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An art review of Brandon Barnes’ paintings of Rockies great Nolan Arenado

Connor became an art expert just to review Brandon Barnes’s renditions of Nolan Arenado

This week, Brandon Barnes painted two pictures of Nolan Arenado and gifted them to the All-World third baseman in a twitter moment for the ages.

These paintings depict what may go down as Nolan Arenado’s finest singular moment as a member of the Rockies, fresh off his walk-off cycle against the Giants on Father’s Day. Barnes, a friend and fan of Nolan’s (aren’t we all?), spent some of his precious time on Earth painting these pictures for Nolan to hang up in his home. Pretty nice! Let’s review them.

To really critique art you have to do a few things, the first thing you need to do is probably go to art school. Unfortunately, I don’t have time for that. So I did the next best thing, which is look up what terms these people use and then look at a bunch of paintings. On the internet you don’t have to be an expert you just have to have the confidence of an expert. It’s one of the great things about the internet. So after 10 minutes and one lime La Croix, I am now an art critic.

With this new expertise and my certification as a bona fide art critic in hand, I took a second look at the Brandon Barnes paintings to really dive in and see what his message was, why people didn’t connect with these on a massive scale like I thought they would, and why art websites keep trying to make me say the word “curvaceous”.

Brandon’s art style appears to be graffiti or street based, going off the style of both of the paintings. The second painting (with a purple background) has a heavy graffiti design to it with the spray paint leaving splatter and drip marks (which makes the blood look like a very bad head wound that Nolan should check out). Pretty neat look and design for the photograph. Got a bit of a Shepard Fairey look to them with a printed out canvass and paint.

Just imagine an OBEY below that and throw it on a New York warehouse district building. Basically, you’ve created a viral sensation that inexplicably has not gone viral yet.

The first Nolan painting uses a paper canvassed print out of Nolan’s face on top of what appears just be a canvass that Barnes painted to make look like a graffiti’d wall. Barnes’s style is very street here but the paper Nolan’s face is on make it almost look like Nolan is jumping out of a comic book. The art websites I looked at said to talk about lines but they all look pretty straight and accurate from my first glance. I have to say that maybe what is most impressive here is that I can’t draw a fully straight line to save my life and it looks like Brandon has done it dozens of times.

Some of the lines even have to loop around Nolan’s dynamic features (some would call these lines “curvaceous”) (Editor’s Note: No they wouldn’t). This first painting is much cleaner in terms of paint style; however, the lines are tight, Nolan’s cut is accurate, the colors don’t often drool into each other. This first attempt at the Nolan graffiti definitely attempts to make it seem like a mural more than graffiti, something you would see the city of Fort Collins commission in a random alley off Mountain Street because they have too many tax dollars.

The second painting, as I mentioned above, is much grittier and realistic than street art. Barnes takes the same paper cut out of Nolan but this time utilizes spray paint to make the colors. This leaves Nolan with a giant gash on his head that has already pumped out at least a pint of blood, almost like instead of a helmet Nolan was cut with a broad sword that Blackmon brought out to the walk-off celebration.

Barnes’s use of purple and blue here are not random, as purple is the color of the Rockies and blue was the color of the Father’s Day jersey’s worn that day. Some people may not notice things like that, but I’m, like, an art genius so I read between the lines. Some of the paint is actually very curvaceous (Editor’s Note: No they aren’t). The styles and colors utilized by Barnes in this second piece really speak to the scene and the moment.

Overall, I can’t begin to say how much I like these two pieces by Brandon. I think it’s a really cool way to look at Nolan’s moment, and I think he should start to commission art pieces by all of his friends and art critic bloggers who want a moment immortalized on canvass.

His use of straight lines, different painting techniques, and colors are terrific, and I especially liked how curvaceous the paintings are. (Editor’s Note: You didn’t read past the word curvaceous on the research links I provided, did you?)

I think Brandon has a real career ahead of him when it comes to art—if he chooses to take it! I want him to make a street art painting of my finest moment: the minute I got to 1,000 followers, a curvaceous number if I’ve ever seen one, on Twitter.

It’s real to me, Dad!