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Meet Brandon Corral

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brandon Corral.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
On my 21st birthday in June of 2015, I was gifted a basic leathercrafting set- a simple hole puncher, some rivets ,and a couple straps of leather. I went crazy with it. I had none of the actual tools required for the job but I kind of just taught myself as I went and used what was around the house to create a simple work station- my computer desk and a stump that I dragged in from the backyard. I was introduced to a local Viking reenactment group and they offered to vouch for me to have a tiny space to vend at the Vista Viking Festival. I had no clue what I was getting myself into so, with naivety and enthusiasm, I agreed. I spent as much time as I could banging away on my desk making completely one of a kind bracelets; mind you, I did everything the most inefficient way possible with improvised tools. By September, I had a nice shoebox sized amount of bracelets that I had planned to simply show off at the festival to see what people thought. I packed my shoebox of inventory and one of those small pop up tables you bring to the couch to hold your microwave dinner. When I arrived, I was stopped at the gate. They asked to state my business, and I just realized I don’t even remember the name of the guy that said he would vouch for me. After asking around, they finally give me the ok to head in; I went to the tiny space that I was told would be ok to set up. while I was taking bracelets out of the box, there were people already clawing at my inventory and asking “how much for this one???”. I actually hadn’t thought this far. Because of the methods, I had to craft with. Each bracelet took about 4-5 hours to make. Doing some quick math in my head, I blurted “how’s $80 sound?”.

“sold.”

I didn’t know what to think. Before I could even soak in what just happened, crowd mentality kicked in, and my little pop-up table was swamped. I went home with an empty box and enough money to buy a leather shop in a single hit. I spent the whole thing and knew that I was committed and there’s no turning back. I was shocked by how much people appreciated my work and, with the unrelenting help and support of friends and family, I was filled with the motivation to turn this into a profession and start my own business. A ludicrous idea at the time, but nothing great comes without risk.

I’ve spent the last few years sharpening both my skills as an artist, marketing analyst, designer, salesman, and business owner. A lot to learn in a short amount of time, really. I was never an artist my entire childhood. I was going to school for a degree in engineering before this caught me off guard.

Please tell us about your art.
My initial intention was to create items that would sell at a renaissance fair, but that you’d be able to use all the time. Wallets with Viking and Celtic designs, cuffs with designs subtle enough to be worn every day, that kind of thing. Honestly, I didn’t really have much of a direction; I just wanted to make things and throw it in a box to gather dust.

Iv’e changed my direction with gaining skill in custom projects. I mean, people just throw money at me sometimes and tell me to do whatever I want. They actually like my work and style enough to just pay me for something and they don’t even know what it’s going to look like! That still blows my mind to this day. I love to push myself but i think I love inspiring others even more so. Iv’e had other artists tell me that they picked up leather crafting because they liked my work so much that it inspired them to give it a try. Whenever I show off my work on social media, my goal isn’t really to make money. Most of the stuff I post is already sold anyway. my goal is to inspire those that are right on the edge of deciding to pick up some type of art. I want people to know that you don’t have to be naturally gifted to do something great. You don’t even have to make a business out of it. I was never an artist before leather, not in the slightest. I learned along the way and I want others to know that they can to

Given everything that is going on in the world today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national or international events and issues affect your art?
With social media and educational videos being so available, I think our world is ripe for creating an environment that artists can thrive in. It takes only a couple of clicks to start learning how to use social media and online shops to promote and sell your work. Literally, anyone with a smartphone and an internet connection can make money from their art to propel them forward. Honestly, I live under a rock and i only concern myself with my work and physics/chemistry news.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
Instagram! Yes, there are lots of other social media outlets available but Instagram is convenient for me personally. Simple search @swifthammerleather on Instagram or go to instagram.com/swifthammerleather . The simple way to support what I do is pay me to make you something, whether it be something from my Etsy shop (etsy.com/shop/swifthammerleather) or a custom project. There are so many easier and more affordable ways to help, though! Following my work on social media, commenting, and showing friends is way more helpful than you think- mostly to please the algorithm that’s dictating how relevant my posts are and how many people it’ll show it to. Even just sending me a message telling me you like my work does a lot of help. I, and other artists as well , I’m sure, struggle with self-doubt sometimes and simply hearing people cheering you on can kick you into gear or pull you out of a slump.

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Image Credit:
Brandon Corral

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