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Incubus lead singer Brandon Boyd is a painter, too

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 27 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

Brandon Boyd of Incubus has his art hanging in the Stanfield Gallery during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

PARK CITY — There's more than meets the ear at the Sundance ASCAP Music Cafe.

Not only do fans get to hear and see artists such as LeAnn Rimes, the Fray or Richard Marx, they get to take in the visual art displayed around the hall.

Sure, the cafe is set in the Stanfield Gallery on Park City's Main Street, but some of the art that will hang throughout the duration of the Sundance ASCAP Music Cafe has a connection with music.

Take for instance the two major pieces displayed on the wall behind the mixing board. These works, "Ectoplasm" and "The Plunge," were painted by Incubus lead singer/founder Brandon Boyd.

Other works of art displayed were created by Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh, Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz and Gym Class Heroes' Travis McCoy. Also included in the gallery are works from pop artist icons Steve Kaufman and Peter Max.

While Boyd wasn't on hand to play at the ASCAP Music Cafe this year, he talked with the Deseret News about his visual art.

"I have been, for all intents and purposes, (doing art) ever since I can remember," Boyd said. "My parents tell me when I was a wee lad I used to carry a pad of paper in my back pocket and a bevy of colored pencils in my other pocket and just sort of scribbled around."

"I was sort of the quiet kid," he said. "So I expressed myself visually."

Boyd said he always wanted to be an artist "in whatever form that took."

His mother was a "very talented painter," he said. "She would have my brothers and me doing exercises from a book called 'Drawing From the Right Side of Your Brain' (by Betty Edwards). She applied a lot of techniques, keeping my brothers and me busy when we were out to dinner or waiting somewhere.

"We didn't have video games," he said. "So it was, 'Here, do this scribble game.' "

Boyd absorbed art as a teen and found stimulation in the '60s and '70s psychedelic rock-band poster art by Stanley Mouse and Rick Griffin.

"(They) turned me on to Art Nouveau, because some of them were emulating that style," Boyd said.

The works of Gustav Klimt had an impact on Boyd's drawings, as did the post-Nouveau and more Gothic works of Aubrey Beardsley.

"He still impacts me today," he said.

Most music fans know Boyd through his work with Incubus, and while Boyd has always said music found him, he feels creating music and visual art is born of the same emotion.

"The parallels would seem a little nebulous in that there isn't a lot of intension as far as an end result," he said. "When I write a song, I usually start by holding a guitar in my hand and finding a beautiful chord."

"The song just sort of grows around it, and in a matter of hours there is a song or a song structure."

"The same thing happens most of the time with art," he said. "It's not born out of some massive concept. Usually there's a blank canvas or blank piece of paper staring at me where stuff starts to just sort of appear."

Boyd said he doesn't know what he's doing until he steps back from a painting when it's finished.

"And years after the fact, whether it's a song or a painting, it continues to reveal itself to me," he said.

"I talk to people who like it or don't like it, and the process is still continuing based on their interpretation of it and the way they react to it. I have the wonderful opportunity to see how they react to music or art."

"I am lucky to have gotten to a place in music where I don't have to worry about how I'm going to pay my mortgage and feed myself," he said.

"I don't have to write a song that will pay the mortgage or paint a picture that will pay the mortgage. I can get lost in the wandering. That's what I've always felt art was about — the discovery of it."

e-mail: scott@desnews.com

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