Inspiration comes from a variety of places for Brooklyn-based artist Brian Kirhagis. Transforming his thoughts on current events and social issues into striking visual imagery, Kirhagis creates what he calls a “collective reality” through his paintings, many of which are truly larger than life. The combination of intellectually stimulating concepts and visually inspiring artistry turns acrylic paint and canvas into stories.

Most recently, Kirhagis opened a solo exhibition in NYC called “Levels” at The Atelier, and he’ll be one of the featured artists at the UFC’s “The Art of Fighting” show at the Contemporary Arts Center in Las Vegas opening July 1.

“To have the opportunity to paint for the UFC is not only an honor, but is also very special to me for a variety of reasons,” says Kirhagis. “Aside from being a fan since the early days, I was an avid wrestler in high school and have a deep appreciation for the dedication and discipline that goes into the sport.

“Furthermore, my manager and good friend was a black belt in multiple disciplines, who trained twice a day in mixed martial arts. He was part of the movement to bring the UFC to New York City. Unfortunately, he passed away unexpectedly 18 months ago. It served as a catalyst for me to work harder than I ever had to achieve the success we dreamt of, and this platform could not be more perfect. I know he is smiling because his two favorite things have collided—fighting and my art.”

With collectors from Damon Dash to Fabolous and clients like the New York Yankees already in the mix, more than just the art world has started to take notice. For those of you that can’t make it to his shows, we’ve linked up with the self-taught artist to find out the story behind his favorite works, and what each piece means to him. Check out our Portfolio Review: Brian Kirhagis Talks the Life Lessons and Complicated Themes Behind His Vibrant Paintings.

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