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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Bruce Yan Brand New Iconic Brands Interview

Bruce Yan

Bruce Yan's
Brand New
Iconic Brands with A Pop Culture Twist
Opening Reception
Saturday Feb 1, 7-10pm
Runs until Feb 22
G1988 East

Bruce Yan is relatively new to the pop culture gallery scene. He's been a graphic designer for 12 years, but stepped into his role through Threadless and had his work featured in multiple shows at pop culture galleries heavily last year. Now Bruce has his own show just as Olly Moss and Glen Brogan had with Gallery 1988, considered to be the starters of the pop culture gallery revolution. Bruce wouldn't reveal much about his upcoming show at the start of February, he want's to keep it a mystery to surprise his fans. He hopes that his fans show their support by showing up even though he'll be dressing comfortably, but might wear some high-end shoes.

Bruce and I talked about his career and work with his new show about to come out so soon on Melrose. Bruce had a smile on his face as we started our conversation over Google Hang-Outs. We went over his seemingly fast start. He's still a graphic artist by day and in the past was busy helping to create app after app. Now he's a pop culture phenomono of his own as a pop culture artist.

We got into his show right away and I asked how it was working with Gallery 1988 compared to the other galleries,

"They are one of the best pop culture galleries, " he exploded. He was, "very fortunate, " to be invited back he continued."It all started with Neko Bus."

Bruce was referring to his first piece for Gallery 1988 in the Product Placement Show from March 2013. The multi-legged ride-able cat bus from Studio Ghibli's Totoro film was featured in his black and white piece. The grinning smile might make the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland jealous. The pieces tag-line, "21st Century Purrfromance." In connection with that piece his first revealed art for the show and flyer features Totoro again. This time the Morton Salt logo becomes Miyazaki Salt and the content warning label becomes the show's info. A work of branding and anime that Bruce feels naturally go together.

Many times Bruce went, "It's trying to put the brands that match the iconic images already." He isn't trying to shove anything together, it has to naturally come together for him.

"Branding is something I respect a lot. It just connected with me. Branding to me means: Branding for one. Branding me to the scene. Brand new art coming from it."

I asked further about trying to connecting iconic memes and cartoons.

"I was just looking at the brands. Trying to create a clever mash-up. Mostly animation."

With anime being on the flyer I asked if any other anime mash-ups might be happening. Only Ghibli is what Bruce revealed. I went in asking for any video games and for right now only one piece is video game related. You'll have to look forward to Aled Lewis' show, Feb 7  a week later for your video game fix.

The glove were off without any video games on the table. I asked Bruce if we were going to see the branding as though it was real products not just prints.

"You won't see packaging, but you"ll be surprised."

I asked if Bruce would go all out for his show. I was thinking he'd wear a tuxedo. He interrupted me with, "Cosplay! Not going to wear cosplay, fancy sneakers." I drilled on and asked maybe some sort of elaborate costume, or maybe didn't get across he could be a brand himself. A fake brand of clothing. "Don't expect that from me, " he joked.

Bruce revealed he knew about the show all the way back in March, when he was attending WonderCon with other Gallery 1988 All-Stars. Damn, I hope he does a piece where he features all the well known Gallery 1988 artists as Hanna-Barbare All-Stars, that be such a meta-piece. Bruce was also doing Gallery 1988 signings at SDCC, he sat at the same table they were selling Sharknado prints from.

"Too much time, ' he brought up. He really didn't get a feel for the show until about two months back. Before than he would struggle day to day with ideas. He's come up with one and by the next day hate it. But light shined and he got with the shows themes idea. "You can totally see the brands coming together". Something I look forward to seeing.

In his home office in Seattle I spied the work of Audrey Kawasaki. He's not just an artist, but a fan of his colleagues work. He glows  when talking about them for a second. There's many more pieces up behind him. I spot an Olly Moss to the side.

We slolwy come back down to his work. "I'm more of a graphic designer than illustrator. I ask him to go on. "It's not as detailed my work has a more minimalistic style."

I ask him if he's trying to get corporate jobs with all the art for his new show. "No, no, no not trying."
Bruce is doing it for himself and his style.

Bruce went on about rolling into town for set-up a little bit before the show and can't wait to catch up with friends and eat at the SugarFish and In-N-Out. "Hopefully, some more teasers will come out."

You can check out more about Bruce at his site and Facebook.