Friday, February 20, 2009

Men of Etsy : Eye Candy @ Gajillionaire

Meet Gajillionaire aka Brandon an independent artist from San Francisco, who has an awesome collection on Etsy full of beautiful pop art inpsired paintings & bright, vivid fine art photographs. His work has been featured in New York Times & Surface Magazine. Only one phrase really comes to mind when checking out Brandon's work - pure eye candy!

1. Tell me more! Who are you? Where are you? & What do you do?

My name is Seamus Brandon Kiel and I'm an artist who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. I've lived here for close to 14 years having moved here from New York City after graduating college at the University of Oklahoma. I began working as an artist full time about 5 years ago and am still chugging along.

2. I love your pop art paintings - A little pop, a little op, and a jolt of color. Your awesome technique & style reminds me of something I'd see displayed on hand painted surf boards or early skateboard graphics. Is there anything in particular that inspires your designs?

I love, love, love to research! I spend an inordinate amount of time in the stacks at the UC Berkeley and Stanford's libraries looking at Islamic architecture, Russian iconography, 1940's, 50's, and 60's design and graphics, surf and skate culture, hobo/tramp art, expensive foreign magazines, and basic graffiti (as San Francisco is a tag artist mecca). I process it all, digest it, and then send it back out through my own lens. I've found that the more I know and grow the more complicated my pieces become.

3. Your photos are lovely, you've been featured in many popular publications - can you tell me a little about your work for NY Times & Surface Magazine?

Limn Gallery in San Francisco carries the large sized, limited edition, more high-end cibachrome versions of these images and the New York Times found me through them. Surface Magazine had apparently seen something of mine that was installed in Milan and after a studio visit decided to do a story based on my work and background. Things have just slowly developed from there; I get contacted occasionally by a writer or editor either wanting more information or to cover the art in one aspect or another.

4. How'd you find Etsy & What made you want to open up shop?

I found Etsy one afternoon while looking to buy a gift for a notoriously temperamental friend. I googled "handmade art" and Etsy popped up. After being completely overwhelmed first by the depth of the pool I was then just bowled over by the intensity of craftsmanship and detail I saw in so many peoples work. It took me a bit of time to draw up the courage but I finally decided to dip my toe in the healing Etsy waters and have just been astonished by the reception and warmth of this community. If I am anything, it is detailed and meticulous about the work I produce and Etsy is a perfect environment for that. I'm surrounded by artisans and collectors who not only recognize but truly appreciate quality work.

5. Where else can we find your work? Online? B&M?

Well the hand painted "gajillionaire" pieces are only for sale right now through my studio and via Etsy. I have a more intricate version that involves photo collage and silkscreening that I may sell on here at some point but right now is only at Zinc Details in San Francisco. You can see those pieces online though at . The high end versions of my flower pieces are available at Limn Gallery in San Francisco, and William Switzer in Chicago and Miami.

I am an unapologetic art egalitarian and feel that everyone should have the ability to own *real* artwork that excites them and is well made. That's the main reason why I price my hand made pieces the way I do and why I produce small prints of my photography affordably. I completely believe that once you graduate college or get your first "real" job, in addition to shedding that lumpy futon, you should burn all your Monet, Ansel Adams, and Van Gogh posters. I think supporting real artists not only incorporates your aesthetic ideals in a more personal way but also involves you more deeply into your community. Buying a poster from Target will never be able to do that for you. Buy art from living artists.

6. If you could have lunch with any artist living or not, who would it be and why?

Oh wow, I love that question. I have too many really so I'll put together a lunch party. I'm obsessed with the 15th Century calligraphy of Maria Strick so she'd be there, Ross Bleckner more for his watercolors than anything else, Andy Warhol I think would be a great lunch partner, Louise Bourgeois for the glint in her eye and her straightforwardness, and Dan Flavin makes my heart expand so he'd have to be there. We'd have it at French Laundry and it would hopefully last until the kicked us out.

7. Please tell the blog audience 5 random facts!

I grew up on a farm in the Ouachita National Forest in a very remote part of southeastern Oklahoma now called Big Creek (the first reader to email me with what Big Creek is used to be known as can have a print of their choosing and I'll pay postage. Good luck.)

I spend a inordinate amount of time camping in the beautiful northern California wilderness. The more remote the better.

I'm getting married to the love of my life this July. I **cannot** wait!

I've been a Big Brother through Big Brothers/Big Sisters for close to 11 years now. My "little" is not so little anymore. He's just turned 18. That experience has been one of the best adventures I've ever undertaken. If you've ever thought about it, do it! You'll get so much out of it!

I love the work "hula hoop" spoken slowly in falsetto. It always makes me smile.

Find out more about Brandon & Gajillionaire:

Hand Painted/Silkscreened Paintings on Poplar Wood with Epoxy Resin Glaze

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