The steps to legally changing a surname are as follows: Put a public notice in a newspaper to prove you're not trying to escape debt, warrants, bookies, ex-wives, etc., provide a reasonable excuse to a judge (something like, you're an artist and the name recognition might help to boost sales) and cough up $200. That's how this month's cover artist became Brett Superstar, and the Portland-based painter said the name change was driven equally by comedy and artistry.
"It's really good at the DMV when you're surrounded by people at 7 am, and everyone is miserable and someone walks out of the backroom and says, 'Superstar?' and you say, 'That's me,'" said Superstar in an interview with the Source.
Source Weekly: Do you have a day job? Or are you all art all the time?
Brett Superstar: I do artwork almost all day long. When I'm not, I work a freelance job at an animation studio called Bent Image Lab. I do everything from character design to painting sets. I get to paint three-dimensional structures and design themes and landscapes, I've also done storyboarding there. The crew there are the most creative people I've ever worked with.
SW: Have you ever had any of your characters (like the rabbit on the cover) come to life through the animation gig?
BS: There are two spots for a Germany driven company called Tetra Pak. They make sustainable recyclable containers, milk containers and the soup that comes in a box, they design those. I think there are about 10 characters I designed for those commercials. I got to do a rabbit and a hippo, some lemurs and a scientist elk. (Watch the commercial on the Source's Bent Blog.)
SW: What is your typical medium? Canvas? Wood?
BS: Acrylic on wood. For me, it's usually free because I dumpster dive or someone says, 'I have a bunch of wood, do you want it?' It travels well, it ships easier than canvas, and if I do any art sales or craft sales, I stack my paintings. It's a lot more forgiving when they're canvas.
SW: Did you watch "Bugs Bunny" as a kid?
BS: Yes. I actually get the jokes now. Later in life "Ren and Stimpy" put its hooks in me
SW: Tell me about the piece of art on the cover?
BS: That one was a commission for someone who had seen a previous piece and wanted something similar. Just having the little bird on his head, the charm is irresistible. I'm a total bird nerd. I have bird feeders, and bird tattoos. Birds and animals have always been an art.
Then there was the "Portlandia" phenomenon of put a bird on it. A lot of people don't realize that birds have always been in art. You find weird stuff kicking around at the thrift store and there are birds everywhere. I only had bad feelings about it when I was hearing the joke too much, but I got to do some design work for "Portlandia." That's what I love, they can come into town and hire all my friends and keep them employed. That's great.
Brett Superstar, brettsuperstar.com
Work at Franklin Crossing beginning March 7, First Friday
Curated by Billye Turner.