Less than two years ago, Dylan and Amanda Bradway established DNA Galleries in the historic Plaza District of Oklahoma City. Since then, their space has become a hub for urban contemporary art, exposing lovers of the craft to the unique style, as well as giving artists an outlet for their craft.
“There are a lot of young artists who are very talented and trying to make their way,” Dylan says. “That’s who we’re trying to support, the younger artists, so they don’t have to move somewhere else and try to make it in another city. They can have a good art career here.”
Dylan and Amanda studied graphic design at the University of Central Oklahoma and lived in Edmond for years. Married at 21, and now in their mid-twenties, the artist couple uses DNA Galleries as a home, as well as a studio.
“Amanda has been the head of DNA Galleries, putting the store together and doing most of the footwork for it,” Dylan says. “Amanda’s been kind of the backbone.”
At her second job, Amanda works with her father, Scott Weathers, at Weathers TV in Edmond. The business has been there for more than 50 years; her grandfather started it and still works there.
Influenced by storybooks, graffiti culture and Dr. Seuss, Dylan’s droopy, gray humanoids are endearing and instantly recognizable, as are Amanda’s Asian-infused characters.
“Growing up, I was very interested in graffiti art and urban art. When I got to college, I was interested in the illustration style instead of fine art and painting. I guess you could call it the low brow, urban art scene,” Dylan says. He uses clean lines and mixes textured, layered backgrounds with flat color planes and detailed line work. “Amanda got me hooked on using wood as a canvas. Once I got interested in that, it kind of sprung to life,” he says.
Dylan took his artwork to Germany in September. “It was a successful show. I sold six or seven pieces and a bunch of prints and shirts,” he says.
“I’ve been through many different styles in the last few years,” Amanda says. “Artists on the west coast inspired me to paint on wood. I like the way you can see the wood grain underneath, so I started playing with that.” She works with feeling, with an image she sees in her head. Next, she plans to focus on a theme, like women dressed as animals or woman-animal hybrids.
Amanda makes necklaces and wood bracelets featuring her characters. She recently showed her work at the Girly Show and is planning a trunk show for spring. “This year, I want to have one big show at 611 Creative; do a bunch of really big, nice work and make it a big production,” she says. She will start off the series with painted longboard decks.
Amanda recently did a group show with 25 artists. Each artist painted a longboard deck and more than half of them sold. “The art scene here is very communal. I think artists in Oklahoma City are as competitive in quality as artists from anywhere else.” She and Dylan travel a lot and they agree art from Oklahoma is often better than it is in
“There is this energy here to support local artists,” she says. “That’s what we’re trying to do at DNA Galleries, to help people appreciate art that isn’t traditional and make a market for that here, where people don’t just look at it and say, ‘That’s weird.’ They look at it and appreciate that it’s different and appreciate the technique and maybe spend some money on it.”
What began as a showcase for local artists has grown to include regional and national talent. The 2010 schedule is already completely booked, and includes an artist from Germany. The studio is also a store for artist-produced goods, like clothing and accessories. DNA Galleries hosts openings for artists the second Friday of every month as part of the “LIVE! On the Plaza” artwalk, from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m., with live music and a catered bar.
Artists interested in showing their work at DNA Galleries are encouraged to send an e-mail to email@example.com or bring in a sample of their pieces to 1705 B N.W. 16th St. For more information, visit www.dnagalleries.com.