When it comes to the vast world of painting, Brian M. Viveros has one of the most unique painting styles in the fine art game.
His rich and intricate paintings are dedicated to presenting the dark, mysterious, beautiful and downright sinister. In a nutshell, his work is rad as hell. Brian recently collaborated with Infamous for a collection of t-shirts that are available now, only at Tilly’s.
We caught up with Brian last week and picked his brain about his early days creating, style, his process, inspiration and of course, his new Infamous designs. Have a read and get to know one of the most talented and unique painters out there.
What are some of your earliest memories when you began to think as, "an artist"? I was born an artist. My mama said I popped out with a number 2 pencil in my hand. I've been creating my own worlds for as long as I can remember. I had this obsession to create things early on. I was possessed. You kind of know early on that Art is in your blood by the way you see & observe things a little bit different than everyone else does. There’s something inside you that tells you this is what you need to do, so you do it. Art is truly an addiction, a driving force that just compels you. BABY I WAS BORN THIS WAY! Haha!
When did you begin to really explore your artistic talents? Was it evident to you at a young age that you had talent worth exploring? I was always reading and drawing my own comics. I never really thought about my talent, just that I enjoyed drawing & making things come to life on paper. My parents were a good support system in everything I did. They told me that I have something very special and should keep at it no matter what. I had no formal training and it wasn’t until my first exhibition in 1997 when I thought to myself, “This is what I must do!"
Did it take a while for your style to evolve to where it is now? What are some styles of painting that you explored earlier on in your career? It really has been a process of trial & error and growth, learning new techniques & teaching myself to paint. My paintings weren’t even paintings back in the early years. I started as an illustrator, then moved on to airbrush and then oil painting. It took some time & patience to really find my niche. It's funny because all of my paintings are truly a reflection of me & my childhood and the things I still enjoy and collect to this day.
What’s your process like? Do you sketch things out first, write ideas down, paint live subjects, etc? I usually start with a sketch or quick doodle, sometimes I have the title for a painting in mind so I’ll write it down and work around that. The sketch for me is the most important. I keep the penciling as tight as possible, then transfer onto maple board. Then I start laying in the oils. My frames also play a huge roll in my painting process. Sometimes the perfect frame can tell me what to paint, or maybe it’s just the voices in my head.
How does an idea change from when you originally think of it, to when it’s fully completed? My ideas are always pretty solid in the sense that I’m always trying to push as much as I can, using minimal elements. The idea is to keep the painting simple, strong and bold. The old “less is more” approach. I like focusing on the pose, the eyes, her flesh tones and keeping my signature elements in place. If it’s not powerful enough, I’ll keep at it and at it and at it until it’s right.
From what I’ve seen, your subjects are always women? What compels you to focus primarily on women in your work? Because women are much funner to paint than guys.
The women in your paintings tend to be rough around the edges. Bruised, bloodied, tattooed, sullen, yet almost always exotic and strangely beautiful. Can you talk about how these details make there way into your work? The women that I paint are heroes. The bruises and scratches are from a battle or war that has been won. I think the details you mention come from life in general. You have to bleed a bit and take a few hits to make it in this world. You have to work really hard and sometimes that means getting your hands a little bloody. So when you see these details in my work you should get a feeling of VICTORY, STRENGTH & POWER. Or not.
As an artist, what drives you to continually create? I am always creating because that is how I stay sane.
What inspires your work? Do you collect any objects or imagery that inspire your process? Yeah, I collect a lot of strange things. I love old helmets & custom headgear, some of which I designed myself for my films. All of these elements are an inspiration to me and play a huge roll in my DirtyLand world. I'm also a collector of skulls and antique frames.
How did your collaboration with Infamous come about? What was the collaboration process like? I believe things happen for a reason and timing is key. Hooking up with the guys from Infamous was a perfect fit. Right time, right place for us to come together and make this happen for Tilly’s.
Can you talk a bit about each tee and there significance? The Scorpio Rizing, El Carnivora and Viva La Muerte? SCORPIO RIZING was based off of my zodiac sign. In this painting you'll notice she has been bitten. This was my way of showing that she's immortal and that the blood makes her stronger. Most importantly I wanted to capture a pose that felt like she was this huge giant, rising from the ground, throwing her head back in this kind of ecstasy state. It’s as if she's saying, "I'm reborn!! Let the Scorpio, rise!!" EL CARNIVORA was a piece done for an amazing art exhibition and book entitled 'Carnivora: The Dark Art of Automobiles'. I went for this death proof style girl that I had in mind for a while. She's the lone road warrior on a highway to hell! VIVA LA MUERTE is a homage piece to my favorite surreal film & director. It also represents a great time in my life. She was part of my first exhibition in N.Y.C. at Paul Booth's Last Rites Gallery. I look at this painting as a celebration piece of life, death, blood and beauty. VIVA LA MUERTE!!!
What's next for you Brian? Solo exhibition in Miami in December, more Viveros Tees, David Lynch exhibition, a new short film and much much more. Skies the limit!!! I want to thank Tilly’s and Infamous Clothing for making this happen. Stay dirty my friends.
For the latest news on The Art of Brian M. Viveros please go to www.brianMviveros.com.
Get the new Brian Viveros x Infamous T-Shirt collaborations right here, only at Tilly's!