When you meet Bradley Gordon, you quickly pick up something in him deeply Southern, and yet also intriguingly eclectic. The Oxford, Mississippi, painter’s journey reflects that dynamic as well. He grew up on a family farm, but later in life taught art in Japan and spent some time as a DJ. It’s the sum of all his diverse experiences that he conveys in his work – interpreting wildlife in the South with such a vibrant expression.
We caught up with Bradley to learn more about what’s beyond his canvas.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I grew up on a cotton farm in the Mississippi Delta (Clarksdale) where I spent most of my days hunting and fishing, working on one of my junky motorcycles or helping out in the fields. Everyone in my family farms, but it didn’t take me long to realize that my passion was elsewhere. I turned to music at an early age and helped feed myself through college with it. At university I studied art education and taught for about 10 years. I have always painted on the side, but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I decided to give it a go as a career.
What drew you to art in the first place?
As a child on a farm, I had access to numerous tools. I worked very closely alongside my father and learned so many of the problem-solving skills that I use to create today. Maybe that was where my urge started? While teaching, I worked in numerous mediums with my students, but painting has always been special to me. My favorite artists are painters so I’ve always been drawn to the process. Though I painted quite a bit while living overseas (Taiwan and Japan), it wasn’t until I returned home that I really began to focus on learning how I paint.
Who or what inspires you?
The South. Mississippi and everything that makes this unique place my home. The Delta. Family and Friends. My wonderfully unique childhood and the many experiences that one could only have growing up on a farm.
What role does the South play in your work?
Everything. It’s about growing up here. Living here. “Yes ma’ams” and “no sirs.” The beauty in its nature and the respect and love for everything that makes this place my home. When it comes to my subject matter, I’m not so sure that it was me doing the choosing, rather it chose me. It wasn’t until I returned home to the Delta that this idea of painting the regional animals crept into my mind. It just made sense. These animals are iconic, they’re Mississippi, they’re part of my home and family. We are really blessed in this part of the world to be in such close contact with such amazing creatures. For me, they’re the perfect subject to explore these ongoing conversations [about culture in the South].
How can people see and own your work?
They can visit my website or if in Mississippi, they can visit The Fischer Galleries. I also have work hanging in the Atlanta and Dallas Billy Reid stores. Of course, I work on commission as well. I really enjoy working with individuals to create a unique piece special to them that will last a lifetime.