Artist Brent Estabrook’s Captivating Technicolor Plushies, Pop Ups, and Books

Artist Brent Estabrook’s Technicolor Plushies, Pop Ups, and Books

In conversation with artist Brent Estabrook

Artist Brent Estabrook enormous technicolor oil paintings inspire happiness and creativity among his many fans. The rainbow colored plushie piles garner six-figures and are only available via his waitlist. In July, Estabrook will launch the 2nd edition of Smiles pop-up at Westfield Century City Mall in Los Angeles. The Pop Up will feature original paintings, prints, and other collectibles for sale, including an interactive claw machine and original plushies.

Brent Estabrook recently released his second book, “Desire to Inspire” Edition #2, is a follow up to “Desire to Inspire” Edition #1 which debuted at his Long Beach Museum of Art Solo Show, “Creature Comforts”, in October 2022. Edition #2 tells the stories of Estabrook’s inspirations and dreams alongside his vivid and playful visuals. 

Are there any parallels between being a dentist and an artist?

I would say that both professions require quite a bit of self-discipline. Dentistry school taught me how to focus and the rigorous academic requirements laid the foundations of the self-discipline I would need to finish painting mentally or physically challenging pieces later on. 

I realized early in my art career that if I was going to be successful in the art world, I was going to need to be the driving force behind that success. I think those lessons from dental school have absolutely helped me find success in the art world.

Artist Brent Estabrook’s Technicolor Plushies, Pop Ups, and Books

How did your plushie fascination start? 

It all started one afternoon several years ago watching my niece and nephew show me all their plushies. Their joy and wonder was so powerful, and the pile of plushies they were making as they kept bringing more and more out of their rooms was very visually impactful. I snapped a photo of their plushie pile and that’s where the first Stuffed Animal Pile paintings came from. Those paintings brought me a lot of success but more than that, I realized I just loved the idea of tapping into and sharing that sense of joy and wonder and awe that is so naturally present in children, and that as adults, we tend to lose. 

Is your home and/or studio filled with plushies? What do you do with them when you are done?

They are! I actually keep a lot of my own paintings. In fact, they are the biggest source of inspiration because every piece has marked new growth in some way or another and they remind me to keep challenging myself and how important it is to me to keep growing personally and professionally. My Studio only has my paintings in it. And for now, the only plushie is Smiles but there are many, many more to come as the world of Smiles and Friends is just getting started!

Tell us more about your pop up coming up this summer in LA. 

From July 12 through 14,  at the Century City Mall in LA we’re hosting the “Smiles Experience”—the unveiling of ‘Smiles and Friends,’ my new luxury plushie line. It’ll feature the release of the “Smiles” plushie, my signature pink teddy bear, and there will also be a range of collectibles featuring “Smiles”. It’s going to be so fun! Attendees can even try their luck at a claw machine to win their own “Smiles” plushie, among other surprises. 

At the Pop Up, I’m also debuting three new paintings, each embodying the “Smiles” motto: “Different is Good!” I chose these pieces because they are really special to view in person and they embody my mission to spread joy and inspire people to embrace their passions, rediscover playfulness, and pursue personal growth. 

Why did you choose to move and create art in LA?

In my head, the choice was always between LA and NY since those are the two big art cities in the US, but LA ended up having a few advantages for me over NY…

First, I’m from the Seattle area and LA put me close to my family, who I’m very close to, so that was a factor. Then there was the incredible weather and being from the rainy Pacific Northwest, all that sunshine had a definite appeal! Plus in LA I could get a little bigger studio space than I could in NY, so at that point LA felt like the obvious right choice for me.

Both cities are very cool but LA has its own unique brand of interesting people doing cool things all the time and as an artist I get to be a part of that community. It wasn’t a reason I chose LA but it has definitely been one of the unintended benefits to moving to LA for my art career. 

How do you relax after staring at stuffed animals all day?

I love coming home and spending time with my wife, Tara, cooking, laughing, hanging out… Surrounding myself with incredible, supportive people is one of the most important things in my life and career.

All images courtesy of Brent Estabrook, shared with permission

Brent Estabrook website:

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