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CHARACTER AND PERSONALITY: Local artist Bradley Carter talks his process of painting, opens show this week at Art in Bloom

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Bradley Carter doesn’t have the patience to churn out one series of work at a time. No, he has the tenacity and multitasking gumption to create three at once. “Colors of Expression” is the name of his latest show opening at Art in Bloom, which will be three-in-one, actually, showcasing his talent in abstract, expressionistic and impressionistic painting.

FLORAL IMPRESSION #38 JUST SMILE: 'Colors of Expression' feature abstract, expressionistic and impressionistic paintings by Bradley Carter at Art in Bloom. Courtesy photo

FLORAL IMPRESSION #38 JUST SMILE: ‘Colors of Expression’ feature abstract, expressionistic and impressionistic paintings by Bradley Carter at Art in Bloom. Courtesy photo

A transplant from Richmond, Virginia, in 2007, Carter attended Virginia Commonwealth University with degrees in painting and printmaking. Yet, he found himself entrenched in a different side of life until 2013, franchising businesses like Little Caesars and even running Port City Extreme. However, creating was always his passion. He has exhibited locally at the The Art Council of Wilmington and NHC, WHQR, Leland Cultural Arts Building, Landfall, Arboretum, and from Virginia to California.

“I have been a full-time practicing artist since 2014,” he explains. Carter has shown at Eclipse Gallery on Racine Drive, Myrtle Beach Museum, and even has a rotating installation hanging at The George on the riverwalk for four years strong now. In between painting he makes farmhouse-style furniture

We interviewed Carter about “Colors of Expression,” which will open December 7, 6 p.m., and hang through January 5.

encore (e): Tell me about your latest series and what it is representative of.

Bradley Carter (BC): I work in several different series at a time and this show, kind of encompasses the journey of these three series this year. It has my original abstracts, which have been my main body of work, study, and passion since about 2000, derived from abstract expressionism, color theory and process art, as I focus on the form, color, line, and texture to create a composition, also emphasizing on the personal interaction of art and artist.

The next series is “Memories of Us,” which focuses on silhouetted figures, textured surface and color to represent captured moments that define our lives.

The last series, “Floral Impressions,” which focuses more heavily on process art and that “just be happy” attitude as they are created to bring color, light, and fun to the viewers.

e: What were some of its inspirations and what media did you use?

BC: My inspirations are all usually inspired through my personal journey and trying to relay that emotion of the moment into the painting through different techniques.

Other outside influence that can be seen in or correlated to my art is music or musicality, dance with its fluidity, and symbolism of color.

My main media is acrylic because of its wide variety of application and somewhat due to my impatient creating process. This is another reason why I work in several different series at a time, distracting myself with another painting allows the art a chance breath and develop without overworking it. I also use paint skins application, resin, different mediums, and fillers, and furniture-making [stuff, like wood and iron pipes].

e: So some paintings look like dancing lines upon layers of paint and others poppy fields of flowers. Why the contrast?

BC: I touched on this a little earlier but I work in several series at a time for many different reasons. One being understanding my processes and weaknesses, again I can be an impatient painter; therefore I need to give myself built-in breaks and distractions so I don’t overwork something.

Also, I believe an artist shouldn’t limit themselves to one subject or style; you wouldn’t want to listen to the same one song forever. Another reason is the different processes and mediums help convey different emotions for me, and also stimulate new processes and fulfill a need to create, which most of us “artists” suffer from. Seriously, art is a very therapeutic experience for me and many people out there, as it helps us relate and digest the world through self expression.

e: Tell us a little about how color inspires your art; you have both warm and cool colors represented here. How do you find yourself choosing your palette?

BC: OK—I love it. I love the power of color, the meanings of color, the historic origins of color, the natural associations of color, psychological symbolism. Did I say I love color? For me, primarily working as an abstract expressionist, and trying to convey emotion and a cohesive composition, color is a very powerful tool. Creating the correct palette for a painting is an interesting process, as the under-paintings sometimes can have no similarities to the final composition. But what it does do is start the dialogue and direction; it’s focusing on the meanings of color or working the colors together or against each other to create different shades and movements of the colors.

e: Your work includes a lot of layering; what do you hope to evoke in this process?

BC: Yes, for me it is important for the painting to have something more to it, a deeper meaning behind the surface image. I want the painting to have a history to it, similar to us where it helps define it and the journey. Where the viewer can look at it and wonder what used to be there: Is that hint of blue? What led to that scar in the corner? I feel it helps give the painting character and personality.

e: What’s been the most challenging and most rewarding aspect of choosing art and passion over just any ol’ job­—or do you currently have a day job, too?

BC: No day job any longer and I hope to never have one again, but not because it wasn’t good. I enjoyed that time very much, but as you stated in the question “passion” and my art, creating, being involved and surrounded by the arts is just that.

I am very fortunate to be able to do what I’m doing now. Some of it is because of the journey and the things you do to get to that point, but a lot of it is because of the people in my life that support and encourage me. My wife, my family, my friends—I could not do this without them.

No person’s journey is singular in its path with success without a network of support. I know it sounds cliché but you just can’t be successful in life without it, and I hope I try to represent them well and pay back and forward to help others along the way—which is one of the reasons with this show we’ve partnered with New Hanover Regional Medical Center Betty H. Cameron Women’s and Children’s Hospital. We will raise money through a raffle and donate a percentage of [art] sales.

e: What’s new for you in 2019: goals, change of pace in design and approach to art or business?

BC: Art business is crazy and fast paced, and you have to stay in front of it—whether it’s applying to  national art call, proposals for galleries or the grant-writing process. Personally, I’ve applied to several show calls in the first half of 2019 here on the East Coast and have a solo set up for March with Intracoastal Reality for Fourth Friday. I just confirmed with the Wilmington Art Association to be their speaker in March.

I still plan on being active with all of our local show exhibition teams and the high school art show.

I love what I’m doing, it’s exciting, a little overwhelming when things work out and take on a life of their own, but then extremely disappointing when things don’t work out. But that’s the nature of this business, very subjective; you try not to get too high or too low. Just remind yourself why you create. For me, it’s who I want to be when I close my eyes, and it’s through it I feel I can make a difference.

Colors of Expression
Opening Fri., December 7, 6 p.m.
Art in Bloom • 210 Princess St.

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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