Brian Holderman's Silver Bullet

Published On October 30, 2012 | By Kymbo Slice | The Arts

We’ve talked about The Gallery 4 enough times to infer that it’s known for welcoming artists who think outside of the box. Often times these artists are from Pittsburgh, whose creative class has been on an upswing for the past few years. Continuing that momentum is artist Brian Holderman, whose “design works can be seen throughout our city in the form of murals, posters, screen-printed apparel, and vibrant graphics for specialty shops, upscale markets, edgy restaurants and multiple citywide events” (Gallery 4). Boasting an impressive resume, Holderman has carved quite the space for himself in the modern art world, commissioning works at both the Mattress Factory and Andy Warhol Museum, in addition to exhibits in Chicago, San Francisco, L.A. and even Japan. His latest work, titled “Silver Bullet”, is a fully-functioning, re-purposed 1978 solid-state pinball machine fitted “with a hand-painted game playfield, stenciled cabinet graphics, a screenprinted backglass along with a custom light board, and printed plastics” (Gallery 4). With such masterful craftsmanship it’s no wonder that this isn’t Brian’s first game.

His 2009 piece, “Vendetta”, featured a 1965 Gottlieb Dodge City pingame as its foundation and premiered at a functional pinball-themed art show at The Andy Warhol Museum. His second attempt at a classic arcade game aims to be quite impressive. “The electronic components of the machine have also been entirely rebuilt from the ground up, with improvements made where needed. The art style employed is a quick-on-the-trigger blend of old ‘tales of horror’ comics coupled with Holderman’s dynamic handling of the cartoon language” (Gallery 4).

You can catch his opening this Saturday, November 3rd at The Gallery 4 in Shadyside from 7-11PM. The exhibit runs until November 24th.

While most of us probably aren’t in the market for a pinball machine to add to our art collection any time soon, Brian has many affordable and accessible pieces for sale on Thumbtack Press, a site that treats the artists they carry quite well. All of the art sold on this website shares a similar aesthetic. Artists are selected in two ways. Either they submit work and it’s approved by Thumbtack Press, or they reach out to artists whose work they know and admire. Barry, the curator/owner of Thumbtack Press got in touch with us because he saw we previously did a post on Brian and had this to say about his business: “I think of myself as artistic, in the sense that I think creatively and am an extremely visual person, but I don’t paint or create artworks in that sense. The motives behind Thumbtack Press are maybe a little unexpected. For much of my career I’ve been an entrepreneur, involved in multiple startups. I also have a number of friends who are artists, and a number of friends I’ve made in decades of collecting art from all over the place. In the course of talking to my artist friends I’d see how often they were being mistreated by agents, galleries, etc. and I started advising a few of them on contracts and business strategies. In the end I realized that I was really passionate about artists being treated well. It just seemed ridiculous how many of them were being jerked over. I was inspired by the idea of getting these artists’ work out in front of new people affordably, ethically, and, hopefully, making a cultural difference.” If you’re a fan of Brian Holderman, there’s sure to be something on Thumbtack Press to catch your eye in addition to his work!

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