Get To Know Bryan ‘Peabe’ Odiamar

Introduce yourself
Hey, my name is Bryan Odiamar but I tend to go by “Peabe”. I was born and raised in Chicago but have been living in Oakland for about 10 years now. I like to draw pictures.  =)

When did you first start getting involved with art?
I got started really young with my Lolo (grandfather in Tagalog). Drawing was “fun time”, so if I got my homework done we’d throw down on some sketches. That led to drawing cartoons, which led to graffiti, which led to art school, and so on.

While growing up in Chicago in the 90’s, you were inspired by Solo and Antck. What was it about these two that inspired you so much?
I love graffiti. When I first started noticing big productions while riding the CTA as a kid; the colors, dynamic, and references to pop culture had me hooked. So I got into writing a bit but learned early that I didn’t like doing letters, so I sucked at it. From my limited exposure at the time, I thought that graff was only about lettering. So I never got SUPER into it but I ran with a couple crews. Since I wasn’t feeling lettering too much, I got mad discouraged. Then somewhere in the early 90s (I think 94), I saw some walls by State and 14th that had an Aerosoul production and I think a character by Antck. Up until that point, I thought characters were just fillers but noticed how those cats really did something ill with them. That blew my mind at the time and from there I pretty much focused on characters.

Since moving to the west coast, there still seems to be a lot of Chicago moments throughout your work. Do you ever miss Chicago?
Of course, Chicago will always be home. I try to sneak Chicago references into everything. I will say though since I’ve been in Oakland some monumental stuff has happened. My wife (she’s from Chicago as well) and I got married while living here, we had our daughter here, our big goofy dog. Our immediate family roots are here, so I’m lucky to have two homes. I still roll with my Chicago teams tho.

What are you currently fascinated by and how is it feeding into your work?
As of lately, I’ve been really inspired by going back to a style I worked on a lot but took a break from about 8 years ago. It was the style I was painting with and got burned out by. I was doing a lot of shows and felt like I was forcing it. Now I’m just doing whatever and really enjoying it. I’m also enjoying the pop success of comics, it’s about fucking time.

Let’s Talk About It. Towards the end of last year, you decided to make a pin about mental illness. After making that post and that pin, have things been getting better for you?
I grew up in a household/community where mental health was never something discussed. I lost a friend recently and only a few people, not including me, knew the struggle he was going thru. That was a catalyst for me and some friends to finally start the dialog, at least with each other, about how we’re doing mentally. In one of our first real conversations in 20 years of friendship, a lot came out. I’m going thru some struggles, as well as some others, and it was nice to be able to share that a feel the support of your homies. It’s nice to know that we can have that conversation without the fear of being a “downer”. Yeah, so it feels good to not have to hide it.

You once said, “I felt that getting too focused on “making a name” trapped me into trying to create a “recognizable style” that I eventually started disliking. So, I took a step back and just started illustrating and designing for fun.” Once you realized this, how much weight was lifted off of your shoulders?
It felt great, not giving a fuck is what’s making it fun. I’m just doing what I want. I’m really having a great time drawing and I feel like people can sense that from the illustrations. If not, I’ll tell them now “I’m having fun!”

In terms of feedback, how much attention do you pay to the feedback of others on your work?
I definitely look at feedback, doesn’t mean I do it. I know I can’t see and know everything, so if someone points out something cool that could be added/done to my work I try it out. If it looks like basura, I pass. If it looks cool, I’m stoked cause I learned something new. I like when my illustrating homies chime in with feedback. I like talking with Joey D., Joey Potts, and The Grocer about illustration. They’re all Chicago cats and you should hit them up if you haven’t.