Bryan Pickens never had a choice.

The 40-year-old artistic director at the JP Marketing in Fresno was destined to toil with paint brushes, charcoal pencils and computer mouses his entire life. In his larger-than-life art you can see influences from his father the woodworker; mother the drawer; and older brother the tattoo artist.

Pickens — Visalia born and a Redwood High School graduate, describes his life as a never-ending quest to create.

“I definitely think there is a strain of right brain blood running through our family,” says Pickens, who graduated from  Chico State with a degree in graphic design and fine arts. “I chose this profession for an exact reason. I had to find a career that I could be creative 247. There were not other options, from grade school on, I really didn’t care for much else.”

Pickens has created award-winning concepts and designs for companies like Kaplan University, Tachi Palace Hotel and Kaweah Delta Medical Hospital. He is the rare artist that can work in teams to produce high level products and designs by the day and bury himself in the studio at night to produce personal fine art projects.

skull_collage

“Its a blessing to be able to go to work everyday and create,” says Pickens. “I start each morning staring at a blank white computer screen. It’s really creatively refreshing to build something beautiful from nothing. Every single day is new day to create something from nada.”

He comes home to a supportive family — his wife, Kathleen, son Landon and daughter Ava. Pickens says that the life of a fathers a busy one, but he forces himself to find time in the studio.

“I try to get in the studio 4 days a week. Kids off to bed by 8 p.m. and I’m in the studio sometimes until midnight. I have to force myself to bed, I really could just work all night,” says Pickens. “An artist friend of mind (Tony Cuellar) who is also nocturnal said to me ‘I make art all night feeding off the dreams of people sleeping.’ ”

In those late nights, Pickens has crafted a signature portrait style that is truly unlike anything else. Stunning female figures that art both ultra realistic and fantastical. In recent work, he has introduced a three-dimensional composition that brings the figures off the canvas with hand-cut wood pieces.

“I have been painting the figure for some time now. My work is a cross between illustration, realism and wood working,” says Pickens. “My latest work has been trying to push the boundaries of what portrait can be. I’m really trying to blur the line between flat, and three-dimensional forms.”

His work has been published in coffee table books, hung in great galleries across the U.S., but all the accolades come a far second to selling his work to art lovers.

Pickens is a founding member of Culture 5, the collective of individuals organizing the Tastemaker Music & Art Festival on October 18— a yearly festival showcasing local creative talent around a monster music concert. He will showcasing his work and participating in a live-art demonstration with dozens of local artists at the festival. He’s excited to be surrounded by the other artists and talk shop.

“I run into talented creative people everyday. I really wanted to be a part of culture 5 for that reason,” says Pickens. “I feel the Valley has a wealth of creative folks that need to be exposed. There is no reason you need to drive down South or to the Bay to purchase or view outstanding artwork or music.”

To get tickets to the Tastemaker Music & Arts Festival visit, culture5.org.

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