Artist Interviews 2021

Brad AntiFolk  
By Julia Siedenburg

Brad AntiFolk is an artist that I was fortunate enough to discover at the Other Art Fair in Santa Monica. His beautiful color pieces that reminded me of sunlight shining through mosaik windows immediately caught my eye. In combination with the fun subjects that revolve around anything that can be found in nature, help you to get in a good mood at an instant.

Do yourself a favor and learn more about this uber talented artist’s inspirations, background and why he thinks that the imperfection of a line has so much more soul and power to it than a perfect one.

I saw your work at “The other Art Fair '' I was so intrigued with the line work and vibrancy? How do you choose your subjects and colors?

This is going to sound like a copout, but a lot of the subjects and colors that I use are chosen at a whim. There are certainly some color palates that I come back to again and again after seeing how they play with each other. I do tend to gravitate to mostly bright colors when outlining in black ink and darker colors when outlining in white ink. A lot of that is because the eye can play tricks on you. If I outline the same colors in white ink, they instantly look lighter than if I use black ink. That contrast is important to my pieces. The subject matter compositions are mostly variations of previous pieces that I have liked in the past or that collectors have responded to in the past. All my work started as abstracts and then over time they have gotten more figurative.

The colored glass look makes them seem as a window to a different place or world. Why that specific look? Did you always paint this way, or did you evolve to this from a different style?

Almost from the very beginning I started outlining my paintings with ink. I have always been intrigued by outlined color. As a child my first introductions to art were coloring books and comic books. Both of which use outlined color to create pictures. Those lines stuck with me and throughout my life I have always used lines to outline color. I only started painting in 2017. Prior to that I would buy posters of famous artists like Van Gogh, Klimt, or Picasso and outline the posters. When I started painting is was only a matter of time before I started outlining the colors, and drawing on the paintings using ink. The glass look came originally more as a utility than as an aesthetic. I was looking for a way to trap the ink in to the painting so that it wouldn’t smear. I was at an outdoor art market and saw some resin work on a pour painting in one of the booths. I thought that the finish would look nice on what I was creating, but more importantly at the time, it would trap in the ink in. After using it once, I was addicted and covered my entire back catalog in resin. I loved the way that it made the colors pop and added depth, while also making the surface flatter. I love the dichotomy that it brings.

What does it make you feel to make art? Is it a necessity for you? An outlet?

I don’t know if I need to create art, but I do know that the best version of myself does create art. I typically have found some form of creative outlet, from outlining posters, drawing, or even working on my old zine or website. I started painting because it had been a while since I had done anything creatively and I knew that the best version of myself had to be creating something. I had never really painted before and got into heavily fairly quickly.

Which artist is your idol/inspiration?

My inspiration to paint mainly came from people I know. I used to be involved in a music scene out of New York and music being what it is today some of the musicians would paint on the side and sell those paintings at their shows. This became a lot more lucrative than normal merch for them. I think seeing the paintings that Ed Hamell made of other musicians and cult figures that he identified with was a big inspiration for me to start painting myself. Also, the work of Paleface who paints mostly guitars and sayings about being a musician not only on canvas, but on drumheads was a big inspiration.

On your website you say that the imperfection of a line has so much more soul and power to it. Can you explain why you feel that way?

When one looks at a static straight line drawn with a ruler, that line is forced to be that way. In general, not only is the line completely straight, but the width and boldness of the line is static as well. It shows the viewer a direction and that is it. When an artist hand draws a line, even when they try to do so completely straight, there are small missteps and varying points of pressure asserted that cause that line to have meaning and soul. In the end both lines tell you a direction to go in, but the artist’s line shows the observer that you don’t have to be perfect to get there and to me that is more exciting. That’s what life is about.

Please describe your process to us.

I tell everyone that the process is acrylic paint on gallery wrapped canvas outlined in ink and then covered in resin. Really it also involves coming up with the idea of what to actually paint and the color choices as well. Sometimes I will sketch out an idea or work on a smaller starer piece first to make sure that the colors or compositions will work before moving to a larger canvas.

Tell us about your childhood and background?

One of the earliest memories that I have is trying to learn how to color within the lines of the coloring books that I was given as a child before my same-age next door neighbor did. It was a race that I unfortunately lost. We both grew up in the Charlotte NC school system taking art together up through high school and even both studied design at NC State before he passed away before he was 25. I always loved his art and perhaps I create to try and measure up to his creativity and vision.

What would you do if you weren’t an artist?

If I wasn’t painting, I would probably be doing something on the fringes of music. I have no musical ability at all, but I was heavily involved with the Antifolk scene in New York and London in the early 2000’s. This time was very informative to what I attach my identity to and was the inspiration for the art name Brad Antifolk. Not until I started painting in 2017 did I have a part of my life that I associated with myself more of who I am than this time. I was involved with a large website that doubled as many independent musician’s web presence at the time and also a fanzine that released CDs on a quarterly basis. This was a big part of who I was, but I think if I wasn’t involved in painting or art, I would have found a way to make this kind of thing a larger part of my life again.

Any other art shows besides “The Other Art Fair” you took part in this year?

I took part in several art fairs including the Other Art Fairs in Dallas and LA. I also just got back from Miami Art Week where I showed in the Spectrum Miami show at Wynwood. Other than that, I stayed very local showing at the Vandergriff Festival in Arlington and the Denton Jazz and Art festival among others.

What is next for you? Any plans for the future?

I am not totally sure what will happen next. I do know that I have a lot of ideas creatively that I want to explore in my work. I would like to travel outside of DFW to show more often than I had in the past. And Lastly I would like to have either a more permanent studio or gallery to show work out of locally.

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