An Interview with Artist and Audio Adrenaline guitarist Brandon Bagby.
AW: According to your website (http://www.brandonbagbyart.com/), you’ve only been ‘seriously’ painting since 2009, but your work is incredibly realized and mature. What kind of painting did you do prior to this?
BB: Thank you for the kind words! I have been doing art all of my life, but mostly just with a pencil and paper. The influence of art and music actually came from my father, who is an amazing oil painter. Being a guitarist/singer, my father was also an early influence in music for me.
I graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University in 2005 with Bachelor of Arts degree focusing in Graphic Design. During my studies, I was required to take a basic painting class. The required paint medium was oils. During class, we concentrated in painting still life settings. For me, the “take away” from that class was to paint all dark values first and then lighter values. Because of the nature of oils drying slowly, this seemed to be the best method.
I picked up a paint brush 4 years after college. It was actually the day after I proposed to my wife, Rebekah. The reason I started painting that day was because I wanted to have an original painting for our first home together. I painted a painting called “Composition Collision” over the course of a couple of months. I decided to try my hand at palette knife technique on that piece. I posted the final painting on Facebook and had several inquiries for purchasing the piece. I also had tons of encouragement from my wife, family, and friends telling me that perhaps I should work towards becoming a professional artist. The 2nd piece that I painted, “Big Body Blues,” sold for $2,500.
AW: You’ve enjoyed a wonderful career with one of the most successful Christian bands, well, ever. What has been your inspiration for branching out into the world of painting as an additional creative outlet?
BB: It’s been a great year for Audio Adrenaline and I am stoked to be apart of such a legacy and ministry! Prior to joining Audio Adrenaline to be the lead guitarist, I worked with acts such as All Sons & Daughters, Dara Maclean, Meredith Andrews, Plumb, and Seventh Day Slumber to name a few in Christian music. I have also worked with country recording act SHeDaisy. During my time in Nashville, I have probably worked with 70 – 80 artists and acts.
I do feel that my painting career actually began before my music career. I was selling my artwork before actually landing a job as a hired musician. For me, I enjoy bouncing back and forth between painting and playing music. It really balances me out. I am also working on other creative endeavors outside of art and music. I also have a passion for business, entrepreneurship, sales, and marketing. I love the idea of building something from nothing.
AW: Your work has a strong impressionist vibe, and appears at times to be heavily influenced by both Southern and Euro design (I see palettes of French and Spanish influence, to be sure), yet manages to be wholly original. Who are some of your influences in both historic and modern art?
BB: Being originally from Louisiana, I love the rich colors a lot of the New Orleans street artists use. When I was a kid, I would dig into my father’s art book collection. I loved looking at the work of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, M.C. Escher, Salvador Dali, Georges Seurat, and Vincent Van Gogh to name a few.
AW: How has the ability to share your artistic vision impacted your faith?
BB: To be honest, I don’t believe my artistic vision has impacted my faith. I will say that my faith has grown tremendously in taking the unknown path to creating my own job and role in society. Even with the success of Audio Adrenaline, there are still times I have to wonder when the next check is coming in. I have learned that I am not the sole provider for my household…God is. I tell guys moving to Nashville to play music that you can practice and meet people all day, but it is God who truly opens the door for opportunities. That goes for any career choice. I didn’t truly understand until I decided to leave a “safe” corporate career to pursue my dreams to use the gifting that God had given me.
AW: From a design standpoint, what is your favorite part of the artistic process?
BB: I usually plan out my compositions. I have a notebook full sketch concepts, notes, and ideas. I will definitely sketch the idea onto the canvas with charcoal, but I never really know the true finalized piece until it is reached. There have been times that I have removed elements from the painting in progress because it didn’t work. I have even thrown pieces in the trash or have painted over them.
AW: What would your message be to aspiring Christian artists (writers, musicians, painters) who struggle with finding an audience?
BB: Don’t give up! If something is not working, change it… reinvent yourself! It’s hard to find an audience in any type of art. Unfortunately, art is not necessarily a need in our society, but a desire. It’s your job as an artist to create such a strong desire for your art that it becomes a need. Seek out a mentor to help guide you. To truly be successful in your craft, you can’t always make art just for yourself. You need to cater to the market you want to impact. Don’t be afraid to try things outside of your comfort zone. After all, you are an artist… a creative.