Artist Interview: Brian Viveros

Artist Interview: Brian Viveros

Here at GelaSkins we like to take every opportunity to tell our fans about the artists we work with. For this artist interview, we bring you Brian Viveros. Here are 10 Questions to give us all a glimpse into Viveros' worold, how he works and how he got to where he is. As part of the introduction, and to celebrate his upcoming show, we are offering y'all 20% off Brian's whole GelaSkins Collection using the code ‘VIVEROS20’ at checkout.


The code is valid from until October 8/2017 midnight EST. Shop his full collection here.


Read on for our rapid fire interview with Viveros and get all the deets on his show opening October 4th with Thinkspace Gallery (all photos by Birdman) at the Moniker Art Fair




1) How long have you been painting?
Viveros: Let's see, I believe I started painting around 2004. I was a bit of a late bloomer. I always drew, but formal painting came later. Prior to that, my work was much more monotone and had a darker more surreal edge to it. I worked primarily in inks, charcoal and airbrush.
Viveros strokes
2) Did you always picture yourself as an artist 'when you grew up'? Or was there something else you thought you'd pursue? 
Viveros: I did. I always knew I’d do something in the artistic realm. I loved to draw and would set up and stage my toys to practice illustrating my figures. I had a vivid imagination and created my own comics as a kid. I also had a love for the theatrical and would put on live theatre acts and make home splatter movies -  I was always busy creating and thinking of new things to make, create and do. I loved looking at art, books, and comics, but school, proverbial drag that it is, took up a lot of time. Yup, I hated school. I felt that it took away from who I was and the pursuit of my actual interests. One of my early loves and an enduring passion to this day was to make experimental films. Most readers are probably not aware of the underground surreal cinema I’ve been making since 2005, but that is still a deep love of mine that I keep revisiting and exploring.
3) We talk to a lot of artists who found their first years as a full-blown artist to be a struggle.... what helped you power through those days/months/years?  
Viveros: I’d say being a little crazy and obsessed helped to keep me going, maybe even slightly possessed... HA! I think having an unwavering drive and wanting to break through with my art is what kept me going. You have to put it all out there and just go for it, regardless of the outcome. I felt a hunger and an urge to keep pushing towards that end goal. I’m still going; there’s still so much more I want to do. I used to make these packages of my work back in the 90’s and mail them out everywhere.  A breakthrough for me was when, out of the blue, I sent one of these packages to HR Giger's agent Les Barany who called me and responded! This led to my first real exhibition. I was invited to exhibit with HR Giger and many of my favorite artists, which was unreal. This group show opened the doors to further opportunities and made the pursuit of my art seem feasible and within reach. At that time it was a struggle for me, as I was trying to find my true identity and voice as an artist. I kept asking myself what would make it a signature Viveros, what was me? My early works in 1997 were not even paintings and the Dirtyland world you know now wasn't yet fully formed. I was just using ink and airbrush as media, and the content was more like erotica - a little more hardcore and underground. The characters were still smoking but it wasn’t really me yet, I was young and still searching. It wasn’t until 2006 when I painted my first Dirtyland painting that I found my true direction, calling, and path. When I started painting the things I really knew and loved like the helmets, boxing, Lucha Libre wrestling elements, bullets and reimagined the female figure with all of these pieces that everything just started to unfold and click. People responded so positively, and it just felt like an authentic expression of my interests, compulsions, and passions...and it just blossomed from there into this Dirtyland universe.
4) Lighter question.... music or no music while creating? If music... who would we find you listening to these days?
Viveros:  I actually like having music and movies going at the same time, So my answer would be "yes, " and  “yes". I guess you can say I’m big on noise and atmospheric sounds, HAAHA! I also like the fan turned on because the motor makes a humming sound that is calming and soothing to me. I drive my wife crazy when all this is going on; it's pretty funny. The music I’m currently listening to is the latest Arcade Fire, Washed Out, Queens of the Stone Age and some weird noise genres my friends send me.    
5) Okay, here's a standard question but we know our fans want to know: What inspires your work? How do you go from point A to point B?
Viveros: The inspiration just comes. It's pretty organic. I think about a headgear I like, helmets that I find visually interesting, and I start visualizing a new character based on these  props. Sometimes it's more topical like if a big fight is coming up, I’ll want to do a new boxer. I love going to flea markets, there’s a lot of inspiration there, and I always spend way too much money on helmets and headgear for my out of control collection. Other times, it's just seeing something strange, or even hearing a few words; something someone says can trigger an idea, or a song, a rhythm, or a beat can push me in a certain direction, even a specific scene from a film can lead to a new character. I try to find inspiration in everything, it makes the day fun and keeps my machine gun mind stocked and going.
6) Can you share some insight into your studio/home life or do you try to keep your artist life and personal life separate?
Viveros: My studio is on the second floor of my home. I just recently moved and am digging my new dedicated space upstairs. I have many windows, providing great light, and much more open space for my mannequins, human skulls, and helmets. It's a beautifully bizarre physical archive, a collection of objects filled with ideas. My studio is a direct reflection of me and is decorated with the elements I use in my paintings. If I’m away too long, it starts to haunt those me and call out to me and brings me back to my happy place.
7) What motivates you to create the woman you portray in your work? Is there a single person, moment, or narrative you draw from to create each?
Viveros: I just approach everything with the idea of power in mind but manifest specifically in female form. My mom and wife are very strong and influential people in my life, and sometimes I draw inspiration from them in my thoughts.
8) Do you have a favorite work? Or series? ..or perhaps something you worked on that you learned from? 
Viveros: My latest series ‘Bulletproof’ would be my favorite thus far. It's a new body of work for my upcoming feature in London at Moniker International Art Fair. I put a lot of emotion into the set. While working on it my mother was battling breast cancer, so it's an intensely personal body of work. It was a rough time, and I wanted the pieces to be that much stronger, that much more powerful. These warriors were metaphoric cancer killers, and I’m happy to say that my mom is now cancer free. I’m super excited to bring my Dirtyland over the pond for the first time. This new series of 12 works pushed me into new directions with some notable and epic firsts. I can’t wait to share them with the UK audience. It's Gonna be EPIC!
9) Lastly..... and easy one... if you could only pick one paint color for the rest of your life...what color would it be? 
"Thank you GelaSkins & Nuvango for this opportunity and to all your readers Stay Dirty." 
10) What's next for Viveros? Mr. Brian M. Viveros is heading to the UK with Los Angeles’ Thinkspace Gallery to present a highly anticipated solo exhibition of brand new work. ‘Bulletproof,’ a complete collection of all new works will be on view at London’s Moniker International Art Fair from Oct. 5 to October 8, 2017, and will be the very first time the artist brings his legendary Dirtyland “over the pond.” This dirty dozen of 12 new, never before seen, pieces represents some of his most arresting and beautifully rendered work to date. Stay tuned to his site for release details. 

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