Artist of the Week: Chris Bradley

Chris Bradley was born in northeast New Jersey and currently lives in Chicago, IL.  He received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010.  Chris has an upcoming solo exhibition at Hungryman San Francisco opening October 8th.

If you had to explain your work to a stranger, what would you say? Dumb, but knows a little more about you than you do it.

When and where did your interest in art begin?  1990s, North Jersey. I owe it all to my family, friends, and marijuana. Throughout my childhood, my mom had us doing all sorts of creative projects. She celebrated whatever we did. The power of encouragement is not to be doubted. My dad had us building all sorts of shit around the house and yard. He taught me the value of hard work. My brother is my biggest hero. He and I spent endless hours making things together and along side each other. He was my first art community, and still remains a big part of the conversation. High school was a shit show. I didn’t know how to do anything but yardwork, artwork, skate, and blaze. Not much has changed.

How has living/working in Chicago affected your art practice? Chicago’s been a good place for me. I moved here from Brooklyn, where I was drinking heavily and having trouble figuring out where I stood as a maker of things. Chicago provided an upgrade in many ways. I went from using my stovetop as a studio and taking photos of turds, to a seat in grad school at SAIC. I then had spacein which to think and work. I learn best by doing, and prefer action over words. Chicago’s given me numerous opportunities to experiment and figure out what it is that I do. It’s given me a chance to get the ideas out into form. NYC is a wonderful beast that I will always call home.  I aim to be back there soon enough, but for the time being Chicago’s a good place to lay low and get some work done.

What is one of the bigger challenges you and/or other artists are struggling with these days, and how do you see it developing? Don’t ask me, I just got here.

If you had one wish what would it be? Maybe to be anything but white.

What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? You may have realized, I think a lot about food (I was a fat kid). Being in a city that offers very little in the way of authentic, affordable, quick eats, I long for good pizza. I have quality-slice separation anxiety disorder, which involuntarily has me making work on the subject of pizza and its box… Other stuff, too, of course.

What was the last exhibition you saw that stuck out to you? David Adamo at Untitled over the summer or whenever that was.

What are your plans for the next year? 2011’s been a good pal, one I’ll never forget. I owe him many a drink. But I have a good feeling about 2012.  I have some shows lined up that I’m working towards, and some collaborative plans to execute. I’m not one to calculate my time. Scheduling brings me down. I can’t say where I’ll be, but I assure you things will get done.

What’s your absolute favorite place in the city/the world to be? The Bloomingdale trail is the only place I’ve found in Chicago that allows for a slight escape. When I’m up there I feel like I could be anywhere. In the distance, I’d have to say Cape Cod. I grew up going there to visit my grandparents. The terrain is like nowhere else. Every now and again I see something that reminds me of it and I smile.

If you hadn’t become an artist, what do you think you’d be doing? Drinking.