A pop panel by Santa Barbara–based artist Brett Hammond went up earlier this summer in a Funk Zone alleyway showcasing more than a dozen pieces by some area favorites. The new painting stands out for its simple wit and vibrancy, a common theme of Hammond’s since around 2011. That’s when he opened the now-closed 80 Forty Gallery in Los Angeles and started testing different styles in a highly discerning market.
“I saw what people reacted to,” Hammond said, “and I decided to surrender to pop because they responded with laughter. [My work] is a quick read, and it’s fun adding levity to a piece. It makes people smile, and they put it in their house, and then they call me to say how much they love it.”
While some of Hammond’s panels deliver clever one-liners, others let the imagery speak for itself. Arguably among his most popular work are depictions of Spider-Man doing yoga, the Incredible Hulk meditating, and Batman and Superman locked in a kiss. While Hammond creates his indoor pieces with spray paint and oil-based acrylic, his outdoor paintings are done with a combination of high-quality exterior house paint and “spray paint for the pop colors,” he said. “I like to use good paint — something that’ll last in direct sunlight — so I don’t need a finish coat.”
For this Funk Zone piece, which measures 8′ x 8′, Hammond went with a wine theme, since the panel is directly across from DV8 Cellars, on a building owned by Kim Hughes. The Santa Barbara Arts Alliance approached Hughes earlier this year, looking for a wall big enough to hold the cityscape now prominently on display as the alley’s first piece. “That really spurred my interest in [showcasing] art,” Hughes said. The other pieces, including Hammond’s, soon followed. See them all in the alley between 22 and 28 Anacapa Street.