“I use a candy coating of colour to get people to listen”

Anna Seaman
4 min readJan 9, 2023

An interview with Bryan Brinkman

by Anna Seaman

SWING (Day) by Bryan Brinkman — screen shot sourced from animated NFT

Bryan Brinkman can always gauge someone’s engagement with his work by the happiness they associate with it. His pastel-coloured cheerful animations may seem frivolous, jolly and fun, but most of the time, they are much more nuanced.

Take ‘Swing’ for example: a caricature self-portrait oscillating back-and-forth on coloured strings…literally child’s play. But focus on the precarious structure from which he dangles and you realise it is a commentary on the unstable nature of the NFT market.

“A lot of people classify me as a happy, fun artist, but I will say that the vast majority of my art is not,” Brinkman said. “I use a candy coating of colour and happiness to get people to come in and listen and then I tell them my opinions on things. The colours make everything happy regardless but that is all part of my plan.”

So, while ‘happy and colourful’ is a fitting description for the lane he drives in, these are attributes of deliberate enticement.

Growing up in Omaha, Nebraska, Brinkman took graphic design courses in high school and fell in love with telling stories visually and digitally. After attending University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he experimented with myriad animation techniques, he moved to New York.

He began working in fashion advertising but also freelanced in animation and later got a job at the HBO television network. With HBO, he flew to Los Angeles, was introduced to its thriving art scene and became particularly hooked on the language of pop culture. His career in television flourished, seeing him work for eight years on Tonight with Jimmy Fallon as a graphic artist and for six years on Saturday Night Live, for which he was awarded four Emmys for his visual effects.

In December 2019, he discovered NFTs and, more specifically, SuperRare. “That’s when I went down the rabbit hole,” he says. “By then, I’d been making visual art for 15 years but with NFTs, I could finally do what I really loved — make short animations and there was the added bonus that people wanted to buy them.”

Explode by Bryan Brinkman — screen shot sourced from animated NFT

Brinkman’s first mint on SuperRare was in February 2020 with ‘Explode’ — a series of colourful clouds erupting like popcorn. Again, to the casual observer, this could be a simple flash of colourful whimsy, especially captioned with ‘A forever looping explosion of fun’. However, it was a well-considered move that kick-started Brinkman’s successful NFT career.

“Before I took the plunge, I looked at the content that was already there on SuperRare. It was mostly dystopian, bleak, dark and a bit scary. I didn’t see colours or traditional animation styles, and so I thought this is was a corner I could occupy.”

He was right; Bryan has subsequently released a significant number of successful NFT projects across different platforms, his floor price on SuperRare is $16,000 and his combined primary and secondary sales number in the millions of dollars.

Whilst Brinkman had been honing his style for some time before entering NFTs, his work defies specific categorisation due to the inherent versatility. “Collectors need a level of putting someone in a box but I kept changing my medium and style.”

So, to differentiate himself whilst maintaining his individual artistic footprint, Brinkman committed to a specific colour palette; choosing five pastel tones that would be gentle on the eye and would later develop into his signature. “My idea was that if I used the same colour scheme then I could still bring all the different projects, strands and ideas together and still be recognised.”

As he gained confidence and a growing audience he became fascinated with the interpretation of his work. “When I started, I used to write it down to tell people what I was intending to say because I wanted to feed the viewer information — like a kind of show and tell. But now I don’t do that as much. It is fun to see how people see it.”

Bryan Brinkman

Whatever he is doing, he is doing it right. Over the past three years, Brinkman’s career has taken off and, over time, he has added new iconography alongside his signature colours to express how he feels about the space and continues to grow his visual language.

Most of his work is a personal commentary on working in the blockchain space, whether about the way collectors control artists (‘CTRL’) or how isolating working behind screens can be (‘Wired’). Some work is more upbeat, like ‘Tangled’, which is about “how we all bump into each other at conferences and then all roll home again” and all of it goes far beyond the initial candy coating that lures you in.


Self Portrait by Bryan Brinkman



Anna Seaman

curator. writer. art lover. co-founder of MORROW collective. I got soul but I’m not a soldier.