THE ILLUSTRATED MAN: BRANDON BOYD GETS BACK TO BASICS

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TEXT Meagan Judkins
PHOTO Grant Yoshino

Bruce the pup warmly welcomes us at the wooden gate surrounding a modestly dapper Venice Beach home. Bruce is among a small number of Boyd’s tight-knit circle to merit an appearance in his new book: So The Echo. The appropriately mellow French bulldog leads us to Brandon who, before entering his home, stops to call attention to the towering tree in the front yard — a brilliantly blooming Jacaranda, freshly planted that very morning.

With regular visits to the ocean (“The sea is our mother,” states Boyd) and daily meditation as his spiritual refuge, Brandon is surprisingly down to earth. Even with, or perhaps despite, his colorful career that spans the greater part of 20 years. His brand of unpretentious confidence is refreshing, and Boyd appears to be a man at his creative apex.

“What a blessed experience it is to be an artist – to be at peace with your creativity, and be allowed to do it,” Brandon remarks reflectively. With straightforward repose his motto is simple: “You are only ever going to get what you put into something. What you call out in to the world, whether consciously or unconsciously, the thing that you most need, want or desire, you are going to get that back.”

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While thumbing through So The Echo one feels almost voyeuristic; “white sand sticking to my toes like sugar on a mouth moistened finger” and other eloquent introspections make each page entertainingly piquant. Thoughts, ideals and blatant concerns for a blind and fear-fed nation tastefully splash personal photographs like a professionally, refined scrapbook of a person you would like to know. Though, thankfully, it is presented without the patronizing air that so often accompanies discussions of magnitude.

Yet despite his valid concern, Brandon, along with his narrative are pleasantly optimistic; “[there are] a wonderfully alarming number of human beings alive today who are having what we could call “enlightening experiences” in little bursts – all beautiful, all deadly, all infinite, all at once.” Boyd teeters a kind of clear-eyed transcendence in a desperately modern world.

The art within So The Echo is a “more refined, less scatter-brained” display of what we have come to hope for from Boyd; a style we’d like to coin, shrewd psychedelia. His sketches bring to mind a charmingly hallucinatory Egon Schiele; while the more abstract pieces are a kind of reimagined Rorschach test. Watercolor vividly dances off the seemingly intimate pages of a happened upon sketchbook, illuminating the imagination and giving the viewer a disarmingly raw glimpse into the mind of an artist.

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It should also be mentioned that Brandon’s ninth album is soon set to release. Loyal fans can expect to kickback with the son of the sea, just like old times; but prepare for a reintroduction to Boyd, the new album “is a sort of reflection of who I am now, why I am here and where I think I am going.” You wont be disappointed.

Within a blink of a few short hours, the interview is through. As we pack up, and blithely give thanks for the hospitality, it occurs to me, if the old saying “you are what you eat” is true, then Boyd and his honey-dipped lady are chai-spiced chocolate & organic strawberries. Yum.

So The Echo will be available on September 5th, 2013 via brandonboydbooks.com. Boyd’s new album is set to release late summer/early fall.

Check out more of our afternoon with Brandon in our latest issue.

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