Artist Brandon Maldonado was born in 1980 and grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His hometown was an environment rich in Hispanic arts and culture. As a child, Brandon was introduced to the fantastical realm of Star Wars and the monsters of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” which first sparked his artistic imagination. In his teens he turned to graffiti, an influence that still can be seen in his works to this day. Brandon holds a Bachelor’s Degree in liberal arts from the College of Santa Fe with a focus in Philosophy and World Religion and he also holds an Associate’s Degree in Fine Art. However, Brandon considers himself to be a primarily self-taught artist whose most essential technical development was based on the independent study of the paintings of the old masters including Jan Van Eyck and Dominique Ingres among others. Recently, Brandon spoke to the Examiner about his experiences working as an artist:
Meagan Meehan (M.M.): How and when did you decide to become an artist?
Brandon Maldonado (B.M.): I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t an artist. My earliest memories are of people telling me that I was an artist so I guess I decided when I was able to hold a crayon.
M.M.: Growing up, which artists/types of art interested you?
B.M.: I grew up doing graffiti so that’s the strongest of my early influences in college I learned about classical painters. People like Jan Van Eyck, Willian Bouguereau, Dominique Ingres, and Frida Kahlo caught my attention.
M.M.: How would you describe your work and what inspires it?
B.M.: I don’t really have a good description of my work. Its figurative, surreal, low brow, cultural, and at times cubist. I like the term magical realism though that sounds nice. I’m inspired by life a lot of what I do is translate personal experiences that come from a vulnerable place into paint.
M.M.: How did you go about getting into galleries and/or public showcases?
B.M.: Early on I walked in and showed them my work, later on galleries contacted me.
M.M.: Do you have a favorite piece? If so, which one and why?
B.M.: I don’t have a favorite piece of my own work, In fact I don’t have any of my own works hanging in my house. I like other artists much better. I have an actual size poster of Jan Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Wedding. I like that piece a lot. He was one of the very first Classical Oil painters and still today no one can match his abilities.
M.M.: What are your mediums of choice?
B.M.: All my paintings are done in oils.
M.M.: Are there any mediums that you haven’t worked with yet but hope to soon?
B.M.: I want to get into some block print stuff. I played with the medium in high school and collage but I’d like to get serious about it.
M.M.: How did you develop your unique style?
B.M.: It’s a combination of the graffiti and cartoons of my youth mixed with classical inspiration of my adulthood.
M.M.: To date, what has been the most rewarding experience involving your artwork and/or being an artist?
B.M.: Well a lot of people seem to be excited when they find out my artwork was featured on the cover of Zac Brown Band’s Billboard #1, Grammy winning album “Uncaged”. He’s got a lot of fans.
M.M.: What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to become an artist?
B.M.: Focus on what you want to say through your work rather than getting stuck on how to paint. Painting is merely a means to an end. And that end is what?
M.M.: Are there any upcoming projects and/or events that you would like to mention?
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To learn more about Brandon Maldonado, visit his official website.