Brett Crawford - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale Hong Kong Thursday, March 30, 2023 | Phillips

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  • Based in Southern California, Brett Crawford is a multidisciplinary artist whose works span across painting, sculpture, design, and street murals; each of his works is a cultural exchange between art, fashion, and street culture. Driven by his love for vintage cars and F1 formula car racing, the current work, H3RE HE COMES references the Brett Crawford’s favourite childhood memories and the cartoon Speed Racer. As always, Crawford’s works always include easter eggs for those who are ‘in the know’, prompting them to seek for hidden stories within. In the current work, the artist sprinkled a few clues for the viewer per his usual style: the Monkey, Chim Chim, on the front of the vehicle; the subtle Gucci styling of the protagonist's jacket and car interior, and the rabbit and number 23 that refer to when this work was painted – 2023, the year of the rabbit.


    Following the success of the artist’s auction debut with 3MO SUPPORT in 2022 and subsequent pop-up exhibition, UNTAPP3D FUTURE in collaboration with Phillips and alongside ART SG, the current lot H3RE HE COMES is coming to auction following great success and traction. This time, Brett Crawford sat down with Charlotte Raybaud, Head of Evening Sale, Hong Kong once again to give us more insight into the inspirations behind this particular work. Below is an excerpt of their conversation.


    Charlotte Raybaud: How did you choose the subject matter of this work?  

    Brett Crawford: I’ve been working on some designs for a series of sculptures based on vintage Formula 1 cars driven by my protagonist – my Pinocchio character. This 1954 Mercedes W196 F1 car is particularly beautiful to me. I love the shape of it. In this case I wanted to use this car to reference a favourite childhood memory. There's a cartoon called Speed Racer. I don't know if you're familiar with it. It's a really old cartoon. There's a guy who races. Are you familiar with Speed Racer?


    CR: Yeah, I am.

    BC: Okay, cool. Before I just keep talking, I just want to make sure everybody is. It is a really old cartoon. But I think it's still in circulation, so hopefully lots of people know who he is. That's the gist of it. It’s me painting a car, I think it's beautiful. With my character and paying homage to Speed Racer


    CR: I love it. And did you pick these colours yourself? Like, adding on the extra details? Details like the monkey sticker at the front and I mean, the thing at the end is obviously a dating thing. But how did you choose the colours of the car itself? Does it correspond to a favourite character or a favourite episode from Speed Racer?

    BC: Yeah, all of those things. It's actually the colouring. It ties into the question where you asked me the meaning behind Number Five. All of that is styling from Speed Racer. His car was number five. His car was white with this orange and red lettering on the side. So it's all styled mostly like his car. Just cause I love fashion so much I added some Gucci styling for the fashionista. Not boldly. There's no cheese and things like that. But there's the icon on his jacket and on the seats, and on the seat back you can see some of the Gucci styling. Just the colours. So it's Speed Racer with Gucci styling. Styled by Brett.



    The car in Speed Racer
    Image: Everett Collection Inc / Alamy Stock Photo


    CR: Any meanings behind the wording Go Go Go!

    BC: I love expressing movement through my art. I think Lichtenstein would’ve agreed that bold descriptive text can definitely help with that. They are also plucked from the theme song for Speed Racer in which they say ‘Go Speed Racer’ repeatedly throughout the song. It’s also my way of encouraging both myself and anyone who needs to hear it, to keep going. Go Go Go!


    CR: Any meanings behind the #5?

    BC: Yeah, to be honest, the number five was really just dedicated to Speed Racer. It was his number on the car. The font is the same. The colours are the same. It's funny. I've shown some friends, or some people are like, I'm just one of the ones that stands out in my mind. Showed a really young guy at the art supply store that I go to. I showed him a picture of it, and he knew immediately what it was, because this is very Speed Racer. So I wanted to for the people who know Speed Racer, or I wanted them to be able to spot that immediately, because, to be honest, the car doesn't match his car.



    Detail of the present lot


    CR: Do you have any particular interest in cars/ race cars etc.?

    BC: I always wanted to be a race car driver. It has always facilitated me. It seems so daring and glamorous. The beautiful cars the roar of the motors, the fanfare and pageantry. I love it all. I don’t know if that started before or after I watched Speed Racer as a child. In fact, the main reason I loved that cartoon so much wasn’t the racing or cars. It was the protective sibling element that left the biggest impact on my psyche. Speed Racer had an older brother named Racer X who also raced but he didn’t play by the rules. He was a bit of an anti-hero. Whenever Speed Racer was in danger Racer X was there to protect him. As a child with a lot of violence in our home I wished for someone to protect me like a Racer X. Separate from all that I have a very competitive spirit. I think in a healthy environment competition can be great whether it’s in racing or in the field of art. I know it is taboo to admit enjoying being competitive at art, but I love it. I’ve made some of my closest friends and art peers by competing in art battles like Secret Walls. I think when artistic peers really push each other it’s a win for art.


    CR: Could you share a bit of HOW the work was created, technique/layering/ etc.?

    BC: I’m really enjoying the beginning parts of my paintings. I always start with a drawing that holds my idea in place. But the way I start my painting process is very loose these days. I take care to use the very best linen stretched over aluminium stretchers hand made by the best canvas makers in the world Lucius Hudson here in Los Angeles because I start all my new paintings with very wet acrylic washes. Not having to worry about the stretchers warping gives me a lot of freedom. There are so many moments in that wet process I wish I could freeze. Moments of lost beauty as the colour moves and changes shape with the water. The goal is to capture bits, a piece of that beauty by stopping to let it dry in phases before adding more water and thinned acrylics. Once I get the background to a place that makes me happy, I switch gears. I return to my plan and go very precise. For me the final joy is in the details. The form, lighting, shadows, highlights and of course Easter Eggs.



    Phillips would like to thank Brett Crawford for his time in taking this interview.


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    • Description

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    • Provenance

      Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner



signed, titled and dated '"H3RE HE COMES" Brett Crawford 2023' on the reverse; further signed with the artist's initials and inscribed '"I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A RACECAR DRIV3R" BC' on the stretcher
acrylic on linen
81.3 x 121.9 cm. (32 x 47 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2023.

Full Cataloguing

HK$600,000 - 800,000 

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Contact Specialist

Charlotte Raybaud
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+852 2318 2026
[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 30 March 2023