Art By Dylan
Artist, Dylan Bradway’s work is distinct and unmistakable. His droopy, stylized characters with sloping eyes and surreal proportions have become a trademark of his already celebrated career. But if his track record shows anything, it’s that he’s just getting started.
Influenced by styles accrued from Dr. Seuss and “Sesame Street,” as well as urban graffiti art, Bradway’s pieces are cartoony, yet mature, focusing mainly on the fantastic characters who step from his imagination and into the physical world via paintbrush.
Though they don’t have names, each figure is definitely unique and symbolizes something far deeper than the 2D iterations that hang on his walls.
“My work is meant to display a type of emotion, but through a character or a kind of being,” Bradway said. “Each one of my characters has a different sense about them; they have their own personality.”
Instead of canvas, Bradway paints on wood, a practice adopted from his artist wife, Amanda Weathers-Bradway. The technique allows for new dimension and textures, which add more points of interest to his already eye-catching catalogue.
He’s studied realism and has accomplished realist pieces, but the allure of drawing something entirely new and unknown keeps his portfolio looking more like a storybook and less like a photo album.
“I would rather create something out of just my mind, rather than look at something and try to recreate it,” he said. “I like to draw things that have never been drawn or painted before.
Bradway graduated from UCO’s graphic design program in 2006, and was selected for the award for excellence in design offered to only one graduating senior each semester. He also took third place at the Square Magazine art show, put on by Artifacts Gallery in Tulsa.
The idea of creating artwork first caught his attention in high school. His mother was very artistic when Bradway was growing up, and her influence readied him for the craft that is now his career. It wasn’t long before his inclinations tipped to the realm of graphic art because it offered him a lot more creative freedom and it was just more fun, plus it took the crux of his income off simply creating and selling.
This is why, in addition to his stylized paintings, Bradway contributes to art direction and design for print and web at Staplegun Design, an in-house ad agency with clients ranging from Kirkpatrick Bank to Café 501.
He and his wife, Amanda, recently secured a studio/living space in OKC’s budding Plaza District at 16th Street and Indiana, which they also use as a gallery for small art shows. Narrow, but long with high ceilings, its walls display not only their own work, but works of, and collaborations with well-known peers like Josh Heilaman and Samantha Lamb.
Artistic collaboration and consultation is common and essential for Bradway and his wife, not only with each other, but also with others in the artist community as well.
“Creative criticism helps a lot because at certain points, you just get stuck,” Bradway said. “Even if you don’t do what they suggest, it can spark an idea and really finish out your piece.”
He said there’s a huge need for artists to work together to make the arts community noticed by the rest of the country.
“I would much rather see artists strive here and just show the world that Oklahoma is not a boring state. There’s just so much creativity and potential for the artists that are here. There are so many great artists…[and] there are so many people here who are willing to support the arts,” Bradway said.
He and Amanda curate art shows at downtown OKC’s new gallery, 611 Creative. Since its grand opening in the spring, 611 has displayed the work of local painters and photographers, just one more outlet to get the fine art created in the Sooner State noticed by more sets of eyes and hopefully, artists from all over the world.
Bradway’s work is currently on display with that of fellow artist, Chad Mount, in the University Gallery in Oklahoma Christian University’s Garvey Center. The exhibition is open to the public 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until mid-December. The works were previously on display at East Central University in Ada. Bradway’s artwork can also be found at Blue 7 in OKC, and other places around the state.
For more information and samples of Bradway’s artwork, visit www.dnagalleries.com.