Inside the Makers Workshop: Brad Wreyford

I was raised in the industrial South with a fondness for old cotton gins, oil derricks, and mill towns. My grandfathers were the first artists I knew. They were both truck farmers who spent off days plowing rows for squash and greens or picking melons from the patch. Gardening was my initial artistic activity. I remember how straight those rows were. The varying shades of mustard, collard and turnip greens against burnt ochre earth and the brightness of peppers and sliced melons were some of my first chromatic experiences. 

I began making art in my early twenties. My path was set to be a mathematician or an engineer, but my hands felt left out. I have a love of materials. I need to get my hands dirty. This curiosity has developed my skills in welding, woodworking, and painting. There has always been within me the need to doodle and twiddle with any available material. Consequently, art is a form of journaling for me. The work I produce reflects all facets of my psyche, usually in complicated layers of chronology.

I am of the mind that the best artists are those who are always seeking new experiences. I can’t create on an empty tank. The pain and joy of new visual and emotional discovery charge the creative battery inside me. Currently, I am processing what it means to be a father. I am fascinated with the mental and motor development of my daughters. In their world everything is new, flat, and unexplored. Only the brightest colors and most engaging machinations will hold her attention. There is complete uncertainty and complete security in their lives. It is my goal to create and explore with the same fearlessness and curiosity; to unlearn the mystery and secrets of life; to grow young in my perceptions. Tripping over toys, putting on p-j’s, and watching Curious George are the sources of my visual information. I am drawing clouds, bananas, stars and birdies. The colors I am reaching for come straight from my daughter’s wardrobe and toy bin. When I think about how she sees the world I encounter a refreshing flatness and simplicity that allows for new discovery and re-discovery of that which I ignore daily. 

My recent paintings are formatted horizontally much like film rolls or comic strips. Each painting is made of multiple stills all vying for the viewers attention. This arrangement implies a passage of time; a progression of strong ideas and actions much like the day-to-day chronology of our family photo albums.
The pieces also explore the harmony between unity and individualism; the whole made up of the parts; a family.

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