“When COVID hit, I lost a handful of gigs and was really feeling unsure about the place art has while the world is burning,” pop-surrealist artist Brandon Thomas (aka ArtbreakerBT) remembers. Thomas found a new hope when they became part of the Vivid Matter Collective. “Artists help envision a better world while we transport people into fantasies of our design,” Thomas says.
Thomas, who says their style is influenced by Kehinde Wiley, Salvador Dalí and South Park, opted for an Afro and pick. “As someone more light-skinned, my hair has still definitely been an immediate source of attention for micro- and macroaggressions,” Thomas says. “Being on the constant lookout for having your personal space invaded is as essential to the Black experience as the pride we have in our magical curls, locks, weaves, fades, fros, rows, you name it.”
Speaking of pride: Notice the subtle rainbow in the teeth of the comb? As Thomas puts it: “I wanted to intersect my queerness as well, especially given that we were in Capitol Hill…. Black Lives have and will always include the queerdos.”
What’s next: Since the mural, Thomas’ calendar has been full of projects, including the publication of a book they illustrated. Thomas will also be the face of the Seattle Summer Reading program, has multiple murals on the horizon and has co-created Blaque Mass Studios, a community art studio that aims to reclaim space through Black creation and joy, opening Juneteenth.
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