Q&A: Brandon Kaes

John Ross, Columbus Alive

Brandon Kaes made his way to Columbus in stages - Los Angeles to Dallas to Springfield to Downtown. Now residing at the Skylab live-work space, the abstract artist who once honed his craft through graffiti has been hanging work in more traditional places. His paintings are currently on display at Cafe Brioso. He will show at High Road Gallery in October and at Image Optical in December.

He shared about art that keeps minds wandering.

Growing up in Los Angeles, you see graffiti everywhere. To me, it was a self-promotion thing. It was in eighth grade that I started, 1998. As cheesy as it sounds, it was always there. It was always an option.

I've always gone back and forthtopainting on canvases. With graffiti, I was just getting older, and getting caught a few times got old. I have a son who's five, so I'm trying to think about him, too. It's like another whole world. It's another whole scene. I needed to change it up, do it the right way.

What's different between the graffitisceneand this arts scene is that people are accepting and helpful. Anyone who is up-coming, they'll do whatever they can to help you. In the graffiti scene, people will try to knock you off and blow you off.

Living at Skylab is cool. It has a history. It's really cool to know that talent around the U.S. and sometimes around the world has a destination, and that destination is right upstairs from where I sleep. It's cool to somewhat be a part of that whole movement.

I'm part of the Abstract Expressionism collective. Abx is a unique group just trying to keep the abstract scene alive. We kind of think outside the box, keep it interesting, keep your mind wandering. I got into it like a month or two ago, but I've been a part of two or three shows already with them.

With my art, I try to go with something pleasing to the eye. Just colors that complement each other, I guess. I like different feels - the pattern and the texture in the back. One thing I like too, though, is simplicity. Something silly and simple. Something that makes you laugh.

I don't ever want my stuff to look like I'm trying to be realistic with it. I always want it to be outside of your thought process when you look at it, like it's not normal or it's not the way it should be. It makes your brain work in a different way.

Brandon Kaes

Age: 28

Day job: Cook, Northstar Cafe

Neighborhood: Downtown

Hometown: Los Angeles

Web: etsy.com/people/brandonkaesart