Monday, October 15, 2007

my oldest friend

Brandon was my oldest friend and my first love. I've moved around so much that I've lost touch with most people. Brandon and I would correspond sporadically, and we'd lost touch over the last year. Today I found out why he hasn't returned my messages. I'm so very very sad.

Friday, December 1, 2006

A letter for Brandon

December 1, 2006

It has been a couple of weeks now since the death of my good friend, Brandon. Despite the memorial art showing, all of the talking, all of the crying, and all of the unanswered questions, the unthinkable still has not really sunk in. It still seems like I can just pick up the phone and hear the inevitable answer, ‘Heellllooooo, Jimmothy!’ I guess, for that reason, I am impartial about what the journey of life has to offer.

You see, there was a time when Brandon and I spent just about every day together. We were a team, in many different ways, but it started with a job as a couple of sign-making monkeys at a little shop on the edge of Englewood… Of course, if I was to have to come to an empty workplace everyday now – without Brandon showing up, it would hit me like a ton of bricks (with enough weight to keep me buried, I suppose).

The journey of life is wonderful, but unfair in many respects. One seems to go through life and form some great relationships along the way. For reasons beyond control, life will then take you away from those people. This does not happen instantaneously or in an ill fashion, that’s just life.

I have learned that friends come and friends go. I have also learned that there are some people that you meet in this journey that just stick with you. No matter how much time passes between words, they help mold you into what you are at this very moment, and they are always kept close to the heart. To me Brandon Borchert was one of those friends.

In the summer of 2001 I found myself driving south down Broadway to a new job in Englewood. That morning I arrived before my new supervisor, some guy named Brandon, and waited for him by the front door of the shop. Some time later this fellow rode right up the door on a yellow mountain bike – helmet, backpack, and his right pat-leg bound to his leg with a rubber band.

For the next year or so we spent every working day together as a team at that sign shop. And yes, we made signs. We dealt with our customers, we plotted out cuts, and we weeded and taped to our hearts desire. That is what we were paid for. What really happened there was much more important, though… we bonded and grew tremendously as artists with that time. When the work was done we spent our time planning our lives in sketchbooks.

Brandon was a studio artist, in the truest form. What amazed me about Brandon’s art, besides his unmistakable talent, was his drive and passion. Brandon was my elder. At the time he had the mortgage, he had the full-time girlfriend. Brandon worked full-time at the sign shop, part-time at the beer shop, and navigated the span of the city on his damned bicycle. On top of all of this, he paid monthly for separate studio space and he was producing art.

I was a student of art. I was a graphic artist. I was an animator. I was a graffiti writer. I was barely 21 and I was far from a relationship, and I was still living with my parents. On many levels of life and many levels of art, Brandon and I were worlds apart. Brandon and I took those differences and fed off of each other – and it was in incredible learning experience for both of us. What a phenomenal time…

I witnessed the inception of Brandon’s Lottery System. I sat there and doodled as Brandon wrote and added to his lottery list in his little black sketchbook – the same book in witch you could find many of his planning sketches for his bigger paintings and prints. I showed Brandon some of the finer points of Photoshop and Illustrator – which he used to streamline his print screening process – yet we found ourselves seeing who could make the best piece in MS Paint everyday.

My favorite art memories with Brandon, however, are based in a sketchbook that is still floating around somewhere today. See, Brandon and I approached art differently, but I believe that we meshed so well because we shared a lot of the same beliefs, shared a similar twisted humor, and were probably equally perverse. On one of our many trips to the big art supply store up Broadway, Brandon purchased a tablet of bristol board and a set of Micron pens in varying sizes and colors. That would be our book.

I would start a drawing. I would hand the book to Brandon and he would continue or add to the drawing. There were times when we did this all day long (sorry Donna). The end results were always the craziest, funniest, most abstract pen drawings meshing two distinct styles reaching for one common goal… memorable art.

Brandon was going to be famous. I always believed that. Me, I’m a commercial artist. I love art, and I love the art that I do, but I approach art itself differently. Brandon did art for the sake of doing art. He put all of himself, his views and his beliefs into his work. He put it out there for everyone to see and said ‘accept it or not, I will continue to create.’ For that I admired him.

