I feel like I can more accurately refer to Brad Kahlhamer as an artist crush since I’ve actually met him, had lunch with him, heard him lecture, etc. (one of the many perks of my fellowship is meeting world renowned artists.)
“Brad Kahlhamer fuses an exuberant embrace of expressionist painting with the visionary tradition of Native American art. Drawing from country western and the Native American rock music scene, the artist’s visionary landscapes swirl with an atavistic energy; the paintings seem to have a sound that accompanies their visual rhythm.” (read more here)
As soon as his piece (see first image below) made its way into the gallery, I was Immediately intrigued. Brad works in an almost comic bookish style to create narrative works. Brad is Native American but was adopted and raised by German parents, a lot of his work has to do with being in between these two cultures. I won’t discuss the themes in his work, too much, I think his work speaks for itself. If these images interest you, take a look at his website.
What draws me to his work is his constant play on iconography, which can sometimes be seen as controversial. I love the contrast between the light, delicate washes of watercolor and these dark, crazy, dynamic lines that literally link parts of his paintings together. Lately I’ve been playing around with watercolor, a medium I never really liked, just because of his work. I also love, love, love his use of text and script that he uses.
Other ones that I love:
Note how he handles the crazy hair on this one, and how he leaves white space between the blocks of flesh color on the neck and chest. It could be that I’ve always hated watercolor and guache, but I’ve never thought about using it that way. I’m always over blending and over working and making my colors muddy.
How many faces to you see in this one? I love how he painted the woman’s semi – transparent tights so you can see the flesh tone through them.This is the cover of his catalogue, click the image for more information from Amazon.com
Kachina Dolls. Pretty sweet! If you don’t know anything about Kachina Dolls do a quick google search and read up!