I met Brendon in University.
Brendon is the type of person who prefers hugs over handshakes, he can illuminate the room with his laughter and he is one kick-ass artist.
Let me paint you a picture (punned!). In second year of university, my friends and I had a pow-wow on what to do for our next house party. As soon as we came up with beach theme, Brendon, with a smile said “we should cover the floor with sand!” That was the moment when I realized he was a dreamer. He didn’t really think about the consequence, he was all about doing epic shit.
After university, we didn’t have many opportunities to meet up. It was a long time before we reconnected. One day, I stumbled across a post about his art exhibition on Facebook. I wanted know what he was up to, so I gave him a visit.
When I got to the exhibition, it wasn’t hard to spot him. He was always surrounded by people.
As soon as he saw me, he greeted me with a big hug “Hey pal, how are ya?”
The work he was featuring is called Heart of Gold.
The philosophy behind this art work is profound. Check out this link for further explanation.
When the exhibition ended, he invited me to his place for pizza. As we were grubbing, I realized how nice his place was.
“Are you able to make a living off of selling art?” I asked.
“Pretty much.” He replied.
At that moment, my interview switch turned ON. I had so many questions.
I started asking him about his genesis on becoming an artist.
So here is how it all started.
He was 8 years old; he wanted to paint his room like a jungle. So he told his mom about it and together they went to a paint shop.
When they walked into the shop, Brendon saw a painting of a panther roaming in the jungle.
“I want to paint that” he said pointing at the painting.
So his mom asked the store manager about the painting, the store manager connected her with the artist. One thing led to another and Brendon started learning how to paint.
I had a chance to meet Brendon’s mom. In my opinion, she is his biggest supporter and the biggest influence on why he is such a go-getter.
But there are two sides to every coin.
Brendon told me that his father, until this day, doesn’t fully understand his choice to become an artist. “For a while, I had to distance myself from my dad because I couldn’t be around someone who didn’t support me.”
Brendon’s dad lived a totally different life than him. His dad is a proprietor of a construction company, which is a profession that is far from art.
One summer break, Brendon went to work for his father. When the construction workers found out that Brendon was a painter, they called him a fairy and a queer. But Brendon wasn’t fazed because he told them “I get laid by more girls than all of you.”
Brendon grew up in a small town where being an artist wasn’t that prominent. So Brendon understands his father. He said that his dad only wants to look out for him because being an artist is such a risky business.
But even with his upbringing, it seemed like for Brendon, fear of failure was overlooked by his vast passion.
When he was in Australia as an exchange student, it was hard to make ends meet. “Having nothing sucked! I remember one day, I had to choose between buying groceries or art supplies, and I ended up buying art supplies.”
So for Brendon, he sees fear as a motivator, even when people try to put him down.
He told me a story about the time he had dinner with his ex-girlfriend and her parents. Out of the blue his ex-girlfriend’s mother asked if he was making enough money.
“I found that really rude. If I was a doctor, lawyer or an accountant, she would have never asked me that kind of question.”
During our conversation, I started to realize just how many stigmas were attached to artists.
For example, there is a stereotype that artists are involved with narcotics or alcohol. When I first met Brendon, he was the life of the party. To be specific, you would see Brendon with a beer funnel around his shoulder at every party.
But when I saw him at the exhibition, he was drinking Canada Dry.
So much has changed about Brendon. He’s not the party fiend I once knew. He is focused on making his art and being successful at what he does.
“People don’t realize what I actually do (as an artist). My work takes a lot of time and effort, but they don’t see the countless hours I spend in my studio, knocking doors of galleries to host my art work, figuring out ways to sell it, they have so many misconceptions. But it’s okay because by the end of my life time, all the stigmas around being an artist will be gone.” He declared.
He has a lot of cool art work, check it out!