We had the good fortune of connecting with Brandon Harder and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Brandon, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Work life balance has been a hard thing to nail down and maintain. When my son was born almost three years ago, and we lived in Louisville, KY, I left my job to be a stay at home dad. In that time I worked when I could in my studio and did a few install jobs here and there. I even took the baby with me to a couple jobs! We moved to Decatur in May of 2019 and since then my work, both art installations and furniture and object commissions, has picked up considerably. Thankfully, my wife works from home and grandparents aren’t too far away allowing me to take on more travel jobs and, “during normal work hours” work. Before that I was confined to nap times and evenings. Earlier this spring we hired a nanny to watch our son three days a week for half a day and now he’s in preschool too. This has given me the time to really ramp things up with more and more installs and even more shop work. We now have another baby on the way and I am extremely conflicted about how to proceed. The time I got to spend with my son was magical and we’ve developed an incredible bond. I’m worried that I won’t be able to continue on my current growth path if I take the same amount of time with our new baby, but I’m also worried that if I don’t take that time I won’t have the same bond, and that makes me feel very guilty. Maybe it’s the gemini in me, but I want to live both lives; the successful business owner and the stay at home dad. It’s something I think about (mostly stress about) all the time. Perhaps I just need to follow Shakespeare’s advice, “a jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.”

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m trained as a sculpture artist but have found myself living more on the craft side of things as of late, installing other artist’s work and making furniture and functional objects. My work as an installer keeps art top of mind and helps me maintain a creative stream of consciousness while my art training comes in to play in both art installation and constructing pieces by considering composition, visual weight, history, and unique details. I also really enjoy creative exercises such as creating my own pieces in the styles of some of my favorite icons from the art, design, and architecture worlds.

Each piece I make is an improvement on the last. I wasn’t trained as a furniture builder so most of what I know I’ve learned through doing, making plenty of mistakes along the way, but always learning from them. I feel like woodworking especially is heavy on technique and those techniques take a while to understand and master. Therefore, I find myself improving with each new piece. I try to challenge myself every time and I find that I tend to “overbuild” most of the things I make. While this isn’t necessarily great for my profit margin, I find it never goes unnoticed and usually leads to bigger and better opportunities.

My company name is Brandon Harder Art and Design but I like to call it BHADforyou. BHAD is of course an acronym but it’s also a play on the urban dictionary definition of bhad which is, “a step of above bad”, “…indescribable”, “hot, attractive”. And with that said, I like my original pieces to have a bit of attitude. I like them to be dark, and slightly dangerous. I tend to char a lot of wood pieces and things often have spikes and sharp edges. I’m definitely still finding my own style and working on my brand, but I dream that one day it will be recognizable.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Being a recent transplant to the Atlanta area and having spent most of my time here during the age of Covid, I feel like I’ve not gotten to really explore the city the way I would like to, I haven’t even been to a concert here. I have however been to a Braves game, an Atlanta United game, the Piedmont Park Arts Festival, the High Museum, the aquarium and zoo, a handful of delicious restaurants and fun bars, and found some good hiking spots, my favorite of which is Arabia Mountain.

But I would say, totchos at the nook, a walk in Piedmont park, day drinking at Wild Heaven Brewery in Avondale, late night drinks and pizza at Jacks Pizza and Wings, a Braves game or a Atlanta United game, and a hike around the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would never be where I am without the support of wife. She encourages me to push my limits and is always there for me when I am at my busiest. When I make things, I try to make heirloom quality pieces that’ll be around long enough for my kids to enjoy them and of course I want them to think they’re cool.
I have a friend that I call on often as my “furniture mentor”. His name is Craig Bayens and he runs, Craig Bayens Furniture + Functional Design.

Website: www.BHADforyou.com

Instagram: @Brandon_harder_art_and_design

Facebook: @BrandonHarderArtandDesign

Youtube: https://youtu.be/N7hzDco7_sQ

Tumblr: https://bhadforyou.tumblr.com

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