As I arrive to the Buffalo Wild Wings in Vacaville, CA, Brian Moore is leaving. I wave him down and his maroon Cadillac pulls up to mine.
“I forgot my wallet, I’ll be back,” he says.
The interview took several weeks to book. The drive was an hour and a half. I could wait another ten minutes.
Country music is blasting as soon as I walk in the establishment. My disinterest in the genre allows me to get a quick refresher of Moore’s work. Scrolling through his Instagram feed, I’m given an instant reminder of why I wanted this interview so much. Every line calculated. Every shade inspired. In less than two years, Brian Moore has gone from Airman to artist. Through commissions, he’s been able to transform his escape to profession.
Moore enters as my research decides to become mindless scrolling. Decked in a Pittsburg Pirates fitted cap and ‘Wu-Tang’ Wakanda shirt, he immediately apologizes for being late and asks where I want to sit. We’re on his ‘home’ territory, so I have him lead the way.
Once we get to the bar area and sit at the pub-style table, Moore offers me a drink. Anything. It’s on him. I respectfully decline. I want to know more about Moore and I’m still early in finding my interview process. We talk about the state of hip-hop, Atlanta, and our weekends while the Warriors and Rockets warm up for game 7. Being in Warrior country, we’re surrounded by royal blue and gold. Moore’s Blue Moon arrives as we begin talking about our time in the Air Force.
“I was going to go ‘four and done’,” he says.
Moore’s four years turned into twenty, all of which were in the air transportation. Initially, Moore was able to keep his ‘escape’ but as deployments and responsibilities increased, so did his depression. After five years of not creating, Moore’s friend insisted he return to his passion in 2012. Completing his service in September 2016. Moore immediately enrolled into art school the next month.
Not knowing what to expect, Moore saw that majority of studies were focused on the digital side of art as opposed the analog style he was used to.
“I had a bit of Photoshop.”
Although Moore’s platform can be dated back centuries, his method of promoting it is 21st century.
“IG is the shit. I get my work to fans that I would never have been able to. I can get inspired by artists around the world,” Moore says.
The crowd roars as the Warriors finally take the lead matching Moore’s energy.
“I drew this picture of a Brazilian woman and a fan messaged me. The fan said that woman in the picture was a famous Brazilian model. My following grew by like 5k overnight.”
Due to ‘The City’ die-hards, I must ask him several times how he approaches the balance between promotion on social media and his actual artwork. Once the crowd finally dies down, he gathers himself.
“There’s three types of work that I do: inspired, commissioned, and calculated. That Childish Gambino piece I just did, that was inspired because I love the video. It was calculated as well due to the video being so viral. My Mistah Fab piece, that was calculated due to our location.”
With Golden State securely holding the lead, everyone in ‘B-Dubs’ celebrate the team reaching its fourth straight NBA Final. Moore continues ordering Blue Moons. Him offering. Me declining.
“Why haven’t you asked more about my family?” He asks.
“I’m not trying to push any limits, this was a hard interview to get. I figured you didn’t want to talk about it.”
“I’m an open book,” Moore says.
We speak at length about Moore’s family including his niece which he tries to speak to as often as possible. Moore’s artistic talents came from directly from his parents. Both he and his father use realism as their weapon of choice. Side by side, you can see the same DNA in their works.
“We haven’t spoke but maybe 3 or 4 times in the last 25 years, but we know exactly how we each other are doing through our work and social media.”
The perfect sadness in their relationship is instantly washed away the ‘Dubs’ run of the clock and win the game. Like Golden State, Moore is optimistic for his future.
“Your art should be your motivation to do more art.”
We discuss his recent commission of NFL player, Todd Gurley. Moore’s addition of a second subject in the piece came from advice of one his mentor’s, Gary Accord.
“He said I grossly undercharged.” He admitted.
Moore tells me about other artists that inspire him. Raheem Milton and Heather Rooney. Moore shows me a video Rooney drawing Steph Curry that was indistinguishable from a photo. As I watch the video, he jokes with patrons at the table next to us. After a minute or so, he turns back to me.
“Hey check this out”
He hands me his phone. He has a Facebook post reading ‘Doing an interview I didn’t want to and this interviewer has me pouring out my heart.’ We both laugh.
“This was the easiest interview I have had and I almost cancelled.”
Moore knows that his path will not be the easiest. He still doesn’t feel pigeonholed. His next progression will be into painting and hyperrealism. Not afraid to admit his weaknesses in his craft, Moore willingly moves towards improving while gaining new skills in the digital realm. I ask him what’s his end game.
“Just being a dope artist. A dope fucking artist.”