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Brian Anderson

Art, Hockey and Cheetahs


In 2016 a lot was going on in Brian Anderson’s life and 2017 started busy for the newly married, and newly acquired Anti Hero rider as well. He designed a collection for Nike SB and presented it along with an exhibition together with Isle’s Nick Jensen in the bitterly cold Berlin during the Bright tradeshow. We met him at the Civilist shop.

It’s somehow known that you do some art but you never put out too much. Do you want to keep it kinda low-key?

I just didn’t really have an opportunity to make a lot of art work in the last ten or twenty years, 'cause I was always just skateboarding. I never had a good studio to be able to sit down and do it. Now, being settled in New
York City, I feel like I’ve more of an opportunity to start doing art works.

You did some boards for Girl, right?

Yeah, I did a few. I’d always give them my ideas and they’d turn them into graphics from the artist that work in-house. And then when I did 3D for a while, I came up with a lot of my own graphics for. We had some artists helping us. Sometimes it’d be like an idea on a napkin and I’d give it to somebody else and they remake it and turn it into reality.

How would you describe your art?

It’s funny, because I don’t consider myself as an artist. I mean, I’m a skateboarder. I just happen to love to draw. I think growing up in the 1980s I grew up on a lot of advertisement. This ’80s advertising, you know? So I grew up on bold colors: Red, Yellow, Blue, the company Mattel Hot Wheels. I think advertising was just so in your face in the Reagan era. So, I do love colors. I’ve got friends that are artists and they do black and white and don’t rely on colors. I really respect that. I don’t think I use color to create something. Like I don’t rely on it, but I just love it. You know when it’s a rainy day and you have a painting on your wall and it has a little brightness.

"It’s funny, because I don’t consider myself as an artist. I mean, I’m a skateboarder."

Are the artworks for the exhibition inspired by native American art?

A little bit, yeah. Alaskan, Native American, the Wild Winds. It's because of this Alaskan art that makes me happy and really cheerful.

So you have a special connection to Alaska?

I think we’ve a connection because certain people in North America had their land taken from them and that touches me, you know? I think so many people had their land taken from them, so I feel a connection to Native American and Alaskan culture, because these are the original people in North America. Us white people, we are not from there. I’ve a hard time living in this time period. I wish I could live on this earth 400 years ago.

Really? What exactly would be your favorite time period to live in?

Oh, jeez. I’m not trying to be silly or funny, but honestly the first thing that comes to my mind is 1940 in Chicago. It must have been so neat. I’m being serious. African American people and white people mixing with each other and that time with jazz. What a magical time.

I heard you prepared more artwork for the show, but it got lost at the airport. Is that right?

These got lost at the airport. I got bigger pieces at home, but they were too expensive to send here, because they’re really thick. So I had to make these before I left New York, and they were almost finished and then got lost at the airport.

And I heard you prepared them with oil and perfume when you hanged them here.

They’re alive, you know. When you’re making a painting it feels like making a song or something. I don’t mean to be overly dramatic, but it should have a smell and it should have senses to it. So that’s why I sprayed it. When you hold that thing, you’d know that somebody spent time on it. Those are my babies. Giving them some oil and a spray is like giving them a hug.

Is it the perfume you're using?

Yeah it is. It’s made by a company called Aesop. It’s called Marrakesh. It has pine oil and coconut oil. I brought coconut oil, as well. It goes into the edges. I think some people spray with something that is synthetic like a chemical. So I like the idea of using coconut oil, because it’s totally natural and it gives the painting a nice shine. That’s it.

How did the connection with Nick Jensen come together?

It was a recent thing. Kaspar [van Lierop] just asked me and said “Do you wanna come to Bright and throw a few pieces of paintings up with Nick?” And I said “Okay, cool!” Because I've known Nick for so long. I met him already probably six or seven years ago. We were on Fourstar together and we went on a couple of tours and I just love him. He’s such a great guy. He’s a really solid person. I really care about him.

Brian Anderson & Nick Jensen

Brian Anderson und Nick Jensen

Brian Anderson & Nick Jensen

Did you plan the exhibition together?

He already had his own paintings. It was so funny, because I emailed him and I said “Oh my god, my stuff is so bright, so loud that I don‘t wanna bring it.” Because I saw his work and I thought it‘s like I‘m showing off. [laughs] The cool thing is, when you get close to his pieces, you can see how much time he spent to cut them up. So I don’t feel anymore like my colors are louder than his, because his also speaks volumes.

You also did the collection for Nike SB. Is there some connection to the artwork you did?

I always wore hockey jerseys growing up and I’ve always loved this image of the cheetah head, because it reminds of High School logos in America. But there’s not more of a connection. I just love hockey jerseys.

Did you also play hockey when you were younger?

No, never.

Never had a game with Mike Vallely?

No, I wish. I think Mike Vallely is a really big fan. He’s really nice to me. I like that guy. I think he’s more into fights, but never at me. [laughs]

You said you like the Cheetah because it reminds you of High School logos. Is there another connection to Cheetahs?

No, but being that I love hockey jerseys, I thought “What’s left in hockey?” Every logo is taken, you know? And then I was like “Nobody has done the fucking Cheeta.”

And I saw you colored your hair with a Cheetah pattern.

Yeah, but that has no relation to that. I just did it for fun.