Artist and Becker Merchandiser Brian Bent, who is best known in the surf industry for his vibrant and playful artwork that’s featured in each of Becker’s five locations, is at it again. Tomorrow (Saturday, November 2), Bent will showcase his latest batch of avant-garde artwork at an art show held inside Becker’s recently opened Huntington Beach location from 7 to 10:00 p.m.
The 20 or so paintings in “Bent’s Crooked Fashion Tour” will be for sale, but Bent says it’s the idea of the show — the idea of bringing people together for a good time — that has him most excited. “It’s not even the matter of money,” he says. “It’s a matter of somebody looking at it and going, ‘Oh my gosh that’s cool.’ If it sells, it sells. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”
If you walk into a Becker surf shop and gaze at the wacky structures and paintings inside, it’s pretty evident that Bent’s goal is to entertain. “All my stuff is upbeat and fun,” Bent says. “If it gets a little deep, it’s not something you’re going to drown in.”
The underlying theme of the show is Western. Paintings include images of Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and Kitty Wells. Bent says he’s also thrown a couple superheroes into the mix, and, of course, his requisite combination of hot-rod-culture-meets-surf-culture. “It’s people more than structures and things,” he says. “It’s a little bit more animated.”
Most of the art is painted on plywood and Masonite, using exterior latex and oil-based paints. “I try to get the best quality paint because it glides better and it’s richer,” Bent says. “I like really vivid colors and bright contrasts.”
For the success of his latest collection, Bent tips his hat to Becker Owner Dave Hollander, who gave him a couple extra days off in order to prepare for the event. “Some of my best pieces came out because of that,” he says.
Bent was originally hired by Becker in 1985. For many years industry execs have wanted to purchase Bent’s art for either their homes or offices, says Mike Bill, who handles marketing and promotions for Becker. Now, they will get a chance to make a long-waited buy.
Prices for the art range from 100 to 600 dollars, or about half the amount you’d pay if you picked up Bent’s art at a gallery. This is Bent’s second art show, and the first one he’s held at Becker. He participated in his first show in the Winter of 2001. “Since my first show I’ve been more art-focused, because through that gallery it kind of helped me know what to do for an actual art show.”
Along with the paintings, there will also be pieces from Becker’s collection of Bent-built structures that are seen throughout the shops. That means Bent will have more work for Becker to look forward to. “It’s good job security for him,” Bill jokes.
Becker is located in Sea Cliff Plaza off Yorktown in Huntington Beach. For directions, call (714) 374-8900.