Of course, art played a huge role in Brandon’s life. And I, being an artist myself, feel compelled to speak about Brandon the artist, as I have done. However, I have to speak on Brandon as a person aside from the artist. On top of the work and the art, my time spent with Brandon was also filled with long, interesting, and sometimes deep conversations. We knew each other pretty damned well, Brandon and me.

Brandon was an extremely strong person, which is why his death was such an outrageous shock – and why it makes me so fucking mad. Brandon loved to learn and he loved to teach. He would exploit every opportunity he could to help anyone, and he would explain everything he was doing along the way.

Brandon made beer. The first time I visited his home he proudly showed me the beer taps he had run from the basement, where he concocted his spirits, to the wall of his kitchen. He introduced me to his exotic beers, including my favorite pumpkin beer (which he made around Halloween one year, of course). He even shared a ticket to the Great American Beer Fest with me. What a wonderful drunken time that was…

I realize this writing is sporadic and may not make much sense to some people. It is impossible for me to put in writing all of the wonderful memories I share of and with Brandon. Some things must be left for conversations over a cold beer…

Heh… life’s journey. At the end of 2006 I am the one with mortgage. I married another one of those special-type of friends that life gives you. I have two sons. I make a living making art. Life is great! Life is busy… though, the loss of my friend has left me confused and all but speechless until now. I have been told that I should not dwell, but I have to put this out there, if only to help me cope…

I deeply regret not getting the chance to introduce Brandon to my new family. I regret missing out on the creation of Brandon’s new work. I regret not getting to share my new work with Brandon. I regret not being there fro Brandon when he needed someone to listen. Most of all, I regret putting off that phone call… I am sorry, Brandon.

I will do what I can to keep your memory and your art alive. I love you, old friend, and I will miss you dearly.

Jim Stigall
Artist & Illustrator
Westminster, CO

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I just wanted to say that Brandon or brenda as I called him, was an absolute blast to work with. That was one of the best jobs I had but it wouldn't have been that way if brandon wasn't the guy he was. We would talk about anything from relationship issues to music etc. When we got laid off from there we still would call eachother every once in awhile to catch up on stuff. I am going to miss that. I already miss the chinese food take out from jasmin, Brandon Ivvanee and I would order for lunch. I would always tell him the issues I had with friends and he thought of it as a soap opera lol. He called us the mall monkeys it was great. He was a great person and a good friend I will miss him dearly.
ps this is one of my favorite and most memorable conversations with him.

Me " what do you think happens after you die"?
Brandon " Do you remember what it was like before you were born"?
Me "no"
Brandon " Thats what it will be like".
lol RIP buddy ill always remember you I have the art cards and stuff you gave me and will keep it forever.
Albert aka alberta to brandon.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Passwords for posting, and improvements coming

Hi everyone.

First, I'd like to thank all of you that came to Brandon's memorial at Capsule Event Center last night. It was a special evening, and his family was touched and grateful.

Brandi Shigley will be moving the blog to a better set-up -- one that is more like an open forum and less like a personal blog -- when she returns from an out-of-town trip next week.

Meanwhile, if you want to post -- click on SIGN IN at the top right corner. The email/user id is and the password is "sockmonkey."


Friday, November 17, 2006

Brandon Borcharachi....

although i didn't know brandon very well, i've had the pleasure to hang out with him the past 2 weekends at Pod for the art shows. i called him brandon borcharachi and he gave me the new nick name of "shiggadoo".

his warm and gentle spirit makes anybody feel at ease. this past first friday, brandon was dressed so dapper that i grabbed him by the arm and said, "come on, let's go have a photoshoot!" he was a little shy at first but he let me just shoot away and then he took some fun pictures of me in front of his artwork. it was such a fun moment. brandon's the kind of person that even if you meet him for the first time, you feel like you've been friends forever. he has such a kindrid spirit.

i feel blessed to have had the opportunity to hang out with him. he is an amazing person and will be missed and thought about often.

-Brandi Shigley

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Brandon's Blog is Born

Hi, everyone. I'll be giving the blog passwords out to Brandon's closest friends and family, so they can share stories, thoughts and memories. Please feel free to post comments and your own stories and memories of our late, great pop art favorite. We will miss him. - Dana is now up, with photos, art gallery and more.