Brandon Boyd — Incubus frontman/Artist
Expressing myself visually was my introduction to the arts. As long as I can remember, I have been drawing things and writing things down and externalizing emotional circumstances. When I was a little kid I was very introverted. If I was sick or something and didn’t know what to do about it, I figured out if I would draw pictures of what was going on inside of me, what it felt like, it would eventually make me feel better. I learned at a very young age that externalizing these complex internal processes offered a kind of catharsis.
I have been doing art the whole time. While Incubus is on tour, and touring becomes this crazed, chaotic, monotonous whirlwind, I usually am able to escape into painting or drawing. I always have some basic form of pen and paper with me.
After high school I was involved in what was probably my most formal art classes. I was studying life drawing and painting. I would learn to draw from a live model and then painting real life and still life images. I’ve also always been photographing. I’ve been working with some Polaroid’s, 35 millimeter and media format most of my adult life. With the digital evolution, I was able to excel more quickly due to the learning curve of the digital format. I do a bit of all of it, but none of it is technically formally trained. It’s more what I call following my nose. It drives me down some really cool paths and I’ve learned from other artists who do have formal training, who go to art schools and have degrees. It’s funny because I envy their technique and they envy my untrained eye.
Determining Which Outlet To Choose:
One of the mediums calls out more loudly than the others and I know beyond a shadow of doubt that I have to follow that, whichever voice is screaming the most loudly. Sometimes I do them back to back. I’ll be working on a painting and humming a melody. Normally when I’m working on a painting I don’t listen to music. Occasionally I will listen to a lecture or something, but usually I just listen to the glorious sounds of silence so I can let my own music filter through. So at times, they actually occur in a simultaneous kind of way.
Some days it’s just a matter of focus. Like now, Incubus is actively writing an album. We have so much material we are working with right now and we’re in the process of finding the best of the best. There will be new Incubus music very soon. Some mornings though, I feel more focused like… no no no, I have to work on this song because Mikey (Einziger- Incubus guitar player) and I are getting together later today and I have finish this one line in the lyrics. So I will force myself to hunker down and focus on just that. My favorite thing to do though is to allow a medium to dictate which direction I am going to go. That’s when I get the most art. When I let my ego surrender and I let the medium speak more. You’ll notice more flow in the work whether it’s a song or a painting.
Human beings are inherently creative; we just all express ourselves differently. Some of us go towards the arts, some us do finance, some us go into the service industry, some of us drive cars and some are Instagram artists. But we are a creative species. I see all of it.
Home Studio Setup:
It’s more hemispheric than you would think. The studio is above the garage in my house. One corner is almost entirely a space for making a mess, for throwing paint on a canvas and stuff like that. Then the other side has a protools rig and tons of drums and guitars. So it is hemispheric at first, but they do intersect at a certain point. You’ll see paint spilled over onto the drums.
The Creative Process:
There’s such a thing of writing a song or a lyric just for the sake of writing and perhaps you are expressing nothing. Sometimes those songs are so much fun to perform and to listen to because they are mindless and meaningless. Then there are the songs that you had to take a second mortgage out on your sole because you are digging so deep. Those songs are also important. It’s the same thing with art. Some pieces are meaningless. They are just there because I felt like putting something down on paper. Then there are things that are more complex in what they are trying to express. I think all of it is important. I don’t really feel it’s necessary or even appropriate for me as a conduit. It’s our responsibility to interpret our experiences individually. That’s what we are. The human animal is a conduit. We’re the eye piece of consciousness.
“Happiness balances delicately on the wings of the act of creativity itself, not at the finish line.” — Brandon Boyd
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