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September 30, 2014

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Brandon Boyd: singer-songwriter, visual artist, author and environmentalist

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Scott Harrison/Retna/HarrisonPhotos.com

Incubus at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel on Oct. 8, 2011.

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Artwork by Brandon Boyd

A drawing by Brandon Boyd. Launch slideshow »

Incubus at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel

Incubus at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel on Oct. 8, 2011. Launch slideshow »
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Incubus backstage at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel on Oct. 8, 2011.

Brandon Boyd is a Renaissance man. While the singer-songwriter is widely known as the frontman of Incubus, Boyd also is a successful visual artist, an author and an advocate for the environment and sustainability.

Boyd balances all of it often while traveling the globe with his bandmates, most of whom he knows from his high school days in Southern California. Incubus’ tour in support of the alternative band’s latest release, “If Not Now, When?” brings them to the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel on Friday and Saturday.

“We’ve been everywhere in the world -- twice,” says Boyd, laughing. “But what’s interesting is that amid the crazy schedule and the travel and everything, there are these idle moments. It’s been a lifelong goal to make the best possible use of those times.”

Boyd, 36, brings sketchbooks, watercolors and inks with him while on the road, and he’ll often take a step back to realize that he’s amassed a large body of work in a short period of time. Longtime fans of Incubus might recognize his earlier work, as drummer Jose Pasillas and he used to draw the band’s concert fliers.

“We both loved to draw, and we felt like, I know that he probably feels the same way as I do, drawing is really just another extension of writing a song. It’s the same, just with a different set of tools.”

Boyd is very involved in Incubus’ tour production elements, including backdrops and props, as well as the band’s music videos.

“We’ve had three producers in the 20 years that we’ve been a band, but we’re very much like a self-produced band,” Boyd says. “Producers end up being almost creative wranglers for us, but no one helps us write the songs.”

As for Boyd’s artwork, he says on his website that he faces the same dilemma when asked about the style of his music, finding both difficult to classify. Incubus’s large collection of songs offers striking differences of music styles.

“I think that what most artists are trying to do is trying to understand. I think what distinguishes creative people and/or artists from another type of person is perhaps a willingness to go headlong into that uncertainty.”

Incubus welcomes variety in their music, as Boyd does in his artwork, which has been shown at galleries in his native Golden State. His first gallery show, “Ectoplasm,” was in September 2008 in Los Angeles. Boyd has kept busy ever since and has had a mural on display at the Museum of Monterey in Northern California.

The mural was painted at skating an surfing company Hurley’s Hurley ) ( Space Gallery and combined three of Boyd’s interests: art, surfing and saving the environment. The project focused on ocean pollution, depicting a large amount of plastics and other undesirables floating among the creatures of the sea.

“The mural thing with Hurley was the most deliberate art project that I’ve ever done. It’s something that’s very close to my heart, having grown up surfing and being on the front lines of ocean pollution,” the still-avid surfer says. He expressed his views on the environment in an April 2011 blog on Huffington Post titled, “Sustainability Isn’t a Four-Letter Word -- It’s a Fourteen-Letter Word.”

Boyd wrote another Huffington Post article about an event at the Monterey exhibit, and he has released two books of his artwork and writings, “White Fluffy Clouds” and “From the Murks of the Sultry Abyss.” A third book is in the works, and Boyd hopes to release it next year.

“I hope it’s everything that the first two are not and then some. I’m in a moment of surplus with drawings and paintings, so I’m kind of at a place where I’m starting to curate the most, I guess, evocative and/or the best of the bunch.”

Boyd is aiming to incorporate a visual presentation of his work in conjunction with the upcoming release, which he expects to be his next public presentation.

With all of his success with Incubus and in his own creative endeavors (he released a solo album in 2010 titled “The Wild Trapeze”), Boyd says he isn’t jaded at all.

“I feel like a little kid who just walked into a candy store. I think that’s something to smile about.”

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