Fashion fans may know him from his Raf Simons collaboration, but there is much more to American painter Brian Calvin.
Brian Clavin is represented by art gallery Almine Rech, alongside major artists like Kenny Scharf and George Condo for example. Last year, he was part of a couple of group exhibitions: “Painting Someone” in Shanghai and “Summer” in Paris, as well as a solo exhibition, “Sound”, also in Shanghai. He is set to present an exposition in May 2021 in Paris, if the situation allows it.
Mainly using acrylic, Brian Calvin specializes in large-scale portraits, usually working on at least four paintings simultaneously. Featured in the third issue of the magazine The Art Form, the artist explains he uses art as a form of communication: “I have an urge to communicate with others who come before me and those who have yet to come. Painting is where I find mean to communicate”.
His work is most recognizable thanks to the unique style he applies to the eyes and mouth of his characters. While his they follow a certain pattern, his figures do not represent anyone in particular: Calvin rather focuses on his imagination as a source of inspiration. The Los Angeles-native is strongly influenced by music, and was even in a band earlier in his life. Music is a big part of his art creation process: “Music acts like a lubricant to keep my mind and body from getting stuck”.
One of his most well-known artwork is “The Sitter”, an acrylic painting on wood he made in 2015, later edited by Almine Reich, this time on cardboard. The edition was available to buy on the gallery’s webshop, retailing at $280.
Painting and music, but also fashion: in 2013, Brian Calvin worked with friend Raf Simons on a capsule collection for the designer’s eponym brand. The collection was created while Simons was working on his very first show for Dior, and was composed of several pieces including tee-shirts and sweaters that have now become iconic. Vintage Raf Simons is strongly prized by fashion collectors all over the world, and this capsule is highly considered. While it is impossible to find the tee-shirts for less than $400 today, the sweaters usually sell between $1200 and $1600 on the secondary market.
Make sure to follow Brian Calvin on Instagram (@nowhereboogie) to get a glimpse at his studio and work.
Editor’s pick from Brian Calvin’s work:
By Stan Chalbos