Talking to Brandon Maldonado

Brandon Maldonado was born in 1980 in Denver, Colorado, but grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, an area rich in Latino culture. To escape his daily existence of cacti, tumbleweeds and adobe houses, he engulfed himself in the fantasy worlds of Star Wars, He-Man, and Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Around the age of 10 he was introduced to graffiti and simultaneously influenced by local writer Giant One (better known today as Mike Giant), an impact that can still be seen in his current works. However, in high school, Maldonado learned vicariously from the mistakes of his peers and decided to stop ‘keeping it real’ and start keeping it on canvas, which eventually led to his independent study of the old world masters.

Maldonado’s painterly style is a hybrid of graffiti, ancient iconography of Central America, and classical imagery. His finished pieces evoke feelings of the human experience, from life’s joys, sorrows and struggles, to the mysteries of our mortal existence. “I pick up my paintbrushes and attempt to use art as a vehicle for inspiring change,” says Maldonado. “The process of making a painting in itself is a meditation for me. I discriminately choose the themes of my work, making certain that each concept is ultimately something I believe is worth saying and contemplating.”

Major influences in his creative life include Mike Giant, Jan Van Eyck, Frida Kahlo, Dominique Ingres, Joe Sorren, Mark Ryden, and the melancholy music of Jeff Buckley. Maldonado’s painting ‘Our Lady of the Merciful Fate’ was chosen by The Zac Brown Band to grace the cover of their current album ‘Uncaged’. His art is in the private collections of Aaron Paul, Zac Brown, and Gina Gershon. Maldonado has been honored to exhibit his works at Stolen Space Gallery in London, Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles, as well as numerous other galleries in New York, Colorado and Korea.

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