Artist Profile: Brad Robson

SYDNEY-BASED PAINTER BRAD ROBSON UP-SCALES HIS CANVAS TO INVIGORATE URBAN SPACE. ROSY LEAKE WRITES.

Brad Robson describes himself as an abstract painter and muralist. But stand beneath one of his monolithic works and you get the feeling that there must be some grander term to describe what he does. Painting seems too delicate and large-scale does no justice to the presence they have in their urban environments.

As a self-taught artist, Brad’s practice is a continuous process of research-based experimentation in which scale is defied and urgency is potent. Brad says his work has become a dissection of freedom in which public perception and self-reflection are challenged. With a vivid colour palette and an unconventional selection of tools the artist constantly reinvents his practice by introducing new techniques, materials and contexts for his work. Urban spaces, the human psyche and pop-culture are all major influences for Robson and while he originally studied graphic design and illustration, expressionist abstract painting has become his passion.

Brad paints to live and to feel alive, he says, “I’m never scared to fuck it up because, with a fear of that kind, the painting won’t reach its truest form.” His work exists in the spaces in between. The fluidity of the instant moment between recognition and abstraction; reality and potential; past and present is a constant muse for Brad.

While he works mostly within the comforts of his purpose-built Marrickville studio, the large scale of his works has often forced him to seek larger canvases. Recent works include a 14-metre-high portrait in a rural district of Barcelona; a commanding mural adorning the Vintage Los Feliz Theatre in Los Angeles; and a monochromatic roof top mural in the Lower East Side of New York City. Walls, buildings and pavements have become his canvas and act as portals for introspection and perception. Yet within these large city landscapes Brad’s abstract portraits command attention. The beauty of Brad’s work lies in its ability to harmonise the vibrancy of New York City and blaring Post Punk New Wave music with quiet moments of self-reflective humanity.

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