Artist puts his vision on display at 2011 E3

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Electronics Entertainment Expo is known for fun times and over-the-top presentation, but one former Austin resident took it to the next level.

Brandon Regner at E3 last month. - Photo provided

Brandon Regner, a 2006 Austin High School graduate and a recent grad from the College of Visual Arts, spent his time at E3 in Los Angeles painting a gigantic mural. Regner was commissioned by Electronic Arts, the company that makes the popular Sims franchise, and Ford, to promote its new Ford Focus, to create an E3-sized spectacle of awesomeness.

“It was an excellent, excellent opportunity,” Regner said. “You don’t get a chance to paint on a canvas that’s 12 feet by 23 feet very often.”

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Regner’s no slouch when it comes to murals. He’s partially responsible for the mural background at popular Minneapolis restaurant Fat Lorenzo’s, which he did whilst in an internship with local artist Ed Charbonneau. It was Charbonneau who got him the E3 only a week after he graduated from CVA, suggesting him to a friend who had turned the project down.

Regner couldn’t take on the project singlehandedly, however. He brought in close friend and fellow artist Allan Salmi as a collaborator.

“I don’t feel like I could have accomplished it without him,” Regner said. “I can’t overstate how proficient of an artist he is.”

Though Regner is a casual gamer, he’d heard about the Sims series before and was excited to bring his style to the table. Plus, he’s enjoyed murals for a long time.

“The thing about murals too is it immediately puts your work into the public in a way that a gallery isn’t necessarily capable of,” he said. “How do you get your name out there, how do you get your work out there as a fine artist? Murals are definitely one way to do that, to get your face out into the public.”

He and Salmi were definitely in the public, getting thousands of people to watch their work, being interviewed by dozens of journalists for many outlets, working long days to get the mural done.

“I’ve never been like a person to get nervous and I kind of enjoy and thrive in that type of environment,” Regner said. “I enjoy interacting with people, I enjoy the performance of this whole thing.”

Though his first commission out of school is done, he’s still working on projects he loves. Regner has a small arts supply business in the works with Salmi, which will sell fine charcoal made from local wood among other products. He was also involved in the Scattered Light installation at the Northern Spark festival this summer. Yet he’s thankful for the lessons he learned at AHS and Riverland Community College, and ready to follow his artistic pursuits wherever they take him.

“I wanted to be a part of this tradition, and be a part of this history, regardless of how small or significant,” he said.