Brian Sisson is our founder and Creative Director. Born in 1956 and raised in Hermosa Beach, California, Brian is one of eight kids in a fun but eccentric Catholic family. The family was headed by Brian's dad, ex marine WWII colonel Dave Sisson. Family life at Dave and Mary Sisson's rambling beach house was frenetic, with discussions of art, politics, religion, sports, world history, ocean lore, Dave's New England background and Mary's downtown Los Angeles background setting the tone. All eight children attended Catholic grade school and high school. Brian attained some small local renown for being the first kid to paint a car in intricate colorful designs at the age of 11. There were spray painted hippie vans in the mid sixties, but none were carefully hand painted cars with many scenes and hidden graphics. That was the family VW bug.
Brian went into high school as the best young local artist, doing big projects like murals and other cars. He attended El Camino College in advance placement (during high scool) as a music major, and was on the dean's list, when he was accepted into Art Center College of Design. Art Center was just moving into new digs in Pasadena. Attending Art Center, Brian was an ad/ill major (advertising/illustration) and was the youngest student on campus. At lunch hours, Brian would drive into L.A. to show his portfolio to agencies, picking up moonlighting work in order to afford school. After six semesters, Brian stepped out of college to earn enough money to return, but when real jobs came at Brian he became a marketing professional and never looked back.
Brian's first jobs, 10 days of of college, were for Neil Diamond, Barbara Striesand and Jon Peters. He learned from the inside of Hollywood how the Industry works, how to create sales materials, images, company logos, ad campaigns. At age 20 he hung his own shingle in the Parker Advertising building in Palos Verdes, California. Parker had handled the Toyota account. That one man company was Sisson Art Services. He created many garment print designs for Lighning Bolt, then the most cutting edge sportswear company. He became an expert in the surfwear category.
Brian worked on many jobs for bigger ad agencies as a hired hand, illustrator and consultant. He hired on as Creative Director for JIGO an ad agency/photo studio in Gardena where he picked up facility as a designer for Asian-owned corporations like Hyundai, Mitsubishi and a few big import/export companies. Clients included the very first cell-phone networks, auto alarm companies and car after market manufacturers.
From there Brian started Hopkins/Sisson Inc, an advertising illustration company in Santa Monica that specialized in expensive painted illustrations for Hollywood and ad agency clients. Brian worked in a business capacity at Hokins/Sisson, Chris Hopkins was the master painter, and Brian was anxious to get back to designing and marketing.
He struck out again, on his own, creating Brian Sisson Studio and honing his marketing skills on small to mid-sized companies. This is called guerilla marketing, working with small budgets to make 1 thousand dollars act like ten thousand dollars. Brian took on challenging clients: a timepiece maker, soccer wear manufacturers, TV shows, sportswear companies, a graphite bicycle frame manufacturer, breweries and bottlers, wineries, cosmetics, car audio manufacturers; Brian helped to market apple juicing machines, fitness trainers, Sushi chefs, musical instrument makers, rock bands, martial artists, landscapers, record companies, ad agencies, music instruction studios, pool toys, waterproof cases, litho printers, photo studios, label printers, retail stores, promoters and publicists.
During this time Brian inked titles and logo finals for Cher, Magic Johnson, Freedomfest (Nelson Mandela's celebration event), the Jonathan Club, the Gyspy Kings and many others.
Brian took short stints as art director at a few other companies in order to gain expertise in niche businesses: creating CD art and promos for JAD records in Beverly Hills (headed by Bob Marley's first manager Danny Sims), designing wine and liquor labels for Diamond Label, designing portion packages for Borden Foods of Chatsworth, and even working under master designer Mike Salisbury for his world-class client list. Salisbury used Brian to ink final titles for many feature movies (Amigo, Mighty Quinn, World Gone Wild, The Kiss, Horror Show, Death Before Dishonor, Old Gringo), and company logos including Hasbro, MGM/Grand, Polygram Records Group and more.
This brings us to SMG (Sisson Marketing Group), a marketing and design company with offices in Irvine and a studio in Redondo Beach. The office is run by Alan Thompson, an expert in business planning, organization and intellectual property. Brian Sisson is Creative Director, artist and marketing expert. SMG's client list includes:
Score American Soccer, Disney, Body Glove, Apex Electronis, Jensen Audio, KLH audio, Fox TV, Dole Foods, Gotcha Sportswear, Nakamichi audio, Pignose Industries, Southern California Brewery, Roger Steffens' Reggae Archive, Pulse Products, Readwrite Educational Solutions, Hermosa Records, surfer Shaun Tomson, Hot Rod Sodas, Eat Me Foods, Crunch and HiFonics audio, John Tesh and many more.
At a spry 52, he's not slowing down, he's expanding his efforts.
Brian Sisson is a renaissance man of sorts, because his expertise also includes music (he's a jazz musician and record labels owner), fine art (he paints canvases sold in art galleries and is featured in Disneyland), TV show production (he helped create a pilot last year), fine art giclee printing (he prints his own and other's work), photography, and copy writing. Recently Brian is a history book author (a conservative world history primer), part time political and philosophy writer, and sometimes bodysurfer. On top of that, Brian has an alter-ego... a lowbrow artist named Big B who creates car monsters, beatnik and tiki art.