Skip to main content

Holladay Journal

Artist of the Month Branden Sylvester enjoys the surprise of the creative process

Nov 01, 2022 07:59PM ● By Collette Hayes

By Collette Hayes | [email protected]

Contemporary abstract artist Branden Sylvester’s work does not attempt to depict external reality accurately. It is up to the observer to bring emotion and imagination to a piece of his abstract art and to contemplate how colors, shapes and textures interact with each other to reveal the meaning.

“My main goal is to create colors and patterns that hopefully don’t resemble anything,” said Sylvester, Holladay’s artist of the month. “I leave it up to the observer to interpret what is happening in the painting. I will repaint a work several times until I’m confident the interpretation of the piece will be left entirely to the viewer.”

Famous German abstract artist Gerhard Richter is Sylvester’s inspiration for the art he produces.  Like Richter, Sylvester is highly innovative in the approach he takes when applying paint to canvas and does not adhere to hard and fast rules when it comes to his creative work. Using a blade, he will drag and scrape paint across the canvas to create color patterns that are unique. Drip painting with paint thinner is another technique Sylvester uses to create dynamic effects.

“When I paint with oil I use a blade a lot,” Sylvester said. “I mix the oil paint right on the blade and then sweep it across the canvas. I enjoy the surprise of the creative process. Sometimes I will come back days later and scrape a painting and try something new. Scraping leaves a residue and provides an interesting background to work with.”

According to Sylvester, framing a painting can have its drawbacks. Sylvester does not frame his art because he feels it distracts from the painting. Usually, he will paint the sides of the canvas to give his art pieces a finished contemporary feel.

“I don’t believe in framing my paintings,” Sylvester said. “If I framed my art, it possibly could make a person pay more attention to the frame than the painting. I try to paint an interesting edging on my paintings to make the edge part of the completed work.”

Sylvester’s day usually begins early. At 3 a.m. he makes his way down to his basement to begin painting. He chooses a color scheme he would like to incorporate into a painting and then selects his medium of choice either oil or acrylic. He paints until 7 a.m. and then begins to prepare for the day ahead as a computer programmer. Sylvester has been a programmer using full stack technology since landing his first professional job right out of high school.

“I enjoy being a programmer,” Sylvester said. “It allows me to mix logic with creativity and although I enjoy the technical creative process, I receive most personal satisfaction when painting.”

Sylvester’s artwork will be on display through November at Holladay City Hall.

If you would like more information about Sylvester’s paintings, he can be contacted at [email protected]  or visit Instagram @abstractsbybranden

If you would like to nominate a Holladay resident for Artist of the Month visit