Artist Q&A with William Bradley
William Bradley graduated with a Masters degree from Wimbledon College of the University of the Arts London in 2008, selling out his end of year show. He has since been selected for FutureMap 08 and the Catlin Art prize 2009 and 2011 and Baker’s Dozen at Torrance Art Museum in 2020. His work is included in several major collections. He lives and works in Los Angeles.
Who is your favorite artist of all time?
I’ll give you a different answer every time. There are however a few touchstones: John Hoyland, Hans Hofman, Howard Hogkin, and Sandra Blow. There was an incredible show of Eduardo Chillida at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park when I was a teenager–it’s stayed with me ever since. Then there is Matisse.
How did you become a professional artist?
When you’re consumed by something it can be difficult to resist; so it was always the plan. It’s my mum’s fault–she gave me the bug. Then throw in a couple of influential tutors and you’re pretty much screwed. I worked practically full time during my BA to save the money to move to London and continue my studies. My time in London working towards my MA in Painting was pivotal. It was challenging in so many ways and taught me that I was going to question what the fuck I’m doing everyday–several times a day, but like I said, difficult to resist. I was incredibly fortunate to sell out my degree show and meet a couple of key people who set me on the path, including me in UAL’s Future Map and then the Catlin Art Prize–Cheers Medeia and Justin!
What are the influences and inspirations in your work?
Everything and nothing. It’s about filtering. Art history. Design. The act of making. Being open to the world around you and expanding that world as much as you can to give you the tools you need to inform your work. The passions of an early relationship; a life changing trip; lazy Sundays in bed; a memory; a feeling.
How is your work different than everything else out there?
That isn’t for me to say. All you can do is be true to yourself and pursue what is important and meaningful to you.
When is a piece finished for you?
When it’s done.
What’s different about your current body of work?
It’s more meaningful to me; a much more personal, lived experience, driven work.
Awareness. You learn from every mistake, but sometimes you’re not in a place to put that lesson to use. I’m more aware now of what I’m doing or attempting to do.
It’s the kind of painting I always wanted to make but wasn’t equipped to do so.
What would you like collectors and curators to know about your work?
It exists. The work is the stage; their experiences and perception will shape what they get out of it.
Tell us about a few of your career highlights or moments that have greatly affected your career?
Being selected for University of the Arts, London’s annual graduate survey show, Future Map. Then being shortlisted for the Catlin Prize and being commissioned to make two enormous paintings for it. Both were a huge honor and provided that all important bridge from art school to practicing/ exhibiting artist. Solo shows in London, New York, Paris, and Berlin. I was lucky enough to have been invited to take part in a few residencies. Nothing is more influential on your work than your environment and switching that up from time to time can be really valuable–plus I met my muse, now wife at one! Most recently, being included in Baker’s Dozen at Torrance Art Museum–some really great artists have been included over the years.
What’s coming up for you?
I’m looking forward to a good curry.
What advice would you give to an artist just starting out today?
Just focus on the work. It’s really easy to become distracted by the bullshit, especially in this social media age. The art world/market has very little to do with being an artist. Keep making.
Who are some of your favorite underappreciated artists that you don’t think get enough attention?
It’s all relative. I’d say each one of those above doesn’t get the attention their work deserves–even Matisse. But Sandra Blow was just wonderful and how many of your readers will know her work? Otis Jones, Thomas Scheibitz, and Matt Connors should be way bigger than they are. Then you have people like Nick Aguayo, Will Bentsen, Jenny Brosinski, Daisy Parris–damned good painters!
To learn more about William and his work, please visit www.WilliamBradleyStudio.com.