Art is no stranger to collaboration. It’s sometimes through these efforts that creatives are able to better communicate their vision through the support of brands like Vans, whose core pillars celebrate action sports, music, art and street culture.

Taking this concept even further, Highsnobiety partnered with Vans UltraRange to showcase three up-and-coming artists all from distinct backgrounds and artistic styles that delves deep into each artist’s creative process in order to push those boundaries.

Kicking off the series is LA-based painter Maxwell McMaster, whose signature surrealist style has earned the California native quite a reputation in the art scene. McMaster’s vibrant color palette and expert use of dreamy hues enables him to create vivid landscapes inspired by the people and places around him in the Golden State. While McMaster’s work typically skews toward abstract and minimal, he’s able to instill complexity and emotion within his pieces.

The artist:

Maxwell McMaster

McMaster is somewhat soft spoken yet his work is anything but. His gorgeous, pastel paintings are partly inspired by French surrealist painter Henri Matisse, but with a distinctly modern west coast edge. The end result is a mixed bag that’s equal parts moody, surreal, and playful.

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Highsnobiety / Phil Staiman

"I like to create worlds and play with how color can affect mood. I try to create work that helps me improve my view on the world."

Maxwell McMaster

Watch the film:

"I think of my art as creating a calm space within this turbulence that we all live in."

Maxwell McMaster

The Studio

When it comes to getting inspired, McMaster doesn’t concern himself too much with what to paint next. “I just wake up and do what I have to do. When it comes to inspiration, it comes and goes, and a lot of times I will be inspired by something I see when I am driving”, explains McMaster. “I see a certain color combination; something that strikes me as being interesting, and those the sort of things I retain.”

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"I like to create art that I would like to live with, so a lot of my work is just about color and a chill vibe."

Maxwell McMaster

The Journey

While McMaster’s ever-evolving career has been recognized and featured in exhibitions at First Amendment Gallery in San Francisco and Public Land in Sacramento, he still finds solace in solitude. “When I first saw the sand dunes of Pismo [beach] I was blown away by the quietness of it, and just being there alone to appreciate it,” explains McMaster.

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"The most rewarding part comes in the actual creation; the thing that exists that wasn’t there before."

Maxwell McMaster

The Artwork

As McMaster surveys the dunes of Pismo Beach to serve as the backdrop of his next work, he’s floored by just how vast it is. There’s a reason he endeavors to have his art live side-by-side with nature. “The thing I love about putting my work out in nature is that it sort of exists just for a moment."

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"The door idea, and my work in general, especially an open door, is like an opportunity or a possibility. All these different doors are different choices you can take, different paths."

Maxwell McMaster

Follow Maxwell’s journey as he takes to the dunes of Pismo for a breathtaking installation through nature, and stay tuned for the second part of our Vans Artist Series highlighting Miami-based illustrator and muralist Marlon Pruz.

  • Executive Producer: Highsnobiety & Vans
  • Creative Strategist: Susanne Biermeir & Alexa Di Benedetto
  • Project Manager: Amy Tran
  • Developer: Katerina Vaseva
  • Production Company: Greenpoint Pictures
  • Director: Nina Meredith
  • Director of Photography: Adriaan Kirchner
  • Producer & Photographer: Phil Staiman
  • Editorial: WAX
  • Editor: Alvaro del Val
  • Assistant Editor: Matt Elias
  • Color Grade: Nice Shoes
  • Colorist: Phil Choe
  • Final Audio: Heard City
  • Mixer: Jodi Levine
Words by Daniel So
Branded Content Editor

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