Many Atlantans are familiar with Brandon Sadler’s work, though they may not know it. He’s done collaborative and solo shows and at galleries like ABV and won last year’s Pabst Art Mural Atlanta Battle, but his most visible work is likely this larger-than-life Japanese-style fish mural splashed on a wall along Auburn Avenue. Thanks to the snap decision to include his contact info on the piece, he was approached by Atlanta PR firm Write2Market to collaborate on an interior mural entitled “The Spirit of Leadership” inside their new Studioplex office.
The night of the mural unveiling brought a crowd of high-profile media, bigwigs from corporations the likes of Coca-Cola and councilmember Kwanza Hall.
CommonCreativ sat down with Sadler to talk about his favorite creative Atlantans, how the mural represents leadership and what inspires him.
CommonCreativ: How did you connect with Write2Market for this project?
Brandon Sadler: They saw the mural on Auburn Avenue. It has my info and name on it, so they contacted me. That was probably one of the smartest things I’ve done.
CC: How long did it take to paint this mural?
BS: Lisa [Calhoun, Write2Market CEO] sent me expectations and bits of inspiration. From there, I did the sketching and review process. It took about four weeks or so, from developing the idea to its fruition.
CC: How does this represent the spirit of leadership?
BS: I worked with the image of a divine creature. They provided me with a spread of historical leaders, like Gandhi, Martin Luther King and the like. They have a historical legacy based on what they did. [The mural] had to appeal to all demographics, all walks of life and both genders. Given the space, the image I immediately adopted was the phoenix. He comes from the ashes, so that’s already reflective of these feelings of history and antiquity.
CC: How did you mesh your aesthetic with the guidelines given?
BS: As you progress through the mural, it becomes more contemporary. It’s traditional in terms of Japanese imagery, but I incorporated my own form of text, which reflects of my graffiti influences. There’s a directness of the gaze and posture of the bird – it has intent. It’s focused and directed where it’s going, but yet there’s stillness. There’s no anxiousness. It’s almost predetermined. That’s a powerful thing when you come into a room.
CC: What do you love about painting murals?
BS: Being able to articulate a concept and transform a space. It could easily be a flat-colored wall. But instead you have a conversation piece. It breaks the ice.
CC: What inspires you?
BS: People and my community. My work is central to man’s trials with himself and with nature. The human condition inspires me.
CC: Who are some of your favorite creative Atlantans?
BS: Andre 3000, Michi Meko, people like that. I was supposed to meet Evereman so long ago, like when Myspace was cool, and it never happened. So now, I’m about to be doing some things that involve woodworking and furniture, so I need to talk to him.
CC: What’s the next project you have planned?
BS: When some or all of the grants I’ve applied for manifest, I’ll be able to directly engage my community. We have little pockets around town – East Atlanta Strut is really cool, art walks are cool, the chili cook-off is dope. But I really want to see people go back to being close to each other. I value community. Aside from that, my exhibitions are always on the forefront. Plus my brand, Rising Red Lotus. So it’s community, showing my work and Red Lotus. All day.