Born and bred in New York City, Bryan Rivera’s work is full of gritty energy, incorporating textural elements, manipulated imagery and decorative type all in a colour palette of dark tones and primary colours. For someone so early on in their career, Bryan has carved out a distinctive aesthetic and has worked on projects for Post Malone, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.
Now based in New Jersey, Bryan’s introduction to graphic design stems back to his childhood in New York. “Growing up I was really influenced by my brother,” he explains. At the time, his older sibling was taking the train to high school and would tell Bryan about the graffiti he saw on his journey when he got home. “He would show me and teach me about the different writers, such as Korn, sane, JA and legends like Futura T-KID and Shepard Fairy,” Bryan recalls of the beginning of his obsession with the medium.
He began scribbling in notebooks and creating graffiti inspired MySpace layouts, spending hours trying to make “cool trendy” designs like the ones he saw on freeweblayouts.com and similar sites. “At this point, I didn’t even know how to use layers in Photoshop. I think because I was using the software at such an early age, working in graphic design just felt like the most natural fit for me,” he says.
Bryan now works full time as a designer and art director, whether that be on his own, collaborating with friends or by reaching out to creatives that inspire him. “I like to be as involved in projects as possible, every detail is important and the most important is planning,” he explains. The result is work that captures the spirit of whoever he’s working for: “Whether it’s a book for a photographer or an album cover for a musician, I want the images to fit their world and feel like something special.”
Although Bryan’s early love of graffiti can clearly be seen throughout his portfolio, he also frequently references posters from the 1960s-90s, as well as “album covers from different countries, punk flyers and a lot of photography.” When pulling references, he focusses on that which is not perfect, instead specifically finding work that has mistakes and a rawness that makes them “feel real”. This influence is clear in Bryan’s work, which often features elements of mark making, for example, utilising the fold or the grain of the paper.
Bryan’s favourite project is his ongoing collaboration good friend, Travis Brothers. The pair has been working on the art direction for Post Malone including the artwork for the Stoney and Beerbongs and Bentleys albums and tour merchandise for a while now. “We started this project as teenagers and it was the first big gig where we had people trusting our vision and giving us creative control on what evolved into a huge platform,” he explains. As well as allowing Bryan and Travis to work alongside some of their favourite creatives, it forced them to figure out the industry quickly, giving them experience which has now proved invaluable.
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.