The astonishing world of UCSC alumnus artist Brandon Bird

-Internet phenomenon to appear at Bookshop Santa Cruz on August 19 to celebrate his new book

UCSC art alumnus Brandon Bird
Brandon Bird’s Astonishing World of Art, book by Brandon Bird
Brandon Bird’s Astonishing World of Art, published by Chronicle Books, will hit stores nationwide on Sept. 1

Lazy Sunday Afternoon (Christopher Walken) by Brandon Bird, oil on canvas

Lazy Sunday Afternoon (Christopher Walken) by Brandon Bird, oil on canvas, 2004, 30" x 20"

UC Santa Cruz alumnus Brandon Bird is an artist known for his inclination to draw and paint figures from pop culture in absurd situations.

During his senior year at UCSC, the art major contributed a life-size oil painting of John Tesh for the annual Irwin Scholars exhibition at the Sesnon Gallery. As he noted at the time, "my ideas may be ironic, but they’re also completely sincere."

Originally from Sacramento, Bird attended UCSC from 1998 to 2002 and was a Regents Scholar.

Since graduating, he has gone on to create such pieces as the Law & Order coloring book (presented to the TV show's star on Late Night with Conan O’Brien), the Nicolas Cage Adventure playset, and various works revolving around actor Christopher Walken--including a large oil painting of Walken building a robot in his garage.

He also did a two-year stint as artist-in-residence at Cornell University’s Risley College, where he was tasked with offering “stimulating art-related programs” for students.

It was there he came up with “Letters to Walken”—a creative project that gave students the chance to write their yearly Christmas letter to Mr. Walken.

Bird eventually became a full-time visual artist based in Los Angeles.

Along the way, he earned a Webby award in 2005 (in the “Weird” category), and recently served as the creative and character designer for the first season of the Emmy-nominated The Aquabats Super Show! in 2011.

Brandon Bird’s Astonishing World of Art, his first art book, will hit stores nationwide on September 1, courtesy of Chronicle Books.

The book is full of Bird’s prolific drawings and paintings in multiple formats, including cut-outs, pull-out postcards, stickers, and coloring pages.

It features a variety of activities and portraits parodying popular actors and television shows, ranging from Nicolas Cage, Edward Norton, and Christopher Walken, to Ghostbusters, Law & Order and Mr. T.

Some of the activities featured in the book include “Customizing Your Own Sweet Noam Chomsky Van,” “Making Your Own Christopher Walken Mask,” “Coloring Michael Bay Glamour Shots,” and “Re-imagining Nicolas Cage’s Hairstyle.”

Bird returns to Santa Cruz on Monday, August 19, at 7:30 p.m. for a reading, discussion, Q & A, and signing at Bookshop Santa Cruz to celebrate the publication of his new book.

Admission is free and the public is invited.

For more information about the event, call Bookshop Santa Cruz at (831) 423-0900. To learn more about the upcoming book, Brandon Bird’s Astonishing World of Art, visit the Chronicle Books web site.