A drawing of Spider-Man done by a family member to a Star Trek book full of starships. Those were the first bricks laid in the foundation of Brett of Brett’s Art World‘s journey into the arts. Today when he’s not working as a Quality Control Lead when it comes to DVDs and more, he’s setting up shop at conventions all over the country.
It’s hard to miss his booth with its vibrantly done mashups of pop culture favorites that cause you to stop in your steps and appreciate. Walking through the aisles of LA Comic Con and seeing Brett’s Art World equals a happy me. So it was a joy to finally get inside the head of the artist who has become a master of his craft.
Kendra: Your work stands out for the wonderful mashups and pop culture twists. What inspired you to go in that direction?
Brett’s Art World: Puzzle-solving! Taking iconic characters and scenes from different sources to create a painting with an alternate take that tries to make you laugh or cry or get angry or think. It’s fun to (attempt) to subvert viewer expectations. I can’t tell you how much happiness it brings me when someone decodes a painting or says “that makes sense, I never thought of that!”.
There’s also the element of just letting go and being playful. I did a painting as Stevie Wonder as Daredevil called “Part-Time Clubber.” and I meant it to be inclusive to the disabled and it totally, 100 % bombed. But I got a couple of customers to laugh with tears in their eyes and purchase it. It straddled the edge of what you can get away with so that’s one I’ll remember.
Kendra: You have some pieces that celebrate romance like the Lady and the Tramp/Star Wars one, but you also have some that are a bit darker like Bambi and his mom and that Pooh/It gem. Which come easier to you?
Brett’s Art World: Wouldn’t you like to be reunited with your lost loved one, even if it was just seeing them as a reflection in a lake? I would! But others see that Bambi painting as depressing and a somber reminder that Bambi isn’t with his mom anymore. I like that conversation about the piece. I’ve received several moving stories from customers who purchased the Bambi painting to honor someone dear to them.
Each of the paintings has a central question that must be answered first. In the case of Lady and the Scoundrel, it started with this question: “what is an iconic romantic couple that could replace Lady and the Tramp in that famous pasta scene?”. Answer: Han and Leia! Then I inserted Cloud City because of its romantic backdrop. For the Pooh/It one, the question was: “who could replace Georgie in that iconic opening scene in the rain in the It movie?” “Christopher Robin, he wears a raincoat! And Winnie the Pooh has flown off with balloons before!” And Bam! You now have a painting that mixes genres but makes sense. You know what the hardest puzzle was? Totoro and Gizmo in the rain. That took weeks. Let’s not talk about that one.
Kendra: Congrats on being featured at NYC’s Anime Fest in 2018. As someone who is in California and dreams of New York, I get it. But what is it about that city and it’s art scene that you love and admire?
Brett’s Art World: Thank you. New York is the birthplace of Marvel Comics and Mad Magazine, two enormous influences on my art. And the city has got amazing Chinese food, Broadway and off-Broadway, and the New Yorker magazine. I could go on and on! There’s something about New York that sharpens you. Surrounded by talent. It’s intense.
Kendra: In addition to everything you’re also working on a webcomic. What can you tell us about that?
Brett’s Art World: It’s called Jack Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. It’s a graphic novel in black and white with five characters in it- Jack the cat, my wife, me, a blue jay, and a doctor, based on a true story. I’ll be releasing a promo video for that in hopefully a month or less which will show some concept art.
Kendra: What’s next for Brett’s Art World in 2019?
Brett’s Art World: I’m working on booking art shows in Paris, Chicago, and Charlotte along with the California conventions of course! As far as mashup paintings go, I’ve got a Dumbo and Venom painting in the works that’s pretty disturbing and I’m working on the Jack comic!