16 artists, 1 message: Seattle’s Black Lives Matter mural one year later
“When COVID hit I lost a handful of gigs and I really had no idea what the place of art was while the world was on fire,” pop-surrealist artist Brandon thomas (a.k.a ArtbreakerBT) remember. Thomas found new hope when they joined the Vivid Matter collective. “Artists help imagine a better world while we transport people into the fantasies of our design,” says Thomas.
Thomas, who says their style is influenced by Kehinde Wiley, Salvador Dalí and South Park, opted for an Afro and pickaxe. “As a lighter-skinned person, my hair has always been a source of immediate attention for micro- and macro-aggressions,” says Thomas. “Being constantly on the lookout for invasion of your personal space is as essential to the Black experience as the pride we have in our magical curls, locks, weaves, fading, fros, rows, you name it.”
Speaking of pride: notice the subtle rainbow in the teeth of the comb? As Thomas says: “I also wanted to meet my homosexuality, especially since we were in Capitol Hill…. Black Lives has and will always include queerdos. “
And after: Since the mural, Thomas’s calendar has been filled with projects, including the publication of a book they illustrated. Thomas will also be the face of Seattle’s summer reading program, has several murals on the horizon and co-created Blaque Mass Studios, a community art studio that aims to reclaim space through creation and black joy, opening the Juneteenth.