Have you voted? NBCLX has invited artists from across the country to help inspire you to get to the polls by reimagining the “I Voted” sticker for 2020. The latest artist to contribute is Brian Barneclo, a San Francisco-based artist and muralist.
In a conversation with NBCLX’s Jeremy Berg, Barneclo said he wanted to create a sticker that wasn’t too “heavy,” but at the same time reflects our national confusion this year. He also discussed the importance of making choices – in art, in politics and in life.
You can find his art on Instagram at @brianbarneclo. To find and share his animated sticker – and to check out our entire collection of artist-created "I Voted" stickers – search “LXtion2020” on Giphy.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Barneclo: Hi, I'm Brian Barneclo. I'm an artist. I live in San Francisco.
Berg: Take me through your approach [to your sticker]. What were you thinking about? What did you decide to do and why?
Barneclo: Well, I just keep it simple. Just have a little fun with it. Keep it light. I think everybody's getting hit hard with, like, vote, vote, vote... It's a little obsessive. So I just tried to do something to keep it light and have a little fun with it. And, you know, I guess there is somewhat of a message of – it's so much confusion and kind of mess right now. So just, get it straight. Vote. Be clean. Get in. Get out.
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Berg: How did you create this? What was the method?
Barneclo: I just did this on the iPad. There's a Procreate tool and it's a lot of fun to use because when I was a kid, I wanted to do animation, but animation is a very involved process. And now there's tools that you can use. And so it's very exciting to get on. You know, normally I like to get my hands dirty and make a mess with paint and get paint all over myself. But actually, this is a lot of fun playing with this new technology, these tools. So I created on iPad.
Berg: So I see behind you a big mural. You painted that, right? What's the difference between doing something like that and then using a technology to create your art?
Barneclo: Oh it's a big difference... I'm older, I'm in my 40s. So I actually embrace doing the iPad stuff, but it's totally not the same. For someone coming in and that's all they know, I kind of feel a little bit bad for them. I mean, the difference is vast. You don't get to just press a button and go backwards in real life, obviously. And so your decisions are much more valuable. So talking about voting, I guess it's like... there is no undo. So, have conviction and make choices with real life materials. It's much more kind of do or die. But at the same time, you make mistakes and you let it go in a different direction. And that's a lot of fun, too. And so that's a lot of what my artwork is like with real paint.
Berg: I noticed in a lot of your artwork that color seems to be important.
Barneclo: Color is just fun. It's like, when all else fails just go put some color in and then it's more fun immediately. A lot of times I use monochromatic things just to keep things thematic. But, you know, art is fun. A lot of my art, my style is kind of playful. And so I like to play... If I'm having fun creating, then that energy goes into the piece, whatever it is. And then that reflects back out. And hopefully that's contagious.
Berg: Why is voting important to you?
Barneclo: Well, you know, we have the right to vote. So you should vote. It's just as simple as that. Not everybody has the right. It's choice. You should always exercise choice.
Berg: What do you hope when we put this gif on Giphy and stickers and people can use it? What do you hope people get out of it?
Barneclo: Well, you know, I hope people get what they need. You know, it's like there's not one catch-all piece of advice for anyone, or one catch-all thing. Everyone's got their own needs. And I hope everyone votes for their own, you know? And I hope, with that said, I hope people vote thinking of the "all," thinking of everyone. And so, with these little fun stickers, I hope it's just fun and a way to have a little fun with this whole thing because it's a little bit heavy on some levels.
Berg: How do you feel artwork can help get messages like voting across to the public?
Barneclo: Artwork comes in from a different angle. And artists are used to voting. We're choosing every day. We're making thousands of choices as we're creating art. And so, you know, voting or choosing is very just natural to artists... And so we as artists may have a different take on voting or may see things from a different angle. And so, yeah, pay attention to what artists are doing right now.