Brian Kaspr is a sign painter and hand letterer based in Connecticut. As an artist in residency on The Collective Quarterly's trip to California, he produced a series reverse-painted on glass—just like the ubiquitous window flashings he observed on nearly every street in Ventura. This one, "Jammin," is his homage to Central Coast slang. "As an east-coaster by way of the Midwest, it's so noticeable but so natural in the western vocabulary," he says. "Jammin: an affirmation of what someone did or said."

  • SPECS:
  • Limited edition of one
  • Oil-based enamel reverse-painted on glass
  • Set in a found-frame from Brooklyn
  • Dimensions: 18" x 24" (approximate; some variance according to framing)
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Every morning around 6 a.m., when the sun came up sideways through the transverse valley, nearly everyone was awake throughout Glenn Muse Estate, the funky mansion where The Collective Quarterly stayed during its one-week artist’s residency in Ojai. 

We all knew the pink moment is something you don't want to sleep through. Some people went on runs, some drank coffee on the patio, and some took drive out into the mountains to take photographs. But Brian Kaspr created.  He would wake up, walk through the gardens, and pick up a pixie tangerine or stoop next to a cactus, and using the pink sunrise as his studio light, he would make signage out of the setting. He created art out of the environment, and with a purpose.

That fusion has guided him since he first painted 'B. Kaspr Interprises' on the side of a toolbox when he was 11 years old, growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. "The roots go deep, because there is a fair amount of painted signage in Milwaukee," he explains. "Older aesthetics clung on because a lot of places couldn't afford what's new – but ultimately it comes down to those aesthetics belonging. Painting on the side of a building and creating a sign that is part of the environment creates something completely different than someone designing a sign in a factory and just hanging it on the side of that same building."

All throughout his time in California, he applied new inspiration to that old Wisconsin foundation. He sketched a sign for liquor that consisted of a "XXX" cork jug, labeled "Giggle Juice." A surf sign drawn up after a jaunt to Santa Barbara summed up a group surf lesson, displaying tubular-shaped letters trapped in a ripcurl reading "Get Pitted." Inspiration is everywhere for Kaspr, because there is something to be said about the aesthetic of everything this world contains—even a hot tub. After The Collective Quarterly crew soaked together and realized that sharing an oversized bathtub had just unintentionally bonded us, Kaspr drew up an honorary patch for us all, reading "Soup Club."

 "I'm a big fan of working with my hands," Kaspr says. "People want to jump to an easy solution, they want to use tools to craft within an environment. But I've always said that you need to trust your hands. The environment is there and your hands have always been there, too."

Discover the full story from Issue 3: Topa Topa »

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