Meet Bracken Rourke
By Andrew Jason
Bracken Rourke grew up around artwork. The time he spent surrounded by paintings or enjoying the aroma of the kiln firing, would influence the rest of his life. He is now the owner of Cotton Lake Tile and is a very active artist (and a pretty good one at that.) Rourke creates custom hand made tile, tile art, in-home tile, commercial tile and some installing of tile. To sum it up, Bracken Rourke knows tile.
Bracken Rourke knows and loves art. We caught up with him to learn more about his passion.
Rourke was born and raised in the Red River Valley. However, he hasn’t stuck around the area for all of his life. He has traveled extensively, which has had a huge impact on his life and his art.
“I’ve been to Europe a few times and I get out to the Southwestern part of the United States, New Mexico mainly. There are so many landscape features and the really dark blue skies against the brown mountains, the green forests north of Albuquerque. It’s really inspirational for me.”
The tile that he creates has been used throughout the area. One of the biggest projects he has worked on, is for The Lodge on Lake Detroit in Detroit Lakes, MN. This included creating sunset mosaics for all 55 hotel rooms, a fish mosaic for the front desk, a couple tables for the bar, a piece for the spa and ceramic fish for the pool.
The life of an artist is not an easy one. Rourke constantly has to attend craft fairs, galleries and trade shows to promote his work. He also runs Cotton Lake Tile by himself. That means he has to run the business side as well. Whether that entails answering emails, paying bills or creating the tile, Rourke has to spend some long days in the studio.
“This is an 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. job, six or seven days a week,” Rourke said with a laugh.
He also must balance the line between doing commercial work as well as residential. He doesn’t have a preference when it comes to the two of them, but he does admit that commercial work comes with its own set of challenges, such as a stricter deadline.
Whether it’s the life he lived as a child or the life he’s living now, it is apparent that Bracken Rourke loves art.
Bracken Rourke was born in Moorhead and grew up in Fargo and rural Detroit Lakes, MN. His work has been entered into seven solo shows, 21 group shows and numerous art fairs across the country. Through this he has earned three first place awards, seven honorable mentions and two purchase awards.