That passion led Brendan to the Illinois Institute of Art in downtown Chicago, from which he graduated in 2007 with a degree in visual communications. He secured a job as a graphic artist with an advertising firm after graduation, but by that time he had developed a second, more nocturnal, hobby as a guerilla artist: first under the name “Urban,” and later using “SOLVE.” The Chicago police were not the only ones that noticed; Brendan’s work had a legitimate following in both the underground art scene and with an attentive portion of the general public.
For a life so defined by intricately planned works of art executed in secrecy, Brendan’s death was starkly random and public. Early in the morning on June 14, 2008, Brendan and several friends were hosting a party, when, Bill and Eileen said, a group of neighborhood thugs broke in on the action.
As Bill explained, it was not the first time that group had crashed a party Brendan was attending, so perhaps that is why, according to a Chicago Tribune report of the case, Brendan initiated a fight with a member of the crew.
Moments after, while fleeing the scene, Brendan was stopped, pinned and pummeled in an alleyway. The fight should have ended there, but a man named Kirk Tobolski wielded an intricately-decorated switchblade he had received as a gift for his birthday just days before. Sickeningly eager to use it, Tobolski stabbed Brendan in the chest, killing him on the spot.