April 19, 2011
Bagger43 got his own pair of Chucks.
Dennis “Bagger43″ Brown won our Cut&Paste Audience Design Activity this year, and for his troubles, he won a few pairs of fully customized shoes. An outstanding designer and illustrator in his own right, Bagger43 makes his home in San Francisco. We caught up with him in his new gear and chatted about bagging groceries, his favorite artistic mediums, and being a nomad.
Dennis – can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I spent majority of my life overseas, my father was in the US Air Force so I moved around a good amount. I had a great time growing up; I’ve been fortunate enough to have lived in places like Philippines, Japan, Okinawa, Hawaii, all before moving to the US. I didn’t move to the States until I started college in 2001, been living in the US since. I’ve always been doing art since I was young but didn’t begin taking it seriously until I went to art school. I attended Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota, Florida receiving a BFA in Illustration from 01-05. Since graduating I’ve been working in an range of different art genres and art fields, and also had the opportunity to work/live in different places in the US such as Orlando, San Antonio, New York and now San Francisco.
Where does the Bagger name come from?
I used to be a grocery bagger in high school, they gave each of the workers a bagger pin and mine was #43. It was a pretty great gig at the time! All my friends worked alongside with me and I was making decent pay for what it was. Fast forward to college, I was in the process of making a website for my art and was trying to think of a name for the site. I wanted to pick a name that actually wasn’t my real name, due to the fact that if you search my name on the net, you’ll run into a grip about a variety of Dennis Brown’s. So in the process of thinking of a name for the site, I found my bagger pin, and decided to go with Bagger43 and the name stuck since.
How did being a military kid, and spending a host of time in Asia growing up, influence you as an artist and beyond?
It’s inevitable that growing up as a military dependent and living in Asia influenced my work, and me as a person, a great deal. My perspective was broadened at an early age. I interacted with people from all different types of backgrounds and cultures and was exposed to so many things. I started developing an interest in such a broad array of things that cultivated me into being an eclectic person/artist.
Painting and marker illustration seem to be two fairly distinct modes for creating art. What draws you to these two tools particularly?
Painting in general is such an amazing timeless practice, to push and pull colored liquid around until the end result formulates in something solid that invokes feeling, dimension, depth, form & space; that process alone makes the activity so compelling. As far as my pen/ink work, I feel in a way that it’s an extension of my painting, except the colors are limited and the tools are slightly different. Plus pen/ink is great for reproduction due to it’s flat presentation and is also a fast medium to work in.
A lot of your marker works seems to be character driven. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from everything really, I know that’s a broad statement but I’m really drawn to an abundance of things.
You’ve crisscrossed the globe. What’s your favorite city to live in? To make art in?
I’ll have to say San Francisco. There is something about this city that got me from my very first visit, I just had this sense to live here somehow. This city in general is a pretty artsy city, so the support for the arts is big. For sure a great city for artists.
How much does fashion inspire you? Have you been involved in the fashion world in any capacity before?
It’s such a dense medium, we can really go into detail all the ways it inspires me, but in short fashion inspires me a great deal. I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to be an in-house staff illustrator for Marc Ecko a couple of years back. For a little under two years I worked along side some really stellar designers and illustrators collaborating on a whole array of clothing projects. Everything from T-shirt graphics, providing graphics for garments, accessories, shoe graphics, etc. Fun times.
Whats it like having your own pair of customized Chuck Taylor sneakers?
Pretty cool really haha. I’m flattered to see my drawings reproduced on Taylor’s! It would be great to collaborate with you guys in the future sometime on a full-on custom Chuck’s project. Full-on custom collaborative project meaning, customizing a colorway, design of image/pattern on the shoe, seems, laces, soles, etc even designing the packaging/box, the whole deal! Just throwing the idea out there!
Photo Credit: Berlin Tomas