The Funk Zone's Freshest Mural

Painter Brett Hammond Contributes to Alleyway Art

Paul Wellman

A pop panel by Santa Barbara–based artist Brett Hammond went up earlier this summer in a Funk Zone alleyway showcasing more than a dozen pieces by some area favorites. The new painting stands out for its simple wit and vibrancy, a common theme of Hammond’s since around 2011. That’s when he opened the now-closed 80 Forty Gallery in Los Angeles and started testing different styles in a highly discerning market.

“I saw what people reacted to,” Hammond said, “and I decided to surrender to pop because they responded with laughter. [My work] is a quick read, and it’s fun adding levity to a piece. It makes people smile, and they put it in their house, and then they call me to say how much they love it.”

While some of Hammond’s panels deliver clever one-liners, others let the imagery speak for itself. Arguably among his most popular work are depictions of Spider-Man doing yoga, the Incredible Hulk meditating, and Batman and Superman locked in a kiss. While Hammond creates his indoor pieces with spray paint and oil-based acrylic, his outdoor paintings are done with a combination of high-quality exterior house paint and “spray paint for the pop colors,” he said. “I like to use good paint — something that’ll last in direct sunlight — so I don’t need a finish coat.”

For this Funk Zone piece, which measures 8′ x 8′, Hammond went with a wine theme, since the panel is directly across from DV8 Cellars, on a building owned by Kim Hughes. The Santa Barbara Arts Alliance approached Hughes earlier this year, looking for a wall big enough to hold the cityscape now prominently on display as the alley’s first piece. “That really spurred my interest in [showcasing] art,” Hughes said. The other pieces, including Hammond’s, soon followed. See them all in the alley between 22 and 28 Anacapa Street.

Hammond is represented in Napa by ÆRENA, and was recently picked up by CODA Gallery, in Palm Desert.

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