Brian Hanna was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. Not a traditional artist, Brian attended Oregon State University where in 1994 he obtained a degree in Construction Engineering Management. It was in 2012 when Brian decided to combine his love of art, LEGO® bricks, and his construction knowledge to create complex mosaics. Brian examines pop icons and everyday objects in a nostalgic context, using images that inspire an emotional response from the viewer. Brian is currently working on a number of pieces with subjects ranging from political to sentimental.
Designing and creating artwork initially began as a therapeutic outlet but over the years has developed into an addictive passion. In the past nine years, I have created over 60 pieces, from Babe Ruth to Prince to landscapes. The inspiration for each piece can come from a variety of sources usually a favorite memory of feeling.
I have always been interested in pop culture; music, movies, sports, icons and nostalgia. It offers a fun escape from the routine of everyday life. Interesting people trigger in me an inner desire to share their depth. My goal for each piece is to evoke a personal response, usually a smile, but also awe.
LEGO® bricks have always been a big part of my life, I played with them extensively as a kid. They have beautiful, bright colors that lend themselves to interesting and vibrant art. I love the texture, and how they fit neatly into squares.
A perfectionist by nature, each piece begins with a flat photo, but slowly evolves into a three-dimensional, intriguing work of art. The transformation of bringing each to life is a challenge that I crave. The process starts inside out, beginning at the center of the face; the eyes, nose and mouth. It might involve a handful of colors, but usually develops into many layers of tints and shades to ultimately present a one-of-a-kind creation.
I order bricks from around the world and will stop at nothing to find exactly the right colors. Once a piece is ‘complete,’ it is not uncommon for me to make adjustments until I find the perfect blend and shape. What I see when I stand back can look completely different to me with the swap of just a few bricks.
Many contemporary artists inspire me. Originally it was Andy Warhol, and then as I expanded my knowledge-base, learned to admire and appreciate Chuck Close, Shepard Fairey and John Stango’s work. It’s fascinating to study the nuances of other artists. I look forward to continuing to share my creations, inspiring others and being a positive influence in the world of art.
"Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get the work done. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you're not going to make an awful lot of work"
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