[intro-text size=”25px”]Born and raised in the ‘burbs of Cleveland, Brandon Lee Wise has always been a Tasmanian devil of an artist.[/intro-text]
A whirlwind of energy and emotion as a child—and somewhat the same as a grown man—Wise’s mother often calmed him with a pencil and paper. Drawing usually kept him settled, and he got pretty good at it, having surely inherited some of his grandfather’s artistic talents. Unlike his grandad, young Brandon’s own drawings often included monsters, epic battles, Mega Man 2 bosses, and anything else his fantasy fueled imagination could conceive.
Over the next 20 years, Wise shifted from Cleveland to Colorado and then, earlier this year, back to Cleveland, all the while dabbling in a mix of creative outlets, including drumming, designing clothing, and dog and cat grooming. It was in 2012 that Wise’s brother, filmmaker Jason Wise, directed Somm, a documentary about the trials of potential master sommeliers, the most prestigious of wine experts. Jason turned to Brandon for the film’s art and brought him back in 2015 for the sequel Somm: Into the Bottle. Soon they’ll be teaming back up for the upcoming documentaries Rose Marie and The Delicacy.
During his journey down the long and winey road, the international sommelier organization GuildSomm to recruited Wise to create illustrations for their educational training guides. Additionally, he enjoys the slew of interesting commissions that come his way. Some projects fall clearly in his wheelhouse, such as landscapes for a Peruvian travel video or wine menu art for The Blueprint Cafe in London. Other unique personal requests, like a high-heel/human brain hybrid or a depiction of “David Lee Moth,” often challenge Brandon to expand his comfort zone with fascinating, poetic, and occasionally hilarious results.
Featured in the Somm films and in the homes and shops of people around the globe, Wise’s style is an elegant slice of eye-candy. Imagine a blend of flowing watercolors under popping lines of black ink that lights up the canvas. Shimmering bottles and glasses that each house tiny worlds filled with thriving plants, colorful creatures, and vivid dreams. The wine rests gently or splashes wildly, expressing a range of passion present in both age-old wine culture and Wise’s own visual flair. Despite these works, his artistic aspirations extend far beyond the realm of wine.
Intent on exploring new themes in new formats, Wise is again dabbling in a sea of graphic possibilities including storybooks and card games. Embracing his recent homecoming, Wise hopes to collaborate with local artists and artisans and create Cleveland-inspired art driven by his love for the city, the lake, and the Metroparks. A selection of his illustrations is on display at The Wine Spot in Cleveland Heights throughout the month of September, and his body of work is available online at BrandonLeeWiseArt.com. Treat yourself and give your eyes a taste.