It's no secret that Park Slope is a haven for artists, which sometimes makes it hard for some of them to stand out in the community. I want you guys to know about a man who is the real deal. His name is Brad Johansen, and I met him this past November at the Lyceum's comic convention, King Con. He was seated at a huge table covered in pretty eclectic wares that were for sale. Upon closer look, I noticed he had some seriously cool shit -- from prints, to photos, to photo books, illustrations and on and on -- all handmade by the Brooklyn Pirate, which is the name that Johansen brands himself under.
When I recently sat down to talk with Johansen, he filled me in on a couple of seriously awesome things he's accomplished in his career as a freelance artist, least of which is making a career for himself as a freelance artist.
After graduating from the School of Visual Arts where he specialized in old-school animation, Johansen spent 3 years working for Marvel, doing finishing work on their comics. Then he was hired by Sesame Street to rebrand and relaunch The Electric Company by re-working and re-imagining the original designs from the popular 70's show.
On his society6 page, I found a variety of his designs that are materialized into a variety of different forms, including iphone cases, stationary cards, throw pillows, laptop and ipad skins and, of course, prints. Again, I was amazed at his versatlilty as an artist. When I asked him which medium was his favorite to work in, he said: "I need to create and make "new" things on a daily basis using all mediums to keep myself motived, but if I had to favor a work medium it would have to be my trusty "pencil and paper"...a close 2nd place or flavorful medium would be food."
Food, you say? Yes, in his dreams, Johansen wouldn't mind being a brewmaster or foodcart vendor or archeologist. Basically, "anything that would involve history, art, animals, food and beer." Fair enough. And as a 10-year Sloper, Johansen says what's kept him in the neighborhood for so long is... the food: "I've seen many residential and architectural changes to this neighborhood over the years, but one thing that sticks around is good food from great people." And just where does he like to get eat around here? "Bagels at Bagel Factory, brunch at Windsor Cafe, Margaritas at Cantina and grub at Monsignor's."
While Johansen would like you to know is that he seriously loves being a freelancer and is always looking for interesting projects or collaborations with other artists, I want you to know that I love these record wall mounts... hard. Just a hint for anyone stumped as to what to get me for Christmas. I mean, record mounts? Genius!
Seriously, if you have anyone on your Christmas/Hanukkah/Solistice/Kwanza list who likes unique, handmade art, prints or tees, Johansen just became your Santa, Hanukkah Harry, or whoever else gives out gifts this time of year for your holiday of choice. And not only can you go here, here, here or here to browse and order, you can also visit him this weekend, December 15 and 16th at the Lyceum's Holiday Marketplace. Go say hi and go buy his stuff, or hire him, or bring him some good food! He'll love it.