BIG story

     I paint using acrylics and then write with oil pastels. I repeat this method with a certain theme in mind. When the finished painting is done, the words and paint have morphed together creating a certain mood." 

     "Words themselves create pictures in my head.  I think by painting with words the viewer ultimately gets to connect with the painting at a very  personal level."

     If you have any questions, looking for a specific painting, or would like to commission a painting, please contact me at


Teaching kids to read and write has inspired Brian Graves on a new and experimental level.  One he is teaching himself.  As he has inspired his kids to express themselves through their experiences and adventures in favorite readings, he has turned his love of the written word into a new passion.

Graves picked up brush and canvas over ten years ago, and developed a self-taught expression of both feeling and emotion in his own form of abstract painting.  Letters, words, everyday expressions and emotion combine and collide with color and texture through layers of acrylics, oils pastels, and sometimes even Sharpies. 

Graves currently resides in Chicago.  He was born and raised in Michigan. His favorite book is To Kill A Mockingbird and his favorite color is blue.  

Current/Past Exhibits

  • Roan & Black Gallery, 2015-2018  Saugatuck, Michigan
  • “This-n-That,” October 26, 2009-February 10, 2010, Jbar (Adjacent) James Hotel, Chicago Illinois
  • “Sounding Out,” March 6-April 18, 2009, Chicago Art Source Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
  • “Word & Image & Paper,” October 10th-November 10th, 2009, Art Within (Reason), Chicago, IL
  • "Art Movement," June 14th-July 18th, 2008, Las Manos Gallery, Chicago, IL
  • "Dial M for Madonna," May 22nd-July 5th, 2008, World of Wonder Storefront Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
  • "The Chicago Show," January 4-30, 2008, Foursided Gallery, Chicago IL
  • Art 44/46, North Doors at Nettelhorst Elementary in the Lakeview Neighborhood, Chicago, October 2007
  • CRAFTSMANLY CONCEPTUALISM, Johnsonese Gallery, May 12 - June 16, 2007
  • Bridge Art Fair-Represented by Johnsonese Gallery, April 26-30, 2007
  • Bucktown Winter Arts, Festival 2007 
  • "Holiday Salon," December 9, 2006 - January 13, 2007, Johnsonese Gallery
  • “The word is art” September 9-30, 2006, Johnsonese Gallery

Permanent Art Installations

Nettelhorst Elementary
Chicago, Illinois
North Side Doors-facing Aldine Street, November 2008.


  • Hayworth Furniture Catalog, Fall 2016
  • CS Interiors, Spring/Summer 2015
  • Chicago Magazine, March 2010
  • Timeout Chicago, November 2009
  • Chicago Magazine, March 2008.
  • Christopher Peacock Cabinetry National Ad Campaign 2007-08
  • Chicago Home Magazine, Winter 2006
  • Midwest Home Chicago Magazine, Fall 2006