Brandon Vessels was born in 1989 in the small town of Pinson, Alabama 30 miles north of Birmingham Alabama. Life was simple and slow, until his mother left the picture when he was 9 years old. He was also a victim of sexual abuse at a young age. This environment led young Brandon to push his boundaries in every way imaginable. He never fit the mold of social normalcy, truly embodying an artist since birth. Brandon attended every art class available during grade school, winning many art competitions, and juried art shows. His senior year he won a state wide art competition for sculpture made of recycled materials. Vessels didn’t find school challenging, and he rarely ever studied turning in every test with at least a doodle. Graduating high school near the bottom of his class, Vessels didn’t see to many opportunities in his future. He then naïvely joined the military in hopes of escaping this small town monotony. Vessels became a military police by the age of 19, his future began to look bright again. That is until he got deployed and turned 21 in the Middle East. This was an eye-opening experience to say the least for young Vessels. Since returning, many of his brothers have taken their own lives dealing with re-integration into society. Vessels struggled in many ways both mentally and physically after returning. He was granted a retirement due to a heart problem related to service. At 23 they told him he would need open-heart surgery within the next six months. He felt his life was over, yet just beginning. Vessels sunk into a deep state of depression in his home for four years gaining over 120 pounds. One day he says he just woke up… He got up out of bed packed a backpack and started across America with only $300 in his pocket. His retirement was enough to pay his bills and barely scrape by while traveling out of his backpack. He made it from Birmingham, Alabama all the way across America to California in seven days through a series of greyhound buses and hitchhiking. Vessels then used his military benefits to hop a military cargo plane over to Hawaii. He made many friends on the islands from all over the world. He traveled three of the main islands for nine months before returning home. He came back a completely different person, about 60 pounds lighter and so much mentally cleaner. He started to see the beauty in life again. This led to many years of travel, art, laughter, and healing. Vessels went on to lose a total of 130 pounds over two years and continues to keep it off. Vessels found scuba diving at the age of 27 and truly fell in love with the ocean for the first time in his life. Since then he has dedicated his life to making a difference for our oceans. He regularly makes trips to clean debris from our local reef, along with many other conservation efforts. While on a 2018 scuba diving trip to the Vandenberg in Key West he fell in love with this town and the people who call it home. His first week in town he was the featured artist at a Gallery on Duval Street. Vessels met his Wife Eva on Fort Zachary Taylor beach. Three months later they were married, and soon after became pregnant with his son. He named his first son Kai meaning ocean. Kai was born with a rare condition called Gastroschisis, simply put his intestines were outside of his body. Kai had a surgery a week after birth and has since lived healthy and happy childhood with no complications. Now 32, with his second son on the way in early October. The artist enjoys being a father to his son most of all! “He’s truly the best thing I’ve ever created” said Vessels.

%d bloggers like this: