We had the good fortune of connecting with Bradley Hankey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bradley, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I would say the most important factor behind my success would be my disciplined approach to my studio life as an artist. I have placed a priority on studio time in my life. It really is all about the art in the end, so I feel it’s essential to be producing quality work. Late hours in the studio often means making sacrifices in other areas of life, but for me, it has been the only way. I believe in focusing on what we want, and doing what it takes to get there. I also believe that developing strong relationships with people is fundamental. Remember people’s names; follow up after events; send thank you notes and flowers. There are so many people that help us on the way up, and it is so important to say “thank you.”
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am an oil painter, and I have been painting the Los Angeles area since 2009. I am stunned every day by the beauty in the world around me. I’m excited about my current show – I have a group of large-scale aerial paintings of Los Angeles titled “Electric Embrace” on display at Skidmore Contemporary Art in Santa Monica. The paintings are based on reference photos I took while on a helicopter ride over Los Angeles. This was a thrilling experience, and the helicopter provided me with a new way to see Los Angeles. My paintings are all about color to me, and most of my paintings references natural light. I’m used to looking up – my compositions have always involved a lot of sky, with sunsets taking center stage in my recent work. With this series, I was in the sky looking down, and instead of finding color in the sky, I found it in the city lights. This is all about the artificial lights of the city, and the patterns that it creates on the ground. My paintings come together over many weeks and months, with each painting consisting of many layers. The process itself becomes about push and pull, emotional fatigue, late nights in the studio, and eventually, the sense of fulfillment of seeing the completed works. My goal is to reproduce the emotional experience that I felt in the moment that inspired me. Filmmaker Eric Minh Swenson made a film about this body of work, which can be seen on my website. “Electric Embrace” is on view at Skidmore Contemporary Art until March 20, 2021.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love to watch the sunset. There are lots of great places to do that in LA, but one of my favorite locations is Mulholland Drive. There are a couple of different view points with amazing vistas. As the sun goes down, the city lights start to sparkle. I have gotten reference photos for several paintings up there. For food, we love El Cholo in Santa Monica, one of our favorite restaurants. The Little Easy is a great New Orleans-themed spot near my studio downtown, great for food and drinks. I always take visitors to the Getty Center because it feels like an elevated experience. Bergamot Station in Santa Monica is a great place for art openings, with multiple art galleries in the same area. For a weekend getaway, we love The Mission Inn in Riverside, a historic Mission Revival style hotel. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to give a shoutout to my partner, David Dodds, and to my art dealers, Lia Skidmore and Sue Greenwood. David has supported me and my work in so many ways, that it’s hard to see how any of this would be possible without him. David and I went to Skidmore Contemporary Art on our second date, and he introduced me to Lia Skidmore, my long-time art dealer. I’ve been showing with Lia for over eight years now. I have also known Sue Greenwood since the early days of my career, and have been showing with her since 2018. My career wouldn’t be where it is today without the support of these three people.