ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Artists dream of gaining attention. But what happens when it’s national attention?
Brandon Maldonado is experiencing it and he’s doing just fine. His artwork — “Our Lady of Merciful Fate” — is being used as the cover art for Grammy Award-winning country group Zac Brown Band’s new album, “Uncaged.”
The album was released on Tuesday and Billboard is predicting the album will sell more than 200,000 copies in its first week and debut in the No. 1 spot.
The cover piece is only the latest work that he’s done for the band. Maldonado said about two years ago, the Zac Brown Band was on tour and made a stop at the Hard Rock Casino Albuquerque Presents The Pavilion right before the band released its last record, “You Get What You Give.”
“They boys were doing some local sightseeing in Old Town, and they just happened to go into Johnny Salas’ shop ‘Santisima’,” he said. “I wasn’t there but my work was and Zac picked up a few pieces and contacted me shortly after and made it clear that he wanted me to do work for their next album cover. It’s kind of funny that it was about a week before he even released his second album.”
Maldonado, a West Mesa High School alum and now a Denver resident, remained in contact with Brown and drew a New Year’s Eve concert poster for the band that later become the cover art for “The Southern Ground Artist Compilation No. 2.”
Brown also has used Maldonado’s painting “Viva y Vida” for the band’s latest single, “The Wind.”
“If people download the single on iTunes, they would see my image as the cover-art icon,” he explained. “But obviously the piece that has reached the largest audience is my painting, ‘Our Lady of Merciful Fate,’ which is the cover.”
For Maldonado, having his art on a cover of a CD is a great accomplishment because he’s also a big music fan.
“I’ve always said that music is the superior art because it can really move people in a way that visual art just can’t,” he said. “People might argue with me on that one, but when you think of the Fab 4 running down the street being mobbed by fans its hard to think of a painter who has ever moved people in such a way. So I feel very privileged to participate in the world of music which has given me so much over the years.”
Maldonado admits to sometimes going to record stores just to look album covers.
“You can find some of the coolest art in the record store,” he said. “I think this particular record is great not simply because my art graces the cover but because every track is well crafted and speaks of the band’s tight musicianship. And with the diversity of musical genres found on the record it shows that the band has truly “uncaged” themselves from any pigeonhole people might want to put them in.”
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal