Jerrod Johnson

The Primal Art of Brian Hibbard

The Green Bay native is hoping to shake up the Milwaukee art scene.

By - Jul 23rd, 2014 12:18 pm
Brian Hibbard

Brian Hibbard

Some time after moving to Milwaukee, Green Bay native Brian Hibbard exhibited his work at Lu Lu’s Cafe. He sold about 8 paintings, and was astounded. Hibbard remembers thinking “Oh wow. This is great. This is why I moved here.”

Brian Hibbard was born in De Pere, Wisconsin. It was here he developed his love for art. His parents supported him in those goals and he attended UW-Whitewater to pursue a degree with an Art Minor, while diversifying his knowledge of art techniques and mediums. He returned to Green Bay, where he had an art studio at The Art Garage, and was the youngest artist to ever take up residency there. Hibbard threw himself into his work and began creating some of the pieces that can now be viewed on his website:

With friends like the owner of the Green Bay bar, White Dog Black Cat, Hibbard and his peers were able to do “live painting” in juxtaposition with musicians playing live shows. As you can imagine, for the one night each week, the bar would become a whirlwind of simultaneous creativity.

After 3 years of working in his studio at The Art Garage Hibbard decided to put on a show consisting of all his accumulated pieces. He called the show Big City Living and was encouraged by the reactions from visitors. At that point he decided it was time to move to a bigger stage, which brought him to MIlwaukee. He began connecting to venues in neighborhoods like Bay View and Riverwest.

Hibbard has exhibited at The Cocoon Room and Lu Lu’s Cafe and is an active member of the local art community. He is a big fan of artists like Jean Michele Basquiat, Andy Warhol, and Jackson Pollack. He likes to think his work represents a combination of the three. On his website his work is described as “mainly influenced by abstract expressionism, street art, and pop art.”

That’s also where Hibbard offers a kind of artist’s manifesto: “I like my paintings to be primal. After all, art started on cave walls. I love the ingenuity of art. It doesn’t have to be oil on canvas. It can be crayon on a napkin and be mind blowingly breathtaking. I scrounge materials. I use old house paint. I use dumpster cardboard. I make scrapwood frames. I think art should be more about the ideas behind the physical object.”

I got a chance to sit down with Brian Hibbard and ask him more questions about his work:

What artists most inspire you?

Probably my favorite of all time is Jean Michele Basquiat. He just pumped out so much stuff in a short period of time. He started out with the graffiti. He did the word short poems, and then he moved into gallery stuff. He was just…he was like a mad scientist.

What’s your creative process?

Usually I start with no idea whatsoever and then I spit out what is floating around in my brain, like whatever TV shows I’m watching at the time, or whatever I last read about or whatever I’m doing.

Why Art?

It’s very therapeutic. It’s the best way I found to express my emotions. I’m not very good at verbalizing sometimes, but I can get it out through my art work. It just feels good. I just like to do it.

Is there any traces of Milwaukee in your work?

I’m influenced by everything around me. I really like Milwaukee. They have MIAD, The Art Institute, UWM, a lot of colleges… if Milwaukee had the same weather as San Diego has, I’d be done looking.

What’s new in your work?

I’ve been getting into photography lately. (Available online here) I’ve done painting exhibitions, but I would like to do a photography exhibition some time.


0 thoughts on “Profile: The Primal Art of Brian Hibbard”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful! I love Brian’s work and I love what this author is doing.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Interesting artist whom I’ve never heard of prior to this. I really enjoy the chaos in his art.

  3. Anonymous says:


  4. Anonymous says:

    His work is incredible. Looked up his influences and it’s clear how they marked his work but also how his pieces are entirely his own vision. Look forward to seeing how his career unfolds.

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