We had the good fortune of connecting with Brandan Styles and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brandan, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My business know as “Mad Tatters” is the merging of two minds. That of my wife Ellie Rusinova and myself, to form a greater and more cohesive whole that allows for bigger projects to come to life. When we met in 2008, we both shared a dream and vision of not only creating art, but finding a way to make a living from it. We are both very entrepreneurial, driven and independent, as a point to make our dreams a reality. After each having worked many various jobs, we always felt that our time would be much better served (and more enjoyable) by making our own way through our own business. From there, we put into motion plans to make that a reality.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The art of the Mad Tatters has always been about alchemy. The transformation of basic beginning material, and through many processes of refining, the achievement of something greater. We have always sought to reveal the depths of this mad circus world and in some way to be a candle in all of that. I think what sets us apart from others is our absolute tenacity to overcome the struggles and obstacles we have faced to achieve things in life. The road to being an artist and art business owner has been very challenging with many pitfalls and traps. The nature of our work is challenging, it challenges what we think and what the viewer thinks. It’s juxtaposing themes of dark and light, of spiritual and heretical. For years our work was misunderstood and not well received. It’s not always nice nor simple, but it is always Soulful. As artists who have made most of our living by doing art festivals around the country for over 10 years. Bringing the kind of work we make to a very traditional and conventional realm such as art festivals were when we started, we had a rough time of it. Trying to get people to understand the work, ask questions and not be turned off, along with trying to get people to support it monetarily was often times discouraging. For us, we just kept pushing through. We went back to places where we could feel that some people “got” what we did and knew that with cultivation over the years we could win them over! Nowadays, culture shifts so fast, and a lot more people are on board with things/ ideas we have been doing years before it was cool. Resilience, Constant Vigilance and Fucking Persistence is what we want people to know about our story.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Mountain hikes, bike rides on the bike paths, beer at Trve, Mexican food at Guadalajara, music at Red Rocks, visits to the DAM, MOMA and 40West art galleries, because that’s where the good old Denver artists are at. Walks in City Park and the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Refuge, coffee at Hooked on Colfax, a tattoo from one of the many great shops around town and reefer from Good Chemistry. Also, a road trip down to the Sand Dunes and Durango. Sounds sublime, sounds like I need a vacation!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There have certainly been various kindred spirits along the way that have helped us grow our wings and encouraged us to fly. Thank you to everyone that has ever supported us in any way. Whether it be by helpful information, verbal encouragement, coming to an art show, or monetary support. Thank you to all!
Other: Brandan’s instagram@ bzurk_demon
all photos by Brandan Styles