The following quotations are excerpts from Brandon's lecture at "Self Made," the weekly artists forum hosted by Katie Taft at Double Daughters Salotto in downtown Denver. October 24, 2006.
One of my first exposures to art history was a "Ripley's Believe It or Not" segment with Marie Osmond - Miss Utah - Morman - country girl - and she was reading avant garde dada poetry from the 20s. … I think that was her crowning moment.
I grew up in a little West Texas desert town, and this was our only public art - a giant jack rabbit. This was the only public sculpture that we had in Odessa.
My first pet's name was Bootsy, and the first street I lived on was Star Route 5... so my "porn star name" is Bootsy Star Route.
One of my high school art teachers introduced me to proper art history, and she showed me pre-surrealistic images by Giorgio de Chirico and it was refreshing to not see cowboys in art. It was really strange, dramatic, enigmatic imagery. A lot of trains, arches, weird perspectives, long shadows.
When I was in college, I had to explain exactly what I was doing and it had to be with a fine-toothed comb. You had to know exactly what you were saying and exactly how to say it. And one of my favorite quotes is "People who look for symbolic meanings fail to grasp the poetry and mystery of the image. No doubt they sense this mystery, but they wish to get rid of it. They are afraid. By asking, 'what does it mean?' they express a wish that everything be understandable."
I work at a sign company. I make highway signs like stop and yield and one way. It's not very creative. But I like to pay my mortgage…
Surrealism and dada have been a huge influence on my work. And also, the pop art part...
You can't love pop art without loving Andy Warhol.
This is an idea that I like to play with - with some of my prints: Do a randomly painted background and then just screen print right on top of it and see what it looks like. Most printmakers, when they make print editions, each one has to be exactly the same.
This is the guy I wish I'd studied under. His name was Peter Saul, and he taught at the University of Texas in Austin. He had an informal, pop-y approach, and he would do these weird images - these brightly painted creatures that were all comic-y and distorted. I looked at his work a lot. It's really pretty dark. You’re drawn to it because it's so colorful and beautiful, and then when you look close, there are some really horrible war atrocities and things going on. So, there's this attraction and repulsion thing going on.
I've recently been looking at a lot of WWII art. It's a really interesting kind of folk art from the '40s. To deal with their homesickness, they would do these pin-ups on the nose cones of bombers.
Some of the influences I’ve seen were dada and its randomness, and surrealism, with things being randomly pulled together.
When I was working on making meaningful art in college, I couldn't think of anything meaningful, so I made a list of images…..
This was a fun thing that Warhol would do on a lot of his Superman prints - He would actually print with diamond dust. Industrial diamonds have been crushed down. He mixed it in with a clear coat, and you could actually screenprint with it. I thought it was a fun idea, so I thought I'd try it. It's real expensive. It's used for sharpening things and polishing things. Two ounces is like $300. I just lost my job right after I ordered it, too. Really depressing.
Number 28 is "canned good.".... any canned good.
If I'm not real happy, or I’m really bored with an image, I can play with it. If I don’t like Piggly Wiggly sliced carrots anymore, I may switch to Hunts sliced carrots or something, Maybe their graphics are more interesting.
48 is an Explosive. I used actual gunpowder to make this. It’s a federal offense to make art with gunpowder, as opposed to blowing up or killing things. I thought that was just really ironic. I tried to buy some black powder at a gun shop, and they wouldn't sell it to me because I told them I was going to draw with it. So, I ended up just using the black powder from fireworks, and I always thought it would kind of cool too – like – ooh, I’ve got art and it's dangerous and it could catch fire and explode – but – I tried catching some scraps of it on fire and it didn’t do anything too exciting... So if you ever want one in your house, it's perfectly safe.
I needed a system that would allow me come up with imagery that I didn't really have to think about.
I like to keep it secretive, too. I’ve never really shown it (the numbered image list). There's some stuff like – 'Oh, What's that cute little butterfly at the bottom?' ... It's actually something very perverse. It's on my list.
The bee is how I sign my work now. I like bees. I always have a bee it the right hand corner.
(Describing lotto painting) I have these six images to play with. It's fun because it becomes a design problem. What needs to be more prominent? What needs to be in the background? Should I repeat the image? Should I do one of the image? Should I do 3 of the image? What layer should it be on? There's all kinds of fun design things going on.
One of my favorite (Raushenberg) quotes - paraphrasing - 'I'll make a piece of art, and it means something to me – but when I put it out and it's seen by the public, it takes on a different meaning.' So, it's really whatever YOU want it to be.
I don't have any specific content other than that the content is chosen randomly. That's about it.