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.
Born in Agana, Guam, Alika Cooper currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. She received her MFA from California College of the Arts in 2006. Alika’s work has been exhibited in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and throughout the U.S.
How did your interest in art begin?
I took an after school class in 4th grade in San Diego, an oil painting still life class. We set up avocados and oranges in a pile. I remember really engaging with the problems of painting. Depicting an object in front of another object. And what color is an orange really? You cant just paint it orange and call it good. I got into how cruddy the paint quality of oil paint can get. Really dense and defiant and yucky and wet. i liked all the immediate contradictions in trying to depict something. You determine the space based on fact or fiction or both. It’s very disturbing.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? I’m looking at a lot of books of European photographers from the 1930s-40s, nudes, and early fashion photography, Helmut Newton, Heinz Hajek-Halke, Yva Else Simon, Brassaii and starting to collect some books on American quilting and related crafts like “quilting for the home.”
What artists are you interested in right now? This summer I’ve enjoyed looking at Tom Wesselmann paintings from the early eighties, especially the ones that are cropped out negative spaces of nudes and isolated on a canvas.
Any current or upcoming shows we should know about? I have an upcoming solo exhibition this coming week at Eleanor Harwood Gallery in San Francisco. I’ve been working up to this show for a year now, and very happy to be finally installing this week. The opening is Saturday, September 17th. I will be showing works in a new medium: fabrics collaged on fabric, stretched on stretcher bars.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I received my BFA from SAIC in 2008 and am currently working on my MFA in Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.
What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like? In addition to painting materials such as paper, paint, fabric and tape, I use materials from a collected pile of sawdust, concrete, ash, hair, teeth and torn up and discarded work. Each piece has part of the pile in it, mixed in with acrylic medium as a sort of magic dust that gives them life and a connection to each other.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? Shrouds, auras, effigies, doppelgangers, ghosts, mummies, rituals, mutilation, formlessness.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I’m currently working on a Lithograph with Anchor Graphics in Chicago. It is a new process for me and has allowed me to really focus on the act of drawing and simplify during a time when I have been using excessive layering. I will be beginning my thesis work soon for the Spring of 2012.
How has your work developed within the past year? I have been working on doing site specific installations that haven’t been shown yet where I make work on a tarp or ground where it is meant to be shown. Instead of making polished objects I have been trying to show some of the process because the way each piece is created, destroyed and transformed is important to me. The sculptures are dragged and busted as they are made and it creates this mark making on the ground which further ties together my interest of where painting and sculpture intersect.
What artists are you interested in right now? Huma Bhabha, Lynda Benglis, Daniel Gordon, Paul Thek, Nathalie Djurberg, Agathe Snow.
What was the last exhibition you saw that stuck out to you?Dan Gunn’s 12x12 at the MCA.
Favorite music? Anything sad and folksy, Bill Callahan, Silver Jews etc. But I do really love the new Girl Talk album for working in the studio.
What were you like as a kid? I owned the entire Goosebumps collection, traced the drawings in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and my favorite toy was “Dr. Dreadful’s Squeemy Snack Lab” where you could make candy skin, brains and boogers.
Any upcoming shows we should know about? I’m showing a collaboration in Ryan Travis Christian’s show at Western Exhibitions opening October 21st. I’ll have some paintings at Domy Books in Austin in October as part of Monster 6 and the Northwestern Thesis Show at the Block Museum in May 2012. Not everything in 2012 is ready to announce just yet so keep your eye peeled.
Hayley Aviva Silverman is a visual artist living in New York City. She received her BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in Interdisciplinary Sculptural Studies. Silverman has recently shown at the Queens Museum of Art, The Art Foundation- Athens, and the Venice Biennial.
How long have you lived in New York and what brought you there? I was born in NYC and have returned to live here twice since. I keep ping-ponging between Berlin and Chinatown and often visit Providence and Baltimore. I am aspiring towards a good-feeling long term city soon. I have spent the last year working for artists and reality TV.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? I have been most taken with my work for Arakawa and Gins, formerly called the Containers of the Mind, then called Architectural Body Foundation, and now referred to as Reversible Destiny. I process information for them- parsing through books and sussing out relevant information in regards to their architectural work. I most recently read Aristophanes and some other ancient Greek comedy that is amazingly clever and absurd.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I have been busy building furniture that uses canes and other kinds of assistance objects. I also finished two drawings entitled Mother and Father. The rest of my projects are left in this sprawling waiting room of text files and email correspondences. I am hoping to collaborate with an Air-trekker for a new video—getting a hold of one has been puzzling!
What is one the bigger challenges you and other artists are struggling with these days, and how do you see it developing? A big question is: When are we going to start living our fantasies? Some challenges are direct-speak, omnipresence (ambient-intimacy), spirituality in the age of abstract materialism, and a steadfast hold on individual freedom. The later challenge may be re-re-claimed through land ownership or/by metaphorically going West.
If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and why? I’d like to go to the Atacama Desert in Chile, known for being the driest place on Earth. It’s one of the best places to look up and houses the Very Large Telescope (VLT).
What do you do when you’re not working on art? I attend sci-fi book club where we are currently reading Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood’s post-apocalyptic novel from 2003 that touches on biotechnologies, pornography, hacking, class anxiety, and sex trafficking. I am also building a lecture on the topic of Animals in Transhumanist Literature.
If you hadn’t become an artist, what do you think you’d be doing? I have many interests outside of art that involve materials science, ecology, and genetics. At the moment, I can see another alternative reality through my younger brother. He stayed close to where we grew up and is now sharing a mansion (owned by a russian ice skating champion) with five other friends, a sort of neo-commune. I think there is an undefined potential in suburbia.
What were you like in high school? I had cornrows and a glued curl that wrapped around my cheek.