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11 Things You Didn’t Know About Mark Bradford


Knowledge can be gained at any age. After having a detailed study on topics there are things unknown to us. So, we at Abirpothi present before you the lesser-known facts about artists around the world.

Mark Bradford


“You either have to find a way to be really creative materially, or you better have a trust fund. And, last I checked, I didn’t have a trust fund.”

-Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford is an American artist born in 1961 in Los Angeles, California. He is best known for his mixed-media paintings, which incorporate materials such as paper, rope, and found objects to create complex layered compositions. Coming from an underprivileged background and from the black community, the artist understands the weight of the history that he strives to represent. Bradford’s work often explores themes related to identity, race, and social justice, and he has been widely praised for his ability to merge elements of abstraction and representation in his art. Bradford has received numerous accolades throughout his career, including the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant in 2002 and the United States Artists Fellowship in 2006.

11 lesser-known facts about Mark Bradford
  1.     Mark Bradford is 6 feet and 7 and a half inches tall, perhaps one of the tallest artists in the world.
  2.      Bradford didn’t start off as an artist but worked as a hairdresser. Bradford’s mother owned and operated a hair salon. After graduating from high school, Mark obtained a hairdresser’s license and went to work for his mother.

    Mark with his mother at her Salon,
    Courtesy: Phaidon
  3.     Bradford’s work Tomorrow Is Another Day, displayed at Venice Biennale in 2017 questioned the romanticism and glorification behind the civil war.  The title itself is taken from the film adaptation of Gone With the Wind.

    Tomorrow Is Another Day (2017), Installation view. Courtesy of the artist.
  4.     He incorporates themes of gender and masculinity in his works, drawing from his experiences as a black gay man.
  5.    Mark attended a “continuation” school for underperforming students in his late teens. The curriculum there involved very little teaching and a lot of independent reading, which suited him much better. He even graduated a year early.
  6.     Most of Bradford’s art supplies come from Home Depot. “If Home Depot doesn’t have it,” the artist is remarked saying, “Mark Bradford doesn’t need it.” 
  7.  Bradford had an insane growth spurt as a child that forced him to grow up early. He says: “I grew ten inches in three months. And I looked frail, and that made me sort of a target. My public privacy was gone, and so was my boyhood, because no one allows you to be nearly six-eight and also a boy.” 
  8.     Race has always been important to Bradford. He painted two important works titled ‘Scorched Earth’ and ‘Black Wall Street’ in 2006, based on the 1921 Tulsa race massacre.

    Scorched Earth
    Courtesy: the Board
  9.     Bradford refers to his work as “social abstraction”—abstract art “with a social or political context clinging to the edges”.

    Mark Bradford, Still from Practice, 2003. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser&Wirth
  10.      When he was young, Mark tried playing basketball, but the game’s physical aggressiveness bothered him. The expectations of masculinity and the inherent aggression always made him feel out of place, a theme reflected in his work later on, most notably in Pride of Place (2009) and Practice (2003)
  11.   His early work consisted of using endpapers – thin rectangular papers used to wrap curls in waves. He found that the way he styled hair was similar to the way he did art.
    An early work made of endpapers, Juice (detail), 2003 Courtesy: The Modern

    Pride of Place, 2009 Courtesy: Aperture

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