I was recently going through some chicken scratch notes that I made in a class I took at SCAD called Alternative Design Approaches. I had a bunch of names scrawled down and circled, which I would do in order to remember to do more research into whatever it was that was written down. In this case it was the names of a few artists that had caught my attention during a lecture. One of the names that was written down was Mark Bradford, and after a quick google image search, I realised why I had taken note of this artist while I sat in class. His work is unique, insightful, and truly speaks to this generation of artists.
Bradford creates large scale pieces combining collage and painting. He uses found objects, often times signs that he finds on the streets of his hometown of Los Angeles, in his pieces. He applies layer after layer of paper and paint and usually sands and scratches the surface to expose the layers. His marriage of art & design, and typography & painting is very unique and really speaks to me as an artist and graphic designer. Bradford uses imagery and elements found on the streets to create his work, specifically signs found in urban areas that are advertising various things. According to artspace.com his work "addresses the spontaneous systems and networks that materialize within cities, such as displaced communities, patterns of violence, and black-market economies". The typographic elements and grid like structures found in his work give an urban map-like feel to his pieces.
There is also a reflection of the De Stijl Movement to be found in his pieces as can be seen in the comparison between his piece titled "Disappear like a a dope fiend" and the work of Piet Mondrian, done 93 years apart, seen below.
I will leave you with this video of Bradford talking about the use of language in his pieces, as well as touching on his process while working.
Also check out this PBS Art 21 documentary on Bradford that is definitely worth the watch.
For even more info, visit his website "The Mark Bradford Project"