Bryan Mahoney
Writer / Artist

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
Usually I sit somewhere with an antique typewriter. Inevitably someone asks, “How old is it?” or “Do you get WiFi on that thing?” We get to talking…and 10 minutes later I have written five or six rhyming stanzas about the person. When I’m not writing poetry for strangers I paint portraits of people’s typewriters. I’ve painted them for people as far as Ireland and as close as…well, my apartment.

How did you first become interested in art?
I’ve been writing since forever. I struggled with a lot of math and science subjects in school but writing came naturally to me. After college, sidewalk poetry didn’t seem to be paying the bills so I became a journalist. That career took me all over, including the Burbank Leader where I wrote a column called Burb’s Eye View for five years. During that time I started doodling, which turned into drawing, which turned into digital painting. I took some classes at Burbank Adult School to learn the basics. In 2021 alone I’ve painted 96 portraits of typewriters, aiming to hit 100 before the year’s out.

How does art enrich a community, and what are some ways people can engage with art in Burbank?
Burbank Adult School is a great place to start, as is the Burbank Art Association where you can meet artists and get experience having your work shown in a gallery setting. Art gives a community a common thing to rally around. It can help define a community (like the Statue of Liberty or the St. Louis Arch), and it can help a community start a conversation about what it is, and what it’s trying to be.

If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
I often hear people say, “I can only draw a stick figure.” A lot of people put themselves down when it comes to art. I’m living proof that there’s an artist in everyone; you just have to find the style or medium that speaks to you. I was well into my 30s before I realized that.

To find out more about Bryan and his work, visit his website or follow him on Instagram @the_typin_pint.