Brendon currently works mostly in ink on paper, and he aims for perfection. “No colouring outside the lines,” he laughs. For him, it is about perfecting technique and execution, doing something unusual and different without focusing solely on the conceptual. He has a unique and recognisable style and creates intricate, engaging artworks that challenge categorisation.
The process is delicate and controlled to the point of being clinical. It is also obsessive, verging on the compulsive: 12-hour non-stop drawing sessions are not unusual, with fingers losing sensitivity at times or hands cramping.
“My hand can’t touch the paper for fear of the ink bleeding. And sometimes I draw until my fingers bleed – literally.”
People often assume the work is produced using a computer, but Brendon isn’t tempted to use digital means of manipulating and repeating pattern. In fact, he doesn’t even aim to create something that looks digital, and he draws everything free-hand, without tracing, rulers or compasses.
“I don’t even think I’d be capable of forcing myself to trace,” he says. “It’s not that I don’t love some digital art, but for me there’s value in someone taking time over doing things by hand. If someone thinks it is done in Photoshop, it’s satisfying in a way, because it means it looks perfect. But I’d prefer people to know and appreciate that each piece is unique and created by hand.”
The materials used are the best available, and refining the choice of paper and ink is something Brendon still enjoys.
Brendon concentrates on natural, organic subjects, preferably drawn from life rather than photos, but using a fairly mechanical process that creates smooth shapes from straight lines. He uses a free-hand drawing as a starting point. Once he has figured out the overall structure, he starts to rely on instinct in building up a texture of repeated pattern: “I quickly feel whether it’s going to work out or not.”
It is a meditative, labour-intensive process that results in emotionally charged pieces.