I am Brandon. This is me. This is me saying what I need to say. This is me summarizing my life as an artist from my youth to my transition into adolescence and where I am right now. This is me. I am Brandon.
I used to fling fruit at my brother and roam around naked. I have pictures to prove it. I would use crayons on walls and draw hypnotic circles, paper seemed boring. Coloring inside of lines was too mundane.
In school, I was an outsider till college came. I had a hard time understanding the experience of others. And they never really understood mine. They played wrestler with each other, and mimiced what they saw on the telly. I would look at the rain, look at the trees, look at how they moved so fluid with the wind
My teacher called me ‘dreamer’. Because I was, am and will always be dreaming. They picked football and cricket. I fell into basketball. Though I found home. Home in the dance studio.
In an all-boys school in Bombay, dancing threatened the manhood of my peers. And my gleeful participation in this activity enforced my unwillingness to conform even more, which really wasn’t very good for making any friends.
I danced and made art and found common ground in tattooing myself with ink pens in between classes, or doodling till my pages overflowed with art. This made me acceptable to them. I would draw and tattoo them in school and eventually I became the ‘tattoo guy’.
It was better than being the ‘weird guy’.. To me, fighting when picked on was a huge waste of energy, because I almost always lost miserably. As a result, I ended up getting beat up a fair amount of the time. To avoid getting beaten up, I’d make boys laugh and use social skill and wit to calm them down, this was my way of keeping the peace, I've always been a peaceful guy.
My grades were never very good at all, possibly something to do with the mild ADHD and dyslexia I’ve been diagnosed with, but I think mostly because I like most children, really didn’t fucking like school or studying. I basically was always very distracted, fidgety and my thoughts were always scrambled.
College introduced me to a wonderful new world in which there were these magnificent creatures called ‘women’. I enjoyed this very much, and chose ‘commerce’ because that’s what my parents suggested. And in India, you do what your parents suggest. Because, apparently, they know. So, for two years of junior college, the boy with dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalcula told himself that this is what normal people do and you must try very hard to be normal. And so, I attended classes where teachers stared at you with terrifying eyes because if you didn’t understand accounting and math, you are a very bad person. I was immersed in classes for accounting, book keeping and math in cold rooms, where the air conditioner was at dangerously low temperatures and the students were discouragingly faster, better and more certain of ‘why’ they were there. Why was I here?
So I continued to struggle, to live a life that was not my own and by some miracle after a two years down under, I was finally done. I was done with junior college and made a silent promise never to do what everyone else was doing again.
Senior college could most effectively be described as a revelation of drugs, freethinkers, music, art, cinema, drugs and most importantly, lots of drugs. I picked a vague three-year course called bachelors of mass media or as the kids call it, BMM. This decision was made after careful thought about what the ‘coolest’ kids were doing, and where the least amount of math, studying, work and restriction laid. In a nutshell, I wanted a three-year break from capitalist grooming and learning boring ways to make money.
I wanted to watch lots of sunsets, draw, paint, drink, smoke, not attend college and this is exactly what I did. I found ‘cool’ in that freedom.
My department head was a magnificent penguin shaped woman with strong sharp features, and very ethnic energy about her. She had a strong elegance and authority about her. She exuded liberalism, had the vibe of a hippie from the 60’s and she had figured out the importance of money and discipline. And so she was doing her best to steer all us little junkies with potential in the right direction. She was very aware of my complete disregard for the attendance rules and regulations and threatened to fail me more than once. She even told me to leave the course, as I was gaining nothing from it, and making a nuisance of myself. She loved the students, whose assignments were submitted on time and always had top grades and good attendance, but I think she loved me a little more, even though she never ever showed it. She saw the artist in me. She and I knew it, somewhere deep down, people like me were the reason, people like her ended up spending their best years in colleges like St. Andrews. We gave the color to the world. No matter how bad my grades were and how inconsistent or nonexistent my attendance may have been, I could show up 20 minutes late to a creative writing lecture after smoking a pipe of hash with red watering eyes, take a seat on the first bench right under her very intimidating nose and hold a conversation about Joseph Conrads heart of darkness and then smoothly transition to beat generation literature and then to Hunter S Thompson and back to Ginsberg and Burroughs and express my love for the immensely dense work of Charles Bukowski and my passion for dirty realism and opium induced poetry. And in that very intoxicated scary moment, I felt special. And in that moment all the scholars who were the perfect students became irrelevant to us and that’s when we made a connection. That got me through. I never should I cleared year 1 let alone all three.
My Christmas vacation lasted for 6 years, and drugs that made life more colourful and made music and art more vivid became a crutch. We were spending all our time shooting ‘chillums’ and living fast. Experimenting with anything we could get out hands on. Riding bikes loaded and the only reason I’m still here is Gods will. The way we were living we should have died years ago, and many of us did. Some are fortunate to still be alive but are dead inside, drifting from one day to the next, getting high to drown out the fact that we're all unemployed or getting paid shit, giving up on our dreams and settling for what the world says we deserve.
Quite recently the universe reached out to me and told me not to settle. She told me to stop settling for a whiff of the cake from across the bakery and not to settle for crumbs and little bits of icing either, but to taste the whole cake. Now the only thing that matters is my work. My art is influenced heavily by psychedelic culture which I am a family member of and love dearly. I work with vivid colors, charcoals, oils, acrylics, pens and a variety of mediums ranging from wood to steel, glass, skin and of course canvas and paper. I am also a passionate writer and film maker, I write scripts screenplays and stories and poetry, I am an occasional actor and a hopeful musician.
My name is Brandon Ferreira but my friends call me bajeli, junky Pandey, and all sorts of other nonsense, but I prefer Brandon.