Brand was dedicated to abstract painting for a long stretch of time. From around 2004-2016 Brand had taken a departure from representational narrative paintings and started creating abstract paintings that were inspired by his newfound Zen Buddhist practice that he discovered in Baltimore Maryland during a period of deep depression and existential angst.
Hence the title of the series, “Delusions.” Prior to his move to abstract paintings, he had discovered and worked out a highly original way of working by creating representational narratives using photos taken of jazz artists from the 1940s through the 1960s. But his love of nonrepresentational jazz music along with a deep longing and searching for a better understanding of life drove him to start painting abstractly.
In the beginning, Brand created what he said to be “horrific, derivative” paintings. But with time, occasionally, what he considered “good paintings” began to surface. He likened his painting practice to his meditation practice in that once one reaches samadhi in meditation, all that person wants to do is replicate what they were doing or the mental state they were in at the time to quickly get back into samadhi. The same was true with painting. Occasionally Brand would “disappear” into the painting in a state of samadhi and the painting would seemingly finish itself. These paintings always seemed to be his best work so naturally, he wanted to replicate what he was doing and what mind state he was in while entering the samadhi experience. But he quickly discovered that this is, in fact, impossible. The realization was extremely important to his growth as an artist and led him to further creative discoveries later in his career.
As he states, “We never know what piece of crap will turn to gold and make us into who we are today. Be open and trust the process no matter how frustrating it can seem. We are all on a karmic path together that could not be otherwise”.
Brand still paints abstract paintings as he always has, but they are becoming calmer, wiser, and more mature. He considers this abstract painting practice very important to his growth as a human being and engages in it more so for this reason than a reason to create something compelling and aesthetically beautiful.