Brian Gonnella

Brian Gonnella is an artist/writer/organizer living in Pittsburgh PA.

After a short stint as a vandal, followed by going to college and reading Marcuse (one time), the artist believes art's primary social responsibility is to examine and critique the historical political economy it emerged from. Inspired by conceptual artists like Mark Lombardi and the Sots Art movement, his paintings attempt to create hyper-visualizations of American consumerism by utilizing an interconnected iconography of reappropriated pop culture imagery, aiming to split the difference between cool commercial aesthetics and didactic function.

His mural work (outside of corporate client work) is primarily focused on the response to the critiques raised in his paintings; celebrating the solidarity and community that exists between People outside of the material community of capital, either through both mystification of common liminal space or celebrating the ascendant power of working class, everyday people both historically and today. Believing that public art should have a public utility, his mural work seeks to empower or enchant its audience with an elevated perception of themselves or the community to which they belong.

As an organizer in the Pittsburgh art community, Gonnella founded Spirit Walls in 2017 at Spirit Hall in Lawrenceville.

The annual event is a street art and skill-sharing platform that partners local emerging talent with professional muralists to create a new mural that debuts at the yearly Summer Recess block party in September. He is one of the co-organizers with PAAC(Pittsburgh Artist's Autonomy Collective), an artist collective that formed in 2020, dedicated to creating legal walls and safe spaces for graffiti and street art in the city of Pittsburgh by partnering directly with community members.

Sometimes he also dreams of selling all his possessions and moving to the desert.