PPLA Benefit Auction: Insights from Brian Calvin

Sexy Beast for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles believes everyone should have access to safe, caring, and affordable healthcare services. Since its founding in 2014, the Sexy Beast art auction and gala has raised nearly one million dollars for this crucial organization across two milestone events. This year, Sexy Beast's sights are set even higher for their third biennial fundraising extravaganza on Saturday, October 20th at the Marciano Art Foundation. In conjunction with the event and the benefit auction on Artsy, we had the opportunity to speak to artist Brian Calvin, long time supporter of the organization.

  • Photograph of Brian Calvin. Courtesy of Moira Tarmy.

    Photograph of Brian Calvin. Courtesy of Moira Tarmy.

Since the 1990s, Brian Calvin has developed a body of highly stylized flattened paintings, rendering his figures in light-soaked portraits that retain a lifelike quality. His work’s defining characteristic is the figures’ temporal pauses; each one seems to be suspended in action. Calvin’s recent work has moved away from revealing his subjects’ whole faces and instead highlights individual features, in some cases the eyes, which seem to suggest an interior world beyond the space of the canvas. “The very act of painting combined with the act of looking creates a portal through which a lot can transpire,” Calvin has said. “So I paint each day, trying to remain open enough to let that connection happen."

Artsy: When and how did you become involved with the Sexy Beast for Planned Parenthood L.A. Benefit?

Brian Calvin: I first donated a painting to Sexy Beast for the September 2016 gala, right in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential election. It was only two years ago but I don’t think I’m alone in saying that it feels like a lifetime.

A: In what way has Sexy Beast made a meaningful impact in the health-care world?

BC: Supporting and strengthening Planned Parenthood LA helps maintain high-quality, affordable, comprehensive health care in LA County. With very real threats emerging to reproductive health rights, it makes sense to further strengthen the foundation of Planned Parenthood LA.

A: Sexy Beast has collaborated with some of the most prominent artists and galleries since its foundation in 2014. Why do you think it’s so important for the artistic community to be involved with non-profit organizations?

BC: Ideally, anyone and everyone should support non-profits, donating time and/or money. In this sense, artists are not special. However, the collective skills of the artistic community provide a great opportunity to shine a light on the important work of non-profits like Planned Parenthood. Sexy Beast does a fantastic job of harnessing the good will of our community.



A: Can you tell us more about the artwork you are donating for the auction?

BC: I have donated a painting titled “Ruth Bader Ginsburg”. I had made a few drawings of RBG earlier this year. When I was approached by Sexy Beast about donating again this year, it provided the perfect opportunity to execute a more substantial piece.


Explore Sexy Beast for Planned Parenthood LA: Benefit Auction 2018 on Artsy, and place max bids on 50+ artworks. Bidding closes on Saturday, October 20th at 10:00pm PDT (October 21st at 1:00am EDT).