Artist in the Spotlight: Brett Surmons

In these days of encouraging an individual to specialize in a specific talent, it is rare that we see a student of multiple arts.  Brett Surmons, however, is one of these students.  Surmons has been participating in both guitar and the visual arts for the past couple of years now and is seen as both an improved, prepared and determined artist by his teachers.

“He already came in as a competent guitarist,” Guitar teacher Michael Chamis said.

Surmons preparation and early experience with guitar has allowed for him to come in with most of the basics down ever since picking up his first guitar at around 12 years old.  Now he only has several new techniques to work on.

“He’s added a lot more classical technique and reading music to what he’s done,” Chamis said.  “Surmons is a great practicer and uses his great focus and concentration to methodically and calmly focus work on one piece.”

All of these attributes including putting a lot of work outside of class have led Surmons to become a very “well-rounded guitarist.”

Surmons has been showing great signs of improvement throughout his career at Reynolds but of course has some things he could work on.

“It’s just going to more challenging solo pieces and to more challenging ensemble pieces where you pull off all kinds of arrangements,” Chamis said.  

If you are looking to see Surmons in action soon, the main guitar concert will take place in March along with the piano ensemble at the Reynolds Auditorium.

Although Surmons finds himself more naturally talented in guitar, he believes that he works harder in his visual arts.  He says that he got into the visual arts because it was just something for him to do and he enjoyed that he could make cool pieces for himself.

Surmons takes Oil Painting and AP Drawing and is in his third year with learning from Mr. Hurst which has given Hurst a good chance to look at all the improvements Surmons has made.

“His skill level continues to develop and he’s always had good ideas, but now he can communicate them,” Hurst said.

Hurst also has high praise for Surmons preparation when he comes to class and being a student that is a self-starter.

“Brett goes in ready to work and picks up right where he left off,” Hurst said.

Like Surmons showed in his music, he has some things he can work on in his artwork.

“He could drive here faster,” Hurst jokingly said referring to the hustle it takes to make it back from Career Center in time for class.  On the art side of things Hurst would like to see Surmons continue to develop and work on his drawing skills.

Overall, Surmons enjoys both of his artistic sides but acknowledges that he likes music more, “because it gives me the chance to perform in front of other people.”

As for advancing his career in the arts, Surmons is looking into several music programs.

“I’m hoping to get into a music program,” Surmons said about his career in college. Surmons has been looking into Appalachian State University and Belmont University to study production and recording.  

Either way, both of his teachers are excited to see where he ends up.

Photo provided by Brett Surmons