Dec 5 2008 10:57am

Brandon Bird: Geek. Artist. Pop Culture Genius.

Don’t know if anyone else out there grew up watching Children of the Corn an unhealthy number of times like I did—it’s not that it’s a good movie, but something about the creepy, children-chanting soundtrack gets me every time. Also, a part of me might have wanted to believe that the Midwest really was filled with devil-corn and parricidal zealot children; I now know that this isn't necessarily the case, but until relatively recently my mental map of the U.S. used to read “East Coast/Children of the Cornlandia/West Coast (plus Texas down at the bottom).”

Anyway, let’s pretend we’ve all seen the stupid movie—remember how the crazy little blond girl had prophetic powers, which meant that she could scribble out crayon drawings of all the F-ed up shit that was about to go down? And when Linda Hamilton and the low-rent version of Kevin Bacon playing the male lead find her drawings, they’re like, “Holy Crap! The devil lives in the corn and we’re about to get totally crucified, oh no!”? Well, I recently had a similar reaction to an artist’s body of work, and that artist is Brandon Bird: Übergenius. Mystical, magical madman...saint?

To be fair, my revelation was less devil- and crucifixion-related, and more of a “Killing Me Softly”-esque, “Get-out-of-my-head!”-style freakout. Here’s how it happened: for reasons that really aren’t important here, I was Googling pictures of Bea Arthur one day in the office when when I stumbled upon the glorious image of Bea putting a nasty headlock on a velociraptor. Bird has entitled the painting “Killing Machine.” When I saw it, I wanted to laugh. I wanted to cry. I wanted to lick the screen. But I was at work, so instead I spent the rest of the day poring over Bird’s website and furiously fighting the urge to dementedly shriek his praises at everyone who passed by my desk.

Because, quite frankly, it’s really not an exaggeration to say that Brandon Bird has managed to capture the soul of everything fun about pop culture in paint and canvas. He has grasped the hard, gemlike flame of awesomeness, polished it up, and put it up for sale on the Internet. And I love it.

If I owned my apartment, I’d hire Brandon Bird to do a mural on every available square inch of space, and I guarantee you that its brilliance would make the Sistine Chapel look like the deranged scribblings of a colorblind mutant toddler. And it wouldn’t matter what the subject might be, because ALL of Bird’s subjects are inherently awesome: Magneto with baby ducks. Christopher Walken with Robot Hand. The Tragic Demise of Jennifer Sisko. L. Ron Hubbard. The Last Supper featuring James Woods and RoboCop…each one more brilliant than the last. My god, think of the possibilities: Lynn Belvedere and Mrs. Garrett Discover the Wonders of S&M...Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly Catfight in Heaven...Robert Goulet: Cannibal King. Maybe even a stunningly-rendered MacGyver verus Buffy cagematch, who knows?

Bird no longer accepts personal commissions, apparently, but since he can clearly decipher the deepest reaches of my soul I’m going to start channeling him images and see what shakes loose, artistically-speaking.

There will be updates.

In the meantime, I realize that Bird is probably pretty well-known, especially amongst the Internet-savvy, but if you’re not yet familiar with his work, for the love of god, ACQUAINT YOURSELF (and since it’s the holiday season, don’t miss the Mister T Christmas Cards...excuse me, “T-Mas cards.” They're pretty great.)

Jason Henninger
1. jasonhenninger
Ah, damn! I've been trying for the last couple weeks to get an interview with him for this very website. You've beat me to it. Well, no matter. Great post. I'm glad that he's getting the credit he deserves!
Bridget McGovern
2. BMcGovern
@ jasonhenninger

Oh man, Jason, I'm so sorry--I just randomly felt the need to rant about this yesterday, so I did. An interview would be amazing, though (and way, way more informative than saying, "This guy is awesome. Go look!") Please keep hassling him for one! I'm sure I'm not the only one dying to know what goes on in Brandon Bird's warped, magical brain...
Jason Henninger
3. jasonhenninger

I think maybe I'll try him again after the holidays. He really is a supergenius times seven, so I guess more than one post about him would be permissible, eh?
Bridget McGovern
4. BMcGovern
@ jasonhenninger

Do it! Absolutely. There cannot be enough Brandon Bird :) Meanwhile, I'll continue my quest to get someone to buy me a print of the James Woods/RoboCop Last Supper for Christmas...I know my apartment is probably too strange already,'s really the most entertaining painting ever. It will be mine.
nat ward
5. smonkey
Ahhh... how I miss my youth. Growing up in a small town in iowa. Luring people into cornfields to watch them flayed alive by dear uncle nick.

Good times.

And yes, even children of the corn like these paintings.
Eric Braddock
6. EricBraddock
No one wants to play sega with Harrison Ford is probably one of the greatest paintings I've ever seen. I came across his work about a year ago, he sure has some brilliant ones in there, hands down. :)
7. rogerothornhill
"I was Googling pictures of Bea Arthur one day" . . . to slightly paraphrase what was probably Sean Connery's best ad lib (on at least two occasions) . . . but of course you were.

For me, it would be the Sisko tragedy that caught me--there can never be enough DS9 fans--but I do grasp your point.

Glad you've found the artist of Your time.
Sumana Harihareswara
8. brainwane
He's fantastic. I have a print of The Death of Jennifer Sisko in my home, as a gift to my husband, and it holds a place of honor.

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