Brandon Sadler is a multidisciplinary designer, well-accomplished, illustrator, muralist, and craftsman. Brandon has a very diverse clientele and he has participated in several solo and group exhibitions, including being in the permanent collection of the High Museum of Art. If you see him cruising on his single-speed bike or executing another masterpiece, wave and say hello.
What do you do and why?
I’m a maker. I make many things; I’m mostly known for my public mural work and gallery exhibitions, but I also make furniture, comics, photography, sculpture, I cook, etc. I have to use my hands; I process my ideas and experiences through making, so I have to do it.
How do you begin your day? What’s your morning routine and how important is it to you?
Well, my routine fluctuates daily. [Laughs.] On a perfect day I wake up, let the dogs out, sit and meditate for 30 minutes, feed the dogs and myself, then shower and all that, move on to computer work (if there is any), wrestle with my younger dog, and then I’m in the studio till 3pm. I leave the house and work at a coffee shop, hit the gym, eat dinner, then work on whatever I choose while watching random things till I’m ready to sleep. I seldom have perfect days so they usually contain a mix of these things in no particular order with random shit thrown in the mix.
What is the message and concept behind Rising Red Lotus?
I’d like to think of it as more of a philosophy than a brand. The lotus plants its roots in the mud of a swamp in dark water filled with decay and filth, but also finds great nutrients there. It grows and begins to rise from the depths to bloom on the surface, clean and powerful. The lotus is a symbol of rebirth and spiritual ascension. I try to consider this while living in an environment of darkness and striving out of that renewed — a better person.
Could you explain the symbolism behind the recurring mantis and koi fish throughout your work?
Animals hold many symbolic meanings for me. The mantis is one of three animals I identify with; it represents my spirit and the element of air. As for the koi fish, it is a symbol of beauty and peace, but also strength and transformation. I also make images of fish frequently when I want to create imagery that provides a calm and serene feeling.
Please share with us your most essential tools to create.
I stand by anything that requires hand skills and craftsmanship. Although I use the computer for various things, I do 95% of my work with analog materials. Pencils, brushes, ink, watercolor, oils, acrylic, spray paint, wood, paper: these are my go-to materials, but I use many other things to get the job done. I love to experiment.
How do you choose the method and materials you work with for your pieces?
If I want to paint, it’s usually on a wood panel that I build; I prefer a rigid surface when painting. If it’s a drawing or sketch, plain 11×17″ paper will do. Any comic or print type work goes on Bristol or blue line paper. Or if I am doing a finished drawing, I will use a nice cotton rag paper or rice paper. My general rule is to consider the idea/image and choose the most efficient and beautiful surface for that work.
In your opinion does it really matter to you if you’re using the most recent design software and latest brushes or pencils?
No. They just need to provide the marks I am looking for. I use busted old brushes a lot and they provide character that a new brush can’t. But if the goal is clean lines then yeah, I’m reaching for my best-maintained brush. Pencils, no frills, No. 2 wood pencil or a regular technical lead holder will do just fine.
How has Atlanta and traveling abroad influenced your work?
Where I’m from and where I’ve been have both taught me to be resourceful and inventive. I’ve learned to observe my surroundings and to respond to them truthfully. I’ve been able to learn more about who I am, how I relate to the world, and how to channel my abilities to offer myself back to my environment.
Talk about your current project with WonderRoot CSA. It seems as though you are developing and devising your own translatable hand script.
Well, that series is based on my already existing calligraphy system, which is designed to resemble hanzi and kanji. For the series, I’ve designed typefaces based on this system and juxtaposed them with Helvetica. For example, a letter in Helvetica is turned and flipped into the incorrect orientation, and next to it is the same letter in the correct orientation using one of my fonts. Conceptually, I am experimenting with change and the perception of newness, which can apply to language and cultural or social phenomena.
So, what’s next for you? Are there any upcoming installations, collaborations and or events that we should look out for?
I will be painting a wall on Wylie Street [in Atlanta] for Forward Warrior: a live painting event held every year on June 11-12. Outside of that, I have a show in November and several other projects that I plan to keep in the shadows until I’m ready to share them. Ninja code. [Laughs.]
Please share any words of encouragement or inspiring quotes for the emerging creative community here in Atlanta.
Observe. Be considerate. Create with intent. Don’t believe the hype.