Bren’s Bataclan is a Filipino-American artist who began his street art installation in the summer of 2003. The painting involves the artist leaving his cartoon inspired FREE paintings for takers who ‘promise to smile.’ He calls this SmileyB project. Bren started around the Boston area but has since gone worldwide with his project and has begun to paint murals and exhibit his paintings across the country.
His childhood in the Philippines helped form the characters he paints today. The color scheme he uses–effervescent and festive–is based on what he used to see when he was a kid in Manila. Anime is also a big inspiration in his work, which is why most of his creatures have big eyes—one big eye and a smaller one (his signature look). When he was 12, his family moved to San Francisco and it was there that he was exposed to street art.
Bren’s project has been featured all over— in the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, The Smithsonian Magazine, The Readers Digest, The Chicago Tribune, The Detroit Free Press, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe and various Philippine-based & Filipino American newspapers, TV shows and so on.
Bren’s Kickstarter fundraising for the SmileyB project even went beyond 300% of its goal in order to give away paintings in all 50 states by the end of 2013. To top that, Heinemann published a book about Bren’s artwork.
Bren’s strategy is to drop and run. No waiting around, watching and speculating whether the art will find a caring keeper or will end up wet, cold and alone. He scouts for spaces with substantial foot traffic and benches — all the better to exhibit his art. If he can’t locate a raised platform, he will rest the piece on a step or even the ground. He prefers dark or neutral backgrounds that will defer to the gumdrop colors of his paintings. (Source)
Bren’s background is in graphic design and computer animation; it should come as no surprise that his characters are so graphic, stylized and streamlined. His goal is to have the least amount of details but have the maximum amount of personality. His other goals are to bring art to people who may not typically visit art galleries and museums. Give paintings to folks who may not be able to afford original artwork and lastly, to see more smiles around the globe.
Prior to painting full time, Bren was a teacher and taught computer graphics and design at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and at the Boston Museum School. He was also involved with the design think tank lab in Boston and was into computer animation industry in California. Bren’s received his undergraduate degree in design from UCLA with the highest distinction as a Summa Cum Laude honorary graduate. Then, he preceded his graduate degree in computer animation from the Ohio State University.
This Boston based artist is on a mission to spread kindness and share smiles through art.
- Follow him on Facebook: Bren-Bataclan
- Follow him on IG @brenbataclan
- Follow him on Twitter @smileproject
- Visit his website
Images provided by the artist.