Emerging Visual Artists: Sam Bradley

As a part of Visible Ink’s Enterprise program, we support young and emerging visual artists to scale their work to suit large sites and submit an Expression of Interest. This year five young artists worked with Jugglers and Brightsiders to submit their EOI to Brisbane Canvas. They were successful in their designs being incorporated over two sites during the Brisbane Street Art Festival.

We’d like to introduce you to the artists that have turned out some amazing designs during this program, including Sam Bradley, who uses traditional signwriting techniques to create custom calligraphy and lettering.

You first got involved with Visible Ink through the Visible Ink Emerging Visual Artists (EVA) program, what was that like?

I really enjoyed the opportunity of working with The Brightsiders team (Jordan & Jordy) and Emily of Frank and Mimi fame. They were all extremely welcoming and made the whole project an important and valuable learning experience. The time spent spraying and brushing up the Jugglers driveway poured metho on my creative fire and painted my greymatter full colour.  It’s been surreal seeing these professionals work and teach up close, the techniques, tricks and attitude they taught will always be remembered.

I’d also like to thank everyone at Visible Ink and Jugglers Art Space (shoutout to Pete) for giving us a place to scribble and learn. And of course, a big thanks to Imogene Peach and Ashley Peel for their contributions and motivation in bringing our mural to life!

What are you currently working on, project-wise?

Currently I’m putting together a series of T-shirt screenprint designs for Velvet Couch Clothing, an Aussie streetwear company run by Gerard Ahrens who supports all kinds of creative talent worldwide.

What do you do and why did you choose to go down this path? 

I like to make original hand lettering focused design work combining traditional media with graphics programs. I also enjoy hand painted signwriting. There’s something about handmade letters that add a humanity to the work, no font licenses, the possibilities are endless and hopefully it can’t become obsolete when the robot overlords take over, ha ha!

What would you say led you to where you are today? 

I’ve enjoyed drawing and graphic design most of my life but didn’t get completely immersed until I saw a signwriter gold-gilding a sign at the pub next to a pizza shop I worked at. Now I’m just trying to get as skilled as possible, and make as many (arguably) beautiful things as possible until my inevitable demise. There’s so many talented artists painting walls in Brisbane and obviously on Instagram, that quality inspiration is everywhere you look.

Is there any advice you wish you’d been given before you started in this field? 

Just start drawing. I think a lot of people (myself included) are scared of being bad at something but the great people you see now just pushed through the self doubt of it. I’d recommend buying a ream of A4 paper, as many kinds of pens as you can and copy your favourite art styles as a reference. By the 500th sheet of paper you’ll probably have some good stuff. Also make sure you’re actually enjoying it and taking chances which will reflect in the work.

The best advice I’ve been given is to just keep working consistently and don’t compare yourself to others too much. Everyone has a unique style and once you harness that it’s a secret weapon – no one can do better.

What do you get up to in your down time? 

I love skating, cooking, stand up comedy, hanging out, mashing around town on a bicycle listening to heavy hip hop and learning old school signwriting techniques.

How would you suggest young people get involved in similar opportunities such as EVA?

Keep an eye out online by following your favourite artists locally and abroad, go to events in your city and visit Jugglers Art Space on a Saturday for a paint sesh.

Where can people get in touch with you?

I mostly post work at www.instagram.com/beradsdesign or www.berads.com, check it out y’all. Or if you want to meet Sam in person come along Sunday 15 April, 10am-4pm at Toombul Skatepark – 46 Parkland Street, Nundah – as a part of Brisbane Street Art Festival and funded by Brisbane Canvas to see his work.