Brian Viveros is, by far and wide, one of my favorite modern artists. This graceful provocateur paints his bludgeoned subjects wickedly, in rich oil tones and with his trademark limp cigarette hanging from each set of crimson lips. Viveros' art evokes a poignant, highly scabrous tone, but manages to maintain a beauty and defiance in the limp, beaten, and often naked form of a human being.
"Eye Snatch Her"
"Hear No Evil"
"Behind the Dirty Glass"
I actually don't notice it. It took seeing several pieces all in a row to notice it for me. The first of his I ever saw was "Octopussy," though, and the cigarette is the least apparent, I think, in that work. But I think you're right. As far as trademarks go, it isn't the most ambitious. In fact, it's rather lazy. Still, I am so enthralled by the art.