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Brandon D. Drake
Oil on panel
20 x 23 1/2 inches
Brandon D. Drake
Rehs Contemporary Galleries, Inc., New York City
Traveling to hell and back, that's not something one takes lightly. Especially John Constantine; a man who knows what's waiting for him. Damned to the Inferno, we quickly learn he isn't fond of the idea, but who would be. Having spent his whole adult life trying to buy his way into Heaven, he still hasn't grasped the fact that God's gift to man is just that: a gift. Fighting demons and protecting innocent people from evil they know not exists, John thinks he is doing the world some good and earning his place up above, but it is all in vain. Finally pushed to his breaking point by confrontations with the supernatural he realizes all he has ever done is look out for himself. In this moment of self revelation Constantine makes the ultimate sacrifice in return for the salvation of Isabelle, the late sister of the only real friend he has left. John travels to hell to personally offer himself to Satan so that Isabelle may go to Heaven. What neither John nor the devil realize is now that John truly believes in God and understands what selflessness is, the Father gives him another chance at life. Maybe this time he will truly do some good with his life.
Brandon can't think of a time in his childhood when he wasn't drawing on some scrap of paper; art has always been a part of his life. His father, a retired illustrator/graphic designer for AT&T and Bell Laboratories, encouraged him to be creative by constantly drawing as well as learning how to utilize computer programs to design. Brandon's grandmother, who was also artistic, had been a student at the duCret School of Art, the oldest art school in New Jersey. Any time he visited, she had paper, pencils, and crayons at his disposal. After graduating high school in 2008, it was no surprise that he enrolled at duCret.
While at duCret Brandon initially wanted to study illustration and follow in his father's footsteps. He enrolled in various classes ranging from traditional sculpture and drawing to graphic and web design. Midway through his freshman year his interests began to shift towards fine art. By his second year he knew that he wanted to focus strictly on traditional academic drawing and painting. With the guidance of instructors, Monica Baumann and Michael Ruple, Brandon began to develop his skills in draftsmanship on canvas. Studying predominantly from live models and still life arrangements, he also began to utilize his own photography. It was at this time that he was introduced to artist and instructor Timothy W. Jahn, founder of Jahn Studios.
The summer of 2009 marked a new the beginning for Brandon when he enrolled and started his studies at Jahn Studios alongside a select group of other talented apprentices. Under Tim's direction, students began the Language of Drawing program developed by Jahn's teacher, Anthony J. Waichulis, the founder of The Waichulis Studio located in Pennsylvania. As Brandon's skills grew, new opportunities at Jahn studios presented themselves, including exhibitions held in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Arizona.
The first of the Ani schools opened when The Waichulis Studio became the Ani Art Academies Waichulis in 2010, with the interest and support of one of Jahn's students, Tim Reynolds. Mr. Reynolds' objective is to provide education and facilitate the growth of international creative connections. Being the first graduate of Ani Waichulis in 2011, Tim Jahn became the first instructor at an international Ani Art Academy funded by the Tim Reynolds Foundation.
Anthony accepted Brandon as a long distance apprentice in January 2012 to finish the program at Ani Waichulis. After graduating duCret in the spring of that year, he promptly moved to Pennsylvania to complete his training as a full time apprentice. Completely immersed in the program, he is also passing along the knowledge to private students he teaches in New Jersey. Among them are the Reynolds' two elder children. Drake says, "I have been given such great opportunities and I would love to seize every one that I can. My ambition is to become a successful painter and teacher as my mentors have been for me. Teaching at an international Ani Academy would be an amazing experience that I hope to make a reality."
Brandon has also stated, "I hope to push my technical capabilities and create the most believable images I can." He is truly coming into his own as he continues to create unique concepts behind each of his works. With a fond interest for religious and mythological themes he is diligently working to achieve a believable representation of something that is rarely, if ever truly seen. "My interest in garnering knowledge, passing it on, and becoming a noted Representational painter will never cease. I know this is what I have been put here to do, and will continue to until God decides otherwise." -Brandon Drake