Robert Bradford was born in South London. He trained in Fine Art at Beckenham School of Art and at Ravensbourne College of Art, and then in Film & Photography at The Royal College of Art in London. After leaving his various colleges, Bradford worked primarily in painting and filmmaking in England and the USA, but he has had an extremely varied career. He trained as an eclectic analytic psychotherapist with A.G.I.P London, and worked as an individual and as a group psychotherapist with adults for 13 years. In the art world he has lectured at Maidstone College of Art, and at San Diego State University in California. He has now been working as an artist for several decades. He is principally known for his work in sculpture, which he makes mainly from recycled soft toys and/or up-cycled materials. Artistically, he is best known for these sculptures, and for his Public Pyrotechnic Fire Sculptures, but his oeuvre developed further during 2018, where he reverted to making abstract collages. The same year he began ‘revisiting’ painting on canvas, producing works in a series, but he still makes sculpture on request and for specific shows on commission. In 2019 he began to represent his own work, producing various scale canvas paintings; this project is ongoing. He is a very well-travelled artist and has drawn inspiration from the many places in which he has lived. These locations have included London, Bristol, Cornwall, Lyon in France, and San Diego in the USA.
Always aware that we are living in post-modern times, Robert Bradford invariably turns to Charles Jenks, that great architect, critic, and almost godfather of post-modernism, for intellectual inspiration. Jenks opined, ‘artists want to know how to represent variety with integrity’. One strategy is to choose the right style for the job. A further tactic is to provide heterogenous materials in a language that is fresh and enigmatic’. And it is this use of diverse materials which has given Bradford his most important dimension. For his Toy Works, the artist comments, ‘I have always been attracted to unusual materials to use in artworks, and often stuff that has been pre-used (and in the case of toys, pre-loved)’. Toys are chosen carefully for their design shape and colour, and for their adaptability relative to the form in question. Bradford hopes to make works that are of genuine interest to both adults and children alike, and to make them intriguing and amusing. Occasionally, he makes works from clients’ own toys or memorabilia, where the items are suited formally to the particular construction in question. Bradford comments, ‘I work relatively spontaneously and improvisationally within the given structure of an armature canvas or sheet of paper’. The artist comments that the idea for the next piece often comes during the experimental process, or it will arrive in response to a particular material or object outside his working regime. Robert Bradford has been represented by several galleries including Envie D. Art (Paris and London) and Rebecca Hossack Gallery (London and New York). Most recently he has received many commissions for the Malls of Hong Kong and China, which he visited and worked with assistants for many months. He has exhibited and been commissioned and collected in over 20 countries to date, and his work can be seen in many public and private collections. Several images of his work have been published in many International books and magazines.
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