Mark Branford’s art practice is very detailed and labor intensive. He says it’s the time needed to slow down so he can hear himself think. A time to listen to the quiet voice. The voice that has the most interesting ideas. As artists, we have to understand our own individual practice. Learning to figure out how to manage our time to produce artwork and live. The divide, the balancing act. In the craziness to mange our lives, often our minds are pushed to limits, Branford is a reminder that we need to discover that internal space inside you.
Looking at his surroundings, Bradford looks through the many layers of discarded papers to find recycled memories. He explores the many different layers of living in the black community. He picks and scrapes the signs off the walls and gates. Those collections of papers are his resource materials to create large colleges that take on the look of large scale paintings. Bradford is proud to say he entered the art world through the doors of his mother’s beauty salon. He attributes making her salon signs as the first steps in becoming a “MAKER”, not just an artist. Starting out, Bradford said he had no idea about abstract-expressionism? Or who Bell Hooks or Cornell West were? Grad school was were he discovered artists through reading, writing, theory, and art practice. Although grad school has a heavy work load and tests the strength of artist it is a great foundation and door to walk through to the world of art makers. The balance is and can be accomplished. Mark Bradford has achieved it.