Adrian Bradbury was really inspired by the old air fix kits and when he realized what was possible with digital photography and photo editing programs, it became a sort of addiction.
I’ve been doing motorsport prints for the last ten years. My professional background was in photography – something that I’ve always found very motivating. I worked as an advertising photographer in London, long before digital photography was used. Occasionally, I would cover Formula 1 and 3 races. But, unfortunately, that wasn’t part of my normal working life. As well, I used to compete in racing years ago. I’d always wanted to do something with my photographs that I had taken over the years and it has grown into what I do now!
Since then, I’ve picked up on digital and learned the art of Photoshop. You can do so much more with an image when you use digital photography. A lot of my work, particularly some of the more modern cars depicted at night, is based on old air fix kits. The model kit illustrations really inspired most of these prints.
Would you consider yourself a self-taught artist?
When I realized what was possible with digital photography and photo editing programs, it was sort of addictive for me. I couldn’t learn it fast enough. As I started to get involved in more graphic design work in the workplace, I really learned so much about digital techniques. The idea of collaging images together was possible all of a sudden in ways that it hadn’t been before. Even though my work before photography was in fine arts, I prefer using the camera and adapting the same kind of ideas that one might use in painting for photography.
Some of your recent work seems to include a lot of architectural design. Are there any artists that inspire you?
The American abstract expressionist painter named Robert Motherwell is of great import and inspiration to me. His style of collaging images has always been a part of what I do from when I was a student. Studying Robert’s work with photomontage really inspired me. In the 1990’s, when I had really begun to form my personal style, this type of art led me to attain new freelance and contract graphic work, allowing me to really explore and develop my style. In the early and mid 2000’s, I was doing work for Design Week and TimeOut magazine in London. I worked alongside some architects doing work for a group called Digital Vision as well.
While my style has changed since that time, the essence is still there. I like to build a picture out of almost nothing. It’s important to me that the majority of my work is comprised of and created from my own photography. There are only two or three pieces in my portfolio that contain images that wHe shares his story on how he started eren’t taken by me. That’s an important part of my personal style. In particular the motorsport pieces are comprised of my own photography. That said I will use outside photographs for commission pieces when the occasion calls for it. But as a general rule I do prefer to use my own photography.
You mentioned that at a certain point you were creating art because you just wanted to create, not for commercial purposes. Tell me about the balance between creating commercial art and maintaining your creative integrity.
At times, it is difficult to maintain. I’m not in a position where I can just create for the sake of creating quite yet. But I also think it’s good to have changes in one’s work. For instance, I was doing magazine editorial photography in the 80’s and 90’s. Eventually, I started to feel bogged down because my work became so formulaic. White background, fashion shots, day in and day out. It made me feel snow blind. I need the extra stimulus to do something else. I’m not at my best when I couldn’t create. So, while working at the magazine, I would go home after work and lay out tables in my garage with photographs and paint and just bits of stuff that seemed useful. And then I started making collages, as if I were back in college again. And then that started to generate some work. I had some exhibitions, which also started to generate new ideas. I so much prefer that kind of fluidity.
I find the speed, the clarity, and the immediacy of digital photography really wonderful. I can have an idea and go out and shoot as much or as little as I’d like without having to think about how much film I’m using or what it will cost to process it. In terms of maintaining the integrity of my prints, I think the important thing to do is stick to the basics. Make sure that your limited edition prints are limited and that you are maintaining the value of your product as such. One thing that I struggle with is pricing. I’ve learned fairly quickly about how my art sells and what sells. For instance, one of my more successful pieces is the Porsche 917. That image always seems to move, no matter where I go. Iconic cars like that and Ferrari tend to go quite quickly. People recognize them and that familiarity appeals.
Something else wonderful about digital photography is being able to sell my work digitally. For instance, selling an individual a file with an image that they can have printed somewhere closer to home. It saves a lot of money on material and shipping but unfortunately there are some image protection and copyright issues there.
I have a fascination with art and with creating new images. I’d love to get into working with records and album covers in the future. Music is a passion for me. The interesting thing is that I have a much better appreciation of graphics and typography through developing my art.