Get To Know: Brett Crawford

Painter, metal sculptor, printmaker, illustrator and street artist are only a few of the titles California native Brett Crawford (a.k.a. Start Vault) holds up his sleeve. Not bound by any one specific skill, the multi-talented artist started getting back into the creative scene three years ago after a 13 year hiatus. His work can now be seen on walls and galleries all over Los Angeles. We asked Crawford about his creative process, his influences and of course, his artwork.

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TH: How would you describe the type of art you do?
BC: I think with my wide variety of subject matter and mediums, it is easier to describe me as an artist than to describe my art. Me as an artist, I am an animal out of it’s cage. I stopped doing art for 13 years. I started again in 2013 and I am having so much fun! When I say I am an animal, I don’t mean something cool like a tiger or lion. I am more like one of those dairy cows who have been penned up their whole lives and have just touched grass for the very first time. They jump around and roll around in the grass. Happy! Yes, I am a dairy cow.


TH: Describe your creative process from start to finish.
BC: I do many different types of art including but not limited to Illustration, painting, murals, printmaking and film making and my creative process differs from one to the other. For my solo show, “The Vaudevillian” at Gallery 38 in Los Angeles, I worked with the gallery owner Badir McCleary to create the theme. I made an initial painting with brand new characters and showed it to him. He said, “I love the Vaudeville theme” and I said, “yeah Vaudeville.” I hung up the phone I googled Vaudeville (I had no idea what he was talking about). I feel lucky to live in this era full of instant information. I researched Vaudeville and my head became overflowing with visions of animals and humans entertaining each other and everyone around them. “The Vaudevillian” was born. 

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TH: A lot of your art combines different animals, forming something peculiar and exotic. What is your inspiration behind this series? Is there any meaning in the recurring hybrid of animals in your images?
BC: The first time I combined different animals, it was based on word play. I wanted to do literal translations of animals like Tiger-sharks and leopard-seals. With “The Vaudevillian,” I had a lot of animal human morphs because I wanted to create a world where animals were on a level playing field with humans. They sing, they dance, they roller-skate, they play musical instruments and interact with humans equally. 

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TH: How long does it usually take you to create your designs?
BC: I can create several rough designs for a client to look at within 24 hours. A completed design is most often done within 72 hours, depending on the complexity and size.


TH: What medium do you use to design these images?
BC: I design with red and blue lead directly onto the birch panel and then begin rendering with acrylics. 

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TH: I’ve noticed you have incorporated many famous figures in your works, such as Keith Haring and Charles Schulz. Have these men or anyone else had a large influence on your art?
BC: I am definitely inspired by both Keith Haring and love “Peanuts." I did the Charles Schulz painting for one of the Talenthouse Creative Invites. It was fun, but the competition was tough, so many great artists participated. I paint/draw people who I admire. I admire people for many different reasons, here are a few: Their character, talent, community involvement, humor and sometimes because they have been kind to me or someone I know. My influences are wide and varied, ranging from the renaissance, to todays street art. My biggest influence was the greatest illustrator most people have never heard of, his name is Dugald Stermer and he was both an amazing artist and human being. He gave me my current plan to restart my art career and I am happy to say it's working for me. He told me to treat my art as a hobby when first starting out. He compared it to road racing bicyclists. He said, “Think about those fellas who get up at the crack of dawn, put on those funny outfits, get on their $10,000.00 bikes and ride their hearts out for 4 hours. Imagine putting that much time, passion and money into your art. They do it because they love it. You should do your art because you love it. You will enjoy it more and make better art.” I’ll quote him but I am sure he said it more eloquently. It's how I remember it. 

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Collaboration with Easeone 

Learn more about Brett Crawford on InstagramTwitter and his website.  


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