Getting to know you: Brian Britigan

Each week we ask a Seattle artist to answer 11 personal questions. Last week, Wesley Mayer. This week: Brian Britigan!


We first came across Brian’s work at the SOIL show Beyond the Western Lands, and his impossible-to-miss painting Golden (see below) sparked a long conversation and subsequent post-show research about the origins of the myth that beehives can be spontaneously generated from a cow’s carcass (Bugonia - it’s a thing). Brian’s work will get you going like that. He weaves powerful stories by using animals as stand-ins for humans, and by peeling back what appears to be a scene of normal Americana to reveal the weirdness beneath.


Where is your studio?  I’m currently working out of a rather cramped apartment on Capitol Hill, but I also have a habit of commandeering my boyfriend’s dining room table in the Central District.

Native Seattleite or transplant?  I was born and raised in Iowa City, IA, I’ve been living in Seattle for about 7 years now.

What’s on your studio soundtrack?  Lately I’ve been drawn to talk more than music, so my soundtrack includes a lot of NPR and art/illustration podcasts.

Who is your art history crush?  I have a strong affinity for early 20th century illustration, and J.C. Leyendecker is the cream of the crop.  That guy could paint like nobody’s business.

What is your favorite Seattle fall activity?  Halloween!  I’m a sucker for just about anything involving costumes and I always end up spending a couple of October afternoons scouring Capitol Hill’s secondhand stores for supplies.

Where is the best coffee in town?  Whatever’s closest when I wake up, I’m useless without it.

What is the last book you read?  The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden by Catherynne M. Valente.  She’s a favorite of mine and her way of writing always gives me an itch to go draw something fantastic.

What is your most treasured possession?  My sketchbooks.  I’ve come to realize that they’re my best link to memories of everything that was going on while I was filling up their pages.

What is the worst job you’ve ever had?  I was a checkout clerk at Target when I was 19, I think I worked there for only three weeks before I simply stopped showing up.  It was dreadful.

What super power would you like to have?  Shape shifting!  It would be so helpful for drawing animals – instead of gathering photo reference I could just turn into whatever and take some selfies.

What is your favorite piece on Artsyo (that’s not yours)?  I really love Levi Hastings‘ small dinosaur paintings, we showed together back in June and I was so happy to snag one of them.

Thanks Brian!

See more of Brian Britigan’s work on Artsyo.