Brandon Borchert made artwork that was all about controlled randomness, the quest to make order in a chaotic world.
In his Lottery Paintings, he assigned one of 53 numbers to various stylized graphic symbols, from bombs to bees, then used the most recent Powerball drawing to figure out what six images to include in each piece.
It was quirky, signature work, mature for a 35-year-old artist taking the legacy of art world movements such as Dada, Surrealism and Pop, then making it his own.
That search ended Tuesday when the artist's brother, Wayne Borchert, found Brandon Borchert dead in his Denver garage. The Denver medical examiner's office is terming his death an apparent suicide, investigator Stephen Ireland said.
Wayne Borchert, 39, said his brother had encountered depression in the past but had been optimistic in recent weeks.
"He had started to crank out art again and wanted to have a small show."
The brothers were born in Denver but moved to Texas with their parents. Wayne Borchert moved back to Denver and was followed by his younger brother, who had earned a bachelor's degree from North Texas State University.
"He was taking the world around him in chaos and trying to make sense of it," said Wayne of Brandon's work.
Though Wayne Borchert said he is "on the fringe of the art world," the brothers teamed up in the annual -Piazza dell'Arte chalk- painting project in Larimer Square.
"People would get upset when he would tell them (the work) would get mowed down by the street sweeper, that it's almost like performance art, or fine wine and food, meant to be enjoyed."
"He was one of a kind, so original," said Lauri Lynnxe Murphy, who featured Mr. Borchert's work in a show at Capsule Gallery that brought attention from critics and curators.
"He was doing a neo-Pop thing and was influenced by Dada and randomness," she said.
He quickly became part of a group of artists that showed and worked at Capsule.
When Simon Zalkind was looking for artists who worked in repetition or series, he called Murphy, who suggested he visit the Borchert show. Zalkind did and included two paintings in the June 2004 "Repeat Offenders" show at Singer Gallery.
"He was like his work: smart, ebullient and confident," said Zalkind, director and curator of the Singer. "He was all the things you want in a young artist who has a gift, to be modest enough to know they're not there yet, but to know they're going to get better."
Murphy, who has shown Mr. Borchert's art several times since, is helping to organize a tribute at 7 p.m. Friday at Capsule Events Center, 560 Santa Fe Drive. A Brandon Borchert Art Scholarship Fund has been set up at First Bank.
Besides his brother, he is survived by his mother, JoAnn Price, and stepfather, John Price, of Odessa, Texas; his father, Allen Borchert, and stepmother, Delores Borchert, of Tulsa, Okla.; grandparents Ray and Charlene Kling, of Aurora; an aunt, Christine Look, of Denver; and an uncle, Gary Kling, of Clinton, Ark.