Incubus vocalist Brandon Boyd has established himself as a multi-platinum frontman. Having sold more than 13 million albums worldwide with the Southern California band. Now he is following another great musical tradition in pursuing his passion as a painter. Bob Dylan, Ron Wood, Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, John Mellencamp, Marilyn Manson, Kiss’ Paul Stanley and Ani DiFranco are just some of the musicians who have also found success in the visual arts.
For Brandon Boyd, the ascension to museum and gallery shows has been gradual. But one that has taken a heightened prominence in the last year as he showed at Miami’s Art Basel, as well as in Rome and Amsterdam. In early 2017, he will be doing a large solo show in Los Angeles at KM Fine Arts.
There’s no question he has become an in-demand artist. When we sat down for a recent lunch at L.A.’s Sunset Marquis hotel, Brandon Boyd was joined by his art manager, Jen DiSisto. Who said, “There is a constant build, and I do feel there’s a shift in people’s awareness about it.”
Though Boyd began showing his art work in 2007, it has been a methodical rise by design. “We waited until the work was ready to a certain degree and all of that. Garnering more and more momentum,” DiSisto said. “But it’s been very slow.”
“That’s the only way I know how to do things apparently. Slow burn, that’s been my mantra my whole life,” Boyd added, smiling.
For Boyd, who turned 40 this past February, coming into his own as an international artist at this stage of life has several advantages. “I have more confidence going in to some of these things, like if we actually do get the chance to show paintings in a different country or at an art fair alongside hundreds of other artists. Who all went to art school and are way better at it than I am,” he said. “That was one thing I took away from Basel. I was really inspired, but humbled at the same time. I saw people who obsess exclusively on their visual art, my obsessions get a little more spread around. “
Obviously, his other art is music, including currently writing a new Incubus album. Does he find other artists resent him for coming into the art world as a rock star? “I have no qualms about it, and it feels like an authentic expression for me. But I’m perhaps being judged a little bit more steeply than another artist because I am coming from a different world,” he said. “And the notion is that I’m just sort of taking the wind from a successful career somewhere else and trying to parlay it into something else. Which I’m not not doing. But, I am truly interested in being the best I know how to be at my craft and being as authentic as I know how to be.”
“I think what Brandon’s starting to see or what’s been happening is that people respect if you’re diligently, consistently working at something,” DiSisto added. “As he was saying with the gradual thing, people have turned around. ‘Oh wait, he’s been doing this for this long. This is a person we can take seriously.’ That part’s been really important to the growth of it.”
It’s also become a successful business: He has released three books of writings and art, as well as original works. Those listed on his website are priced up to almost $4,000 and are all marked as sold out. According to DiSisto, “We try to strike the perfect balance between remaining accessible to fans with reasonable price points and the fine art world.” As examples, she cited moleskin journals that sold for $50, while he has a growing list of collectors in the fine art world where his original works can sell for up to $20,000.
In terms of music and art fans the two worlds have already collided, and may do so onstage one day. “There’s definitely a lot of cross-pollination. And it’s been fun bringing Incubus listeners into art galleries and seeing them talk about art and analyze the work and wonder what it means,” he said. “A production idea that I’ve always wanted to indulge, even though it’s been done, is a live painting element.”
For now though, the gallery shows will be put on hold when the next Incubus album and tour are released. Which Brandon Boyd thinks will be this year. He will continue to work constantly on his artwork. “I bring stuff with me wherever we are cause I don’t like to just idle in hotel rooms when we’re on tour. Painting, for me, is highly relaxing,” he said. “So it’s what I do on days off , it’s what I do before sound check. Even if no one ever sees it I just do it because it’s something I love to do.”