The first time I ever met Brad Kester, he was wearing a red flannel and carrying a metal bowl sloshing full of flour-water, brooding over a paper-mache leg he was constructing in the basement. The second time, he was putting the finishing touches on a children's story he and a friend were about the enter into a national contest. It didn't take a third encounter for me to figure out that this was someone worth knowing. Since then, I've had the great fortune to witness Brad work through all sorts of creative endeavors--from film making and photography, to piñtas and creative writing. He is a thoughtful artist who approaches the world with a tender heart and careful hands, always at his own pace. The diversity of his work speaks not only to the depth of his creative appetite, but to the purity of his hunger. Ladies and gents: Brad Kester.
You're clearly a jack-of-all-trades. Aside from the finished product, your creative mediums really say something in & of themselves. How does a medium express you, or how does self-expression change with your medium?
Jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none. Most of my creative ideas are inspired by some other piece of art I've seen. So I'll see something in a movie, and I'll want to make a movie. Or I'll read a children's book, and I'll want to make a children's book. Or I'll see a sculpture...etc. Most of the time, though, I’m looking for ideas to put into a movie. But I guess when they don’t make it that far, they become stories or sculptures or something else. Sometimes the medium— the resources I use— is chosen based on hearsay. Like at one point I tried to make a giant hot dog sculpture using nine loaves of white bread and Elmer's glue because my mom had this little trinket she said was made from that. Mine didn't really turn out at all.
What do you love about film?
Films are a combination of images, music, and story, and I love all those things. I don’t really know what else to say other than that I’ve always felt more affected by movies than anything else. It’s the only thing I’ve ever really been able to craft from my imagination.
What creature of the animal kingdom do you most identify yourself with & why?
A worm, because you can kill a lot of things by cutting but how can you ever kill a worm?
Favorite San Diego locale? Or some of them?
It seems like I’m at home most of the time. So, home is one of them. I also like Lefty’s Pizza, and recently I went put-put golfing at Boomer’s with my roommate Andrew (and a couple McFlurries afterwards).
Will you please draw/color/paint three pictures of three strong childhood images/scenes/whathaveyou, that often surface on a semi-regular basis?
Three movies you can't live without?
2001: A Space Odyssey
What is your dream, or at least one of them?
I don’t really know, man. I want to make movies, but I don’t really expect to ever get paid for that. Do I really have much ambition otherwise? I’m not really sure. I think perhaps I’d like to be a character in the song "Dayton, Ohio" by Randy Newman.
Can you tell me a bit about how you work and how you process through a project?
Anxiety. Fear of failing. Extreme excitement about an initial idea, followed by extreme discouragement, then sorting out the idea with hypnotic concentration usually while performing other daily tasks like showering or driving, persevering, working hard, getting excited again, carrying out the idea, feeling skeptical, staring at the finished product over and over and over, feeling proud.
Interview & photos by Jordan Karnes