Carlsbad Magazine Chronicles 10 years of Snyder Art

The Artist

Bryan Snyder has left his mark on Carlsbad with his work—and the village has left its mark on him

by Wendy Hinman

A homeless man sat on a bench in Carlsbad Village. He’d sat there since people could remember, cane in hand, seemingly asleep. People didn’t really look at him, they looked through him. But one day the man disappeared. Soon after he reappeared, but this time as a life size reproduction piece of art. It turned out to be a street installation by Bryan “Doodle” Snyder, who theorizes that the homeless are “visibly transparent—you only notice them when they are gone.”

He was a real person,” Snyder says. “The homeless man went missing; I assume he passed away. Shortly after that, I installed a reproduction sculpture to test my theory that homeless people become invisible through the repetitive passive routines. This was an experiment to test how long, if ever, it would take the public to notice the figure was indeed a reporuction sculpture.”

It’s hard to find an artistic medium that Snyder has not worked in: sculpture, street art (Snyder was L.A.’s street artist of the year in 2012) installations, murals, digital art and traditional painting on canvas. For much of his work, Carlsbad has served as both canvas and muse.

Learning to Doodle

Carlsbad seems to be a nature that nurtures. Snyder us a world-class artist, but before that he was a kid blessed to be sculpted by Carlsbad. “The first 14 years of my life I moved every year,” Snyder says, but fortunately, “we had to live in Carlsbad.” Chinquapin, La Costa, Laguna Riviera, Oak Ave, Home Ave in the Village, Chinquapin on both sides of the tracks Magnolia against the 5 and Sierra Moreno are the neighborhoods he knew intimately. Snyder comes from Carlsbad stock. Both his parents and those of his wife, Susanna “Jingle” Kurner Snyder, are CHS grads and were married in the Village.  That Bryan and Susanna’s son, Henry, goes to the same preschool, Pilgrim, he did seems to complete the circle.

Besides the beach and baseball, two of the biggest influences that informed Snyder’s creativity in the 1980s and ’90s were skating and Mark Kistler. Snyder went to Magnolia and Kelly elementary schools, Valley Middle School and Carlsbad High School (class of ’99). During Snyder’s Magnolia years, Commander Mark Kistler’s Draw Squad, “blew open my mind. When he taught me how to draw a three-dimensional box my world changed.” Like Kistler’s mentor, Bruce McIntyre, before him, Kistler believed drawing developed a child’s critical thinking and drawing “secret cities” expanded their imagination. Snyder was also a skateboarder. “It was a really big part of my life in Carlsbad,” he says, adding that his skate crew was part of the reason late Mayor Buddy Lewis outlawed skating in the Village. Hanging out at XYZ Skate Shop was his first lesson in graphic design. The underbelly of a skate deck hides some incorrigible art.

Doodle Grows Up

After high school, Snyder was going to become an accountant, but Europe happened to him. “After winning a nationwide short film contest, resulting in a six- week backpacking trip through Europe, I redirected my education to art and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to follow my true passion,” he says.

Snyder went to California State University East Bay from 2002 to 2005. There, he honed his traditional and digital art skills. When he was not in his own classes he was crashing Dr. Levy’s art history lectures. Van Gogh to Cezanne, Klimt to Pollock, Warhol to Banksy—Snyder studied and dreamed.

“I discovered my passion for illustration at a very young age, but for the first time I began to evolve from one who solely reproduced art to someone who expressed himself artistically, conceptually and critically through original, thought-provoking art.”

Art-partment

Snyder returned to Carlsbad—2664 Jefferson St., apartment #8 to be exact—but he found it a bit vanilla compared to San Francisco’s napoleon. Carlsbad was carefully manicured and bland while SF was a colorful and visually creative. “Carlsbad has always had a thriving art scene,” he says, “but the environment was not necessarily encouraging.” Snyder set out to change that.

As Snyder worked various jobs as a digital illustrator, his one-bedroom apartment became both a studio and communal art refuge. When the parties happened they were art jam sessions. There were murals on the walls and the “living studio” was dubbed “The Art-partment.”

