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Quick Q+A with: New York Artist Bradley Theodore

TALENT: Bradley Theodore

Q: How did growing up in New York inspire your work?

A: New York is full of so much inspiration and life. It also has one of the most diverse crowd of people in the world so you’re constantly learning and surrounded by people with different morals and ethics and sensibilities. I love diversity and I’m constantly inspired by New York for it.

Q: How old were you when you started painting, and what was the first piece you painted?

A: I was four years old and I drew a cowboy and a gun shooting a Native Indian. The American Dream.

Q: You’re originally from Turks and Caicos – has island culture played any role in your artwork?

A: Turks and Caicos is full of vibrant colour and life. This really comes through in my work and I always make sure I experiment with a really vibrant colour soaked palette which is very much inspired by my roots and island culture. Turks and Caicos is additionally a melting pot of different cultures and I take inspiration from this by exploring and celebrating a diverse range of cultures in my work.

Q: How did you make the transition from street artist to gallery artist? Which do you prefer?

A: When I started to gain more momentum as a street, I had people approaching me who wanting to purchase my work. I told them I wasn’t interested in creating commissioned pieces, I wanted to continue to do my own thing. Then, I was randomly approached by multiple galleries in New York and I eventually agreed to host my first show in New York. Things really took off from there.

Muhammad Ali by Bradley Theodore

Q: How does it feel to be compared to Jean-Michel Basquiat, and is it a comparison you embrace or shy away from?

A: One of my friends, Five star Freddy who knew Basquiat very well and had a very intimate understanding of his world has told me that my work has some similarities to Basquiat, but that we’re also very different and our personalities are very different. Generally, the similarities are always commented on alongside the differences and people tell me to keep doing what I’m doing. I like Basquiat’s work but I’m more of a Willem de Kooning fan myself.

Q: What’s your usual creative process when working on a painting?

A: I usually wake up in the morning, go downtown to Soho, grab some breakfast from a local restaurant and stop by my friend Bang Bangs tattoo studio. Then I meet up with friends, go down to clubs till 2 am and then go home and start painting. I wake up and do the same thing. I normally try to visit a museum, gallery or book store in between that, but that’s my general lifestyle and its my lifestyle which inspires my work.

Q: In the press release for your upcoming exhibition, it quotes you saying that you were around death all the time. How does death and mortality influence your work and approach to life?

A: I don’t fear it, I view death differently. I don’t actually see the skeleton as part of death. I mean in todays world, most people are dead and don’t even know it.

The Last Supper by Bradley Theodore

Q: There’s a lot of pop culture elements to your work and influences from high fashion. What is it about celebrity culture and fashion that inspires you?

A: I grew up around the NY fashion crew – downtown crew to be. They would have pop ups at million dollar mansions downtown doing trunk shows. I was often in the room ‘where it happens’ with some of the most influential and credible people in fashion before they even got noticed. I lived that life and so it definitely inspires and has a place in my work.

Q: Tell us more about your upcoming exhibition Second Coming at the Maddox Gallery in Mayfair?

A: The Second Coming is my second London show at Maddox Gallery, Mayfair and this is me putting my best foot forward and focusing on creating beautiful pieces of art that will stand the test of time. For me, the best paintings are ones that I paint for myself and this show is one that I painted for myself. Each piece means something special to me, and I hope that this will pass onto the viewer.

Karl Lagerfeld by Bradley Theodore

Q: What advice would you give to up-and-coming p.o.c artists?

A: Many artists focus on their art and don’t understand the business aspect to being an artist. I actually took a year out to study business and finance before returning and focusing on my career. The best advice I can give to up-and-coming artists would be to learn about the business and finance aspects involved in being an artist, alongside building your portfolio.

Bradley Theodore | The Second Coming Private View 20th April 6-9pm | Exhibition continues 21st April - 20th May 2017 | Maddox Gallery, 9 Maddox St, Mayfair W1S 2QE

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