Our latest featured Omaha artist in the Gifted Omaha series is Brian of veryvector. I don’t know if it’s cool to say “cool” anymore, but man, his stuff is cool. Or, to phrase it more eloquently: “A play on negative and positive space, veryvector’s home art is firmly rooted in playful precision … . Brian champions well-designed life, in which function, form and style harmonize.” Yeah. That sounds way better than “cool.”
His website and etsy store aren’t up and running … yet, but you can see his work at the upcoming Handmade Omaha “Modern Makers” Spring Bazaar, April 20-21, at the Bancroft Market. (In other Handmade Omaha news, their website launched today. Go check it out — it’s so nicely done and full of event info and photographs reflective of Omaha’s fun and crafty people.)
Describe what you create.
My brand, veryvector, creates organic pop art that marries form, function and modern design. I design everything from wall art to furniture, combining technology and nature in an unconventional fashion.
What was your journey to becoming an artist?
While working as a designer and running a screen printing shop located in Breckenridge, Col., called Mountain Tees, I was given the freedom to experiment with their equipment in my free time. Learning how to screen print and combining my design style, I started printing on other materials than cotton t-shirts. I started printing my own patterns onto fabric and sewing it into pillows or stretching it over canvas.
One day on a whim, I decided to print some minimal-style graphics onto a few scraps of birch. The look was clean and modern. At the time, I had no idea of modernist or mid-century style of design. I was solely focused on snowboarding as many days as possible and living in the mountains. While helping a friend move, I noticed she had this chair that was just stunningly beautiful. It was an original Eames lounge chair and ottoman with the softest white leather. After a lot of research on Eames and discovering mid-century furniture, my addiction for design culture began.
In 2007 my wife and I opened a modern home decor store called Mtn. Modern located on Breckenridge Main Street. This gave me the opportunity to showcase my style design in conjunction with other great designers. I built our register counter large enough so it would allow me to work on designs — everything from lighting to furniture — while our customers shopped. Our customers really appreciated seeing products being made that were also being sold at a reasonable price.
What brought you to Omaha?
I’m originally from Omaha and moved to Breckenridge after going to school in Kearney. Owning a retail shop in the Colorado mountains is really difficult when most of your business is based on the cooperation of mother nature — snow in the winter or sun in the summer. After struggling financially to keep Mtn Modern in business, and my wife pregnant with our first child, we decided to move to Omaha. My parents still live here and having them close to their grandchildren, and the lower cost of living in Omaha, was the deciding factor to relocate.
How would you describe your style and the color palettes to which you are drawn?
Urban organic pop art. Most of my color inspiration comes from nature. I’m very fond of the shades of green of an Aspen tree to its brilliant orange right before they lose their leaves. Not only do Aspens have the best color palette, but the sound they make when the wind blows is very soothing and peaceful.
What are your mediums of choice?
Most of my designs are wood based. I tend to favor birch. I’m very fascinated with wood grain; it’s nature’s finger print and each piece will always be unique. It’s a really affordable medium and is also easy to fabricate, paint or stain.
I’m currently working on a handful of lighting designs which incorporate battery-powered LEDs.
Occasionally I like to use acrylic, but it’s more expensive and less forgiving than birch.
One of my main and most important mediums is my vinyl plotter. Making precise vinyl stencils allows me to transfer my designs onto whichever substrate, usually by spray paint.
Are you exploring any new mediums or methods?
I’m currently sketching out ideas to build a full functional wall art sound system.
Do you work outside of being an artist, if so, what do you do?
I’m very lucky and have a great inspiring day job that requires me to follow design trends and work with great designers. I currently work as a buyer for a division of Hayneedle called theFoundary.com.
How do you find time to “do it all?”
Canceling my cable years ago was the best. Now I don’t feel obligated to watch overpriced cable which frees up a lot of time, plus lots of motivation. Having two young boys at home, most of my work is done late into the night and I’m very rarely in bed before 1am.
What inspires you?
My main inspirations are music, family, nature and friends. I rely heavily on my friends for feedback and problem solving, and my wife Sierra who allows me the time to create. I also spend most of my days with my headphones on listening to some sort of dance music or reggae. Oh yeah, I can’t forget about Menards and Radio Shack … I love those places. I’ve made a few friends at both places who are always willing to help me with some of my concepts.
Is this where you want to be with your art, or do you have dreams/goals to make it bigger, sell more, etc.?
I would love to have my own design facility where I would manufacture and produce all my own products. Most of my designs are not one of kind but made with the thought of reproducing. Usually I’ll make a prototype and work out any kinks in my design process or materials, then I’ll begin reproducing the product.
Do you have a favorite piece — if so, what is it and why is it your favorite?
“Modernist Night” is my favorite. It’s built with LEDs to resemble the stars and dark ebony-stained birch for the night sky. The combination of the ebony stain, modernist silhouette and LEDs make this design very unique.
Where can people see and purchase your work?
I’m currently working on re-launching my Etsy shop and my site veryvector.com should be up by the end of April.