Drawn to the insight and humor of British artist Banksy, Snyder created his own stencils for the street in the Art-partment for “unaware commissions.” The walls of the art-partment filled with stencil images, the furniture hidden by stacked cardboard practice and finished canvases and the floor dusted with stencil shavings.

The Eureka Moment

When you see a Renoir, you know it’s a Renoir. When you see a Gauguin, you kniw it’s a Gauguin. It was in the Art-partment’s carport that the universe gave Snyder his signature technique. He’d been pondering Pollock’s drip method when he looked at the storage closet at the end of his carport. Some of his first stencils were bulging out of it. Eureka, he’d found it: drip method with stencils.

He laid out an old blanket on the concrete, bought $100 of “oops” paint from Home Depot, ran an extension cord from his second-floor apartment for his paint dryer and began his experimenting with the technique. “Completely engulfed in the discovery of what has become my signature drip painting style, I began producing a body of artwork at an uncontrollable rate,” Snyder says.

Riding his bike in the Village one day, Snyder saw an empty store front. He inquired at the plumbing shop next door and found the owner’s name was Art Brown. That seemed to be a sign. Snyder leased the place and “I sat in Snyder Art on day one of my new studio staring out the front window and brainstorming how I would connect with each and every community member of the Carlsbad Village.”

A Studio, A Pit, A Wall and a Way

Snyder was logging 10 to 12 hours a day as a full-time artist. There was an open-door policy at Snyder Art on State St. He wanted it to be “a cultural hub for creativity.” Having sharpened two skills, the street stencil and the drip stencil, as well as introducing his signature character Doodle—the innocent yet mischievous character who resurfaces long forgotten childhood memories, Snyder set his eyes on the single goal of creating a more artistic culture in the Carlsbad Village. “I knew if I was able to help inspire the emergence of a new culture based on creativity and community, it would benefit residents, visitors and local businesses alike.”

Ideas were popping at a prodigious rate. Snyder encouraged people to interact with art in real time and space, but also connect in cyberspace. He hosted Christmas ornament and Easter egg crafting parties. The resulting crafts were tagged with numbers and logging instructions, hidden in the Village, found in real time and stories shared online. His Doodle hunts go on throughout the year. Snyder has had many art shows of both his Doodles and Drips, but speaks with great passion about his You-Create-the-Art Shows. (we explain the drip style—do we need to explain the Doodle as well?) I think it is important as many people identify me most with my Doodle Art. I think I accomplished explaining above.

Snyder knew his small street art needed a bigger canvas so he practiced at the Buena Vista Reservoir, or “The Pit” as it is known to skaters and street artists. Snyder has been a major driving force behind the emergence of the Village mural scene; there are six large Doodle murals in the Village. He’s also the director and curator of the Carlsbad Art Wall. “I had been developing the idea of a rotating mural wall for many years,” Snyder says, “but the vision never came to fruition due to the lack of the necessary high-profile wall to support the project. This provided just what I had been searching for over the years.” In the Carlsbad Art Wall process, a local artist paints a mural on Grubby’s east wall and it is there for two months. Then Snyder buffs it—that is as painful for him as it is for us—and holds a teen street art workshop in conjunction with the Carlsbad Boys & Girls Clubs. That work gets buffed and a new artist paints the wall.

A World-Class Canvas

It might be rare for someone to find their true passion. If you are lucky enough to discover it,” Snyder says “You will realize you have been doing it your entire life.” Snyder has had a love for doodling and Carlsbad since childhood. Like his dandelion symbol which represents a single idea, Snyder continues to follow his passions one planted idea at a time—always hoping to inspire the growth of more dandelions along the way.

Win a Doodle Book
1. Visit snyderartdesign.com
2. Find all 10 dandelion icons hidden on the website.
3. Take a screenshot of each one.
4. Email screenshots to theartist(at)snyderartdesign(dot)com
5. Email email subject: “10 years of Snyder Art”

New Website
www.snyderartdesign.com

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