“You gotta love yourself,” is the motto for Chicago-based artist Brandon Carlton (Ugly Brandon). Loving himself is his first step in loving others; this mindset has taken him to where he is now. The authenticity of Carlton’s work lay in the representation of who he was at age 6 and the man he is today; it is at the very least a direct reflection of his experiences and growth.

Born in Baltimore, Carlton spent much of his childhood going to work with his mother and painting homes on her construction sites; unknowingly setting him up with many of the materials he would use later in his art.

Today he experiments with his process more than his material (Carlton will paint on anything so long as it fits in his kitchen). His constant need for progression is due to his unapologetic mentality that allows him to draw inspiration from literally everything.

More than a form of expression- art is a mode of survival for Carlton. In his reality “I want to lead a life of my own”.