Shop Talk #002: Brian Calvert

Who is Brian Calvert:

We recently sat down with Brian Calvert to gain a little more insight into the man behind the maker. Brian Calvert is an illustrator and artist hailing from Ventura, California. His work includes everything ranging from small illustrative pieces to large scale paintings. Calvert's art is largely influenced by and rooted in California culture. With pieces ranging from surf, to the sequoias, and even motorcycle culture one is sure to find a piece that they can't live without.


Quick Five:

1. Currently Listening To: Nathaniel Rateliff, The Dead South and REO Speedwagon ALWAYS.

2. Never Leave Home Without: Paper, pen and a hat for sure. (Gotta tame the mane.)

3. Dream Collaboration: Probably Priscilla Witte, her style and muraling kills it. @pcwitte

4. Book Recommendation: Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck.

5. Bucket List Adventure: A motorcycle trip to see the Northern Lights


Deep Dive:

1. How did you get into art? Was there a particular moment where it ‘clicked’ for you?

I was pretty young, both of my parents have always been creative. I still have a very vivid memory of my dad teaching me how to draw a cartoon wave when I was probably 7 or 8 years old.

Honestly it’s still “clicking”, there are plenty of times where I question where art will take me, but I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by such supportive and creative people that I’m always inspired. Plus it helps that I still draw waves with the same general concept that my dad taught me 20 or so years ago haha.


2. Your art seems to truly capture the essence of California culture. How did you develop this style and where do you draw inspiration from?

Well I was lucky enough to be born and raised in Ventura, California, so that hedged the bets a tad! As far as a style goes, I’ve been surfing since I was probably 13? I love being able to draw inspiration from the ocean. Though my other happy place is definitely in the mountains. I used to go on trips up to Yosemite with my mom as a shit head teenager and LOVED it. Every year my girlfriend Kelsey and I go up to the mountains above Ojai to find the first snow of the year as well, it’s probably one of my favorite traditions we have. That being said you’ll probably see a lot of pine trees and surfers in my paintings haha. We live in such an amazing place where you can drive an hour or two in any direction and see something that is breathtaking and inspiring in a “California” sense.


3. How would you describe the general aesthetic of your art?

I would probably go with bold, or at least that’s what I’m trying to aim for haha. I love the look of bold lines and bright colors so I’m alway trying to incorporate them more and more.

Simple and easy on the eyes, yet powerful.


4. What story do you hope to tell through your work?

I try to bring out the simplicity, and creativity of California. It’s been my home since I was born and with so much intensity going on in everybody’s lives, it’s really nice and calming to be able to look at something clean, simple and easy on the eyes. Not saying that it’s an easy way to paint or draw, most times it’s more difficult to simplify an idea I have for a painting or a drawing. But I hope that people can look at my work and feel the calm that I do from being in the ocean or out among the quiet mountains from time to time.


5. When you’re not sitting down with some paper and pens, what are you usually up to?

I really enjoy photography actually. It’s definitely not my strongest suit but I guess that depends on who you’re asking? Haha, it is a really fun medium though and just recently I was paid to do it so that makes me a professional right?? (Totally kidding).


6. Do you have a favorite place to go to get out and sketch?

I’m almost always at home at my desk. But I guess you could say my Mom’s garage. It’s kinda my own little artistic nook where the sun shines and I can focus. It also has more room for larger scale paintings and what not. Plus her dog is there haha.


That or Ventura Coast Brewing Company for sketching and computer work, because there’s beer and great people.


7. If you could achieve one thing with your art what would that be?

Hands down, to inspire other people (and maybe get a laugh or two?). I love that a couple of my illustrations and paintings just say “make rad shit” and that people have either bought or reposted photos of them solely because they were inspired by a few words. Art can be a really powerful thing, and I am constantly inspired by others and the hard work and soul that they put into their mediums.


Where to find Brian:

 Social: @calvertillustrations


Elsewhere: Probably surfing or hanging at Ventura Coast Brewery

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