Updated: Mar 6
Brandon McCullar has moved to Tuscaloosa from North Carolina to open his studio, Southern Fried Metal, at Kentuck Art Center. Brandon is the newest member of Kentuck's Studio Artist Program. The grand opening of his new studio will be during Art Night this Thursday, March 5, 2020, from 5-8pm.
Brandon was born in Tuscaloosa and studied Art at Montevallo, the University of Alabama, Complutense University, Madrid and the John Campbell Folk School for Black Smithing. He’s shown in galleries in Alabama, Atlanta, Savannah, Paraguay, North Carolina, Madrid and Paris. Read more about him below and please help us give him a warm welcome!
Brandon says he has always been an artist—he could draw before he could write. He spent summers with his grandparents, and that's where he was introduced to metal.
"I moved around every three years of my life, but 'home' was my grandparents' house in Clanton, Alabama," Brandon said. " Grandad had a shop that—for some reason—I was allowed to build stuff in when I was seven (it was the 70s). During that time, I was building things instead of drawing. I created all sorts of things that a little boy would make: robots, dolls, forts, cities, et cetera."
Brandon says he wasn't really exposed to art when he was a kid, even though his parents were highly educated and he regularly entered art competitions. It didn't dawn on him until college that he was making sculptures. He studied art at the University of Montevallo and The University of Alabama.
"I went to college, traveled the world, and I made lots of different multimedia art," Brandon explained. "But, after college it was difficult for me because I was so into what I call "heddy" art—everything had to mean something and it had to be this big conceptual thing. I loved doing it, but it certainly wasn't going to pay the bills."
After-college life was going to require a different artistic philosophy.
"I started thinking—when was the last time I really had fun creating art?"
The answer seems simple, in retrospect.
"It was when I was that child at my grandparents' house," he explained. "I started thinking, what if I took the skills I have now and started recreating some of those things that kid made? That's all I'm doing."
Many of his artistic admirers read into his work to give it some sort of meaning, but Brandon insists he's just doing what that kid would have done. Much of his work features child-like imagery: crazy cats, dolls, robots, and dogs.
Brandon doesn't want to be known for just one thing—not a singular style and not for one series of works. He likes to decorate his imagination much like he would his house, by filling it with things he likes. He says he likes to make different things when he wants to make them.
Wine & Welding
Brandon has a background in teaching, and actually developed this class in Birmingham a while ago, and it was a huge hit with participants.
"It's really fun and really empowering," Brandon explained. "There's great fellowship. I enjoy seeing people in the community come together through art. Plus, you get to try equipment you see in movies."
"I really like the idea of people getting together and learning some of this art form in a very casual way, rather than a super strict environment," he said. "I mean, there's some structure to it, of course, but you get to leave with a fun, completed project."
Brandon will be hosting Wine & Welding in his studio in the near future. Registration will be located on Kentuck's website. He says he'd also be open to teaching a Whiskey & Welding, if that's more your style.
Brandon accepts commissions. He has a background in custom furniture design, handrails, and large-scale sculptures. Visit this link to contact him about your latest idea!