hands, learn how things work. The creative, artsy side, he gets that from his mom. His mom is one for scrapbooking and putting projects together and that kind of stuff. I guess I'm more of the question-asking one, the mechanical one, wanting to know how things work. He gets that from me, but the artsy side, he gets that from his mom." Paul Brumfield bought his son his first protective mask to help avoid inhaling the fumes back when the paintings were still relatively basic. Garrett has tackled more complicated designs and techniques since then and produced progressively impressive work in the process, but remains his own toughest critic. "I kinda get that from my mom," he says. "My mom, she's somewhat of a perfectionist. My mom loves sewing and arts and crafts … She might make a blanket, and to her, the stitching is off-center, but to me, it looks like you bought it out of the store. That's how I am with my football and my painting. "Something as small as maybe I peeled something too fast, and it looks messy. To the outside eye, it's fine, but to me, I feel like I need to go back over it or I need to start over or I need to scrap that or pull from something else to figure out, 'How can I get it the way I want it to be?'"
LSU commit Garrett Brumfield tackles painting with same work ethic, determination as football
New Orleans Times-Picayune | Feb 4