AROUND THE BLOK. VOL. 10 - Brandon Sullivan
Brandon Sullivan is an advertising and editorial photographer that works out of and co-owns the iconic Legend City Studios in Downtown Phoenix. He's worked with major clients such as ESPN, WIRED, Grand Canyon University, Miller, PING and so many more. The photography industry is a competitive one; it's rare to find people so open and honest as Brandon. It's evident that he's found his purpose and his love for family, photography and community is inspiring. We're humbled to have him as our next artist.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m a family man, entrepreneur, artist, teacher, Michigander turned Phoenix lover, working to be the best version of myself every day. I have a psychology degree but my life’s work is photography. It’s my hobby, career, and most things in-between to me. I struggle to call myself an artist, but at the end of the day it’s what I am most. Lately I’ve been enjoying getting my hands dirty through wet plate photography, which helps it feel like more of an art form than the digital revolution has left it feeling. It’s nice to slow down and make a couple images an hour with some mildly unpredictable results.
Why do you do what you do?
What else would I do? I’d be lost without photography. It’s my life’s anchor. I love the craft and the people it brings into my life. From crew mates and inspiring subjects, to mentees looking for advice, I’m grateful for every relationship. Most of the closest people in my life are there because we’ve been brought together to create photographs. It’s a bit scary how closely my identity is tied to my work, as it can be extremely unhealthy at times. Validation is one of the strongest motivators of human behavior and, for better or worse, I am no exception.
What benefit does art provide to society?
I think it’s different for everyone and how far they are willing to go with the process or interaction with it. For some, it’s simply eye candy and for others it can create critical discourse challenging beliefs and ideals. Regardless of where people fall on that scale, I believe it has a positive impact on all of society.
What’s your advice to others chasing their dreams?
Action is the source of success. Great ideas and an unlimited knowledge base are nothing without action. Fear is an exciting indicator to know where you should take action. If something in your life plan scares the crap out of you, get at that thing first! Also surround yourself with people that, no shit-no kidding, hold you 100% accountable to pursuing your dreams. I am beyond fortunate to have a lot of people in my life that ride my ass to go for what I say I want to create, and know when I’m bullshitting them with excuses as to why it’s not happening. Surround yourself with those folks, accept feedback, and you’ll do well.
What is your biggest inspiration and why?
These days, my children are my biggest source of inspiration. Their undying persistence and the way they tackle things that they have no idea how to accomplish, often gives me pause. If I could go for what I want in my life the way my 6 year old goes for a toy she wants, I’d have the exact life that I dream of. I guess what it really boils down to is I’m most inspired when I experience people obsessively dedicated to their mission, whether an artist, successful entrepreneur, athlete, or my kids. I love experiencing people that have a clear vision and fully go for it with 100% commitment.
When you think of home, what comes to mind?
Without a doubt, being with my wife and three children in the safe space we’ve created to exit the madness of the outside world whenever we need. Home really is wherever they are. The open and honest dialogue, free of judgement, that I’m able to have with my wife, Sarah, and knowing she has my back 1000%, and that I can trust her to hold me up and believe in me, even when I don’t believe in myself, is more than I ever dreamed possible in a relationship. A close second is my tribe that I’ve found in Phoenix, fellow creatives, entrepreneurial mentors, and my personal development family. What I’ve found in Phoenix is an open community full of folks that want to see others succeed. I believe we find (create) whatever we're looking for. I choose to create love and abundance.