Brad Overton has made a name for himself for his artworks that blend multiple cultures together. A visit to Mexico several years ago inspired him to explore Mexican culture and traditional Mexican themes. He has been known to feature Mexican, Roman, and Catholic biblical and mythological figures in his artwork, and most faces he paints include calavera makeup in the traditional Day of the Dead fashion.
Components such as an abundant floral headdress, penetrating facial features, and a palette of equal intensity make Overton’s realistic portraits stand out against all others. The painting below, entitled “Coyo”, features an unknown woman, set against a saturated blue background, whose penetrating eyes and vibrant calavera face paint immediately engage the viewer. One instantly wants to know more. She is at once mysterious and accessible.
Music, opera, and theatre all inspire his work as well. Many of his paintings will build upon themes he has seen within them. He enjoys telling stories with his paintings like the passionate tale below: the story of Salome is filled with lust and corruption. Salome holding John the Baptist’s head is iconic and powerful, and Brad Overton successfully blends in Mexican culture using calavera face paint and an American psychedelic background for special effect.
Humor in his Still-Life Paintings
Brad Overton is no stranger to using humor in his work to encourage the observer to rethink their mentality. With each new piece, he borrows from 2 or more different topics and combines them into a playful final product. He looks at the simple toys “beyond mere sentimentality… to inspire viewers by simply looking closely at the many beautiful aspects of these toys…” Beyond the subjects of his paintings, Brad Overton brings humor to the titles as well. The titles are based on famous song titles such as “Life in the Fast Lane” and “Love and Mercy.”
In the painting above, “Riding with Mary”, Brad Overton depicts a worn toy Volkswagen with a Christian spiritual icon on top. By painting these two subjects together, Overton is reminded of the shrines he would create as a child, combining toy cars, talismans, and religious idles. These playful combinations provided a passage for Overton allowing him to comfortably sit and think or meditate. He commonly paints two drastically different subjects together on the same canvas such as this.
All of Brad Overton’s works pictured here are available for purchase at Blue Rain Gallery. You may view them and more on his artist page.