Household Brands Become Fine Art

A painter finds inspiration in the grocery store

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Brendan O’Connell is a painter who finds his muses in an unlikely place: supermarkets.

Though he’s best known for paintings scenes from inside Walmart stores — a decade-spanning body of work that earned him a New Yorker profile last year and a Colbert Report appearance — his latest series of paintings zooms in on the everyday even further, focusing on one brand at a time. O’Connell tells TIME that part of the reason for his interest in these subjects is consumer interest: his work isn’t cheap — $1,000 is the very low end — but art buyers are willing to splurge in order to be able to hang an un-ironic painting of their favorite steak sauce, to take an example. (That’s partly why, starting Jan. 18, he’s launching an online gallery from his website; demand has been so high that his old sales system doesn’t cut it anymore.)

But interest in brands isn’t really surprising, if you ask him. In this week’s issue of TIME, the artist discusses how nostalgia for favorite products adds to the beauty in a brand.

Read the full story, from this week’s issue of TIME.

More Photography from Time

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