Bold brushstrokes, strong movement, and saturated colours permeate the artwork of painter Brad Kenny. The rich expression that Kenny’s work is known for is more than a style, but a language onto itself. Born in Epsom, Surrey in the U.K. and obtaining both his MA and BA with Honors in Fine Art from the University of Chichester, Kenny has developed his distinct style by approaching art as a unique form of communication. As a dyslexic artist, Kenny is drawn to crafting brushstrokes and paint into visual messages that convey his ideas and emotions more clearly than any words in a sentence could. The limitless expression possible through art gives Kenny a language to more deeply explore and articulate his subjects. Through developing his own visual language composed of abstraction, distortion, and bold colors, Kenny visualizes subjects such as individual experience, emotion, and identity, whether in his more abstract works or his portraiture.
1) Which art movement do you consider most influential on your practice?
This is quite a difficult question as so many different elements of art movements have influenced me at some time or another, big or small. But for me the biggest movement is “Impressionism” and “Post-Impressionism”, it must have been an exciting and empowering time for artists, making it less about the narrative and more about the art, the skill and creativity.
2) Where do you go and when to make your best art?
I work best on my art in my studio, it is the one place where I can truly let loose and create. It is the place where the chaos can roam free and get messy. It’s often through the mess of paint I see different ways to impact the canvas with different layers, marks and colours.
3) How do you describe your 'creative process'?
When it comes to my subject matter it’s usually a story or a look that catches my attention. After gathering a collecting of images, I narrow it down to which images would make a great painting. I then sketch onto canvas and begin a process of layering different colours and marks. A favorite part is adding the initial colours to the blank canvas when the painting is nothing and yet it can become anything. When painting it can often begin as a chaotic process before I bring order to the canvas until it reaches that point where I can do no more. My other favorite phase is framing. Framing can really elevate a painting a piece of artwork into a finished masterpiece.
4) Which artist, living or deceased, is the greatest inspiration to you?
I love Jenny Saville’s works, the way she manipulates paint and colour to bring a reality to her abstract subjects are stunning. I admire Andrew Salgado’s work. His confidence in breaking barriers in using paint and adding different mediums speaks for itself. I appreciate Francis Bacon’s, use of colour and composition. His subjects create an impact and impression on the viewer. Some of his pieces are so raw and ugly but you can’t not study them. Christian Hook creates subjects that exist with interesting, abstracted layers and marks of paint, and often in a suggested nature for the viewer to puzzle together.
5) If you weren't an artist, what would you do?
As, I enjoy making things with my hands I’d probably would have become a carpenter or a professional picture framer. I have learned to make frames for my art which I really enjoy. When framing you need to have some carpentry skill and an artistic eye to know what would go with what artwork.
6) What do you listen to for inspiration?
When I am in my studio I listen to audiobooks, documentaries, and comedy. But when it comes to painting, I listen to a lot of different music genres which feed the expression I want my painting to give. It can also be difficult at times working in solitude in a studio, so motivational videos on YouTube can help.
7) If you could own one artwork, and money was no object, which piece would you acquire?
I would love to own the painting “Stare” by Jenny Saville. Since I was at college, university and even now I still find myself still looking at this painting, discovering new marks and colours within it. I love that it has this touch of reality and abstraction within the portrait, and it still works.
8) If your dream museum or collection owner came calling, which would it be?
I would love to have a series of works in the Moma, I love the collection and I love New York, so to be with them would be an honor.
9) What is your key piece of advice for artists embarking on a fine art or creative degree today?
Just have fun, no fears, no worries, let your creativity run free and see where it can take you, it might surprise you.
10) What is your favourite book of all time (fiction or non fiction)?
I love the “TALKART” book by Russell Tovey and Robert Diament. There is so much within one book and enjoy the interaction during each interview which makes you question your own views and understanding with the artwork.
11) If you could hang or place your artwork in one non traditional art setting, where would it be?
I think somewhere big and public in a big city street like London or New York, a place where the public could enjoy it, where viewers who aren’t in the artworld wouldn’t feel intimidated or excluded like they might in some galleries.
12) What was the biggest lesson your university course or time studying taught you?
I was never meant to have gone to university, being severely dyslexic and after retaking my GCSE’s at college in order to get onto the University BA Fine Art course, I still didn’t have the grades needed, but the tutors saw my potential and decided to overlook my grades due to my art portfolio. I went on to graduate with a 1st in my degree and I learned to not worry about what I can’t do and focus on what I am good at.
13) And finally, if we were to fast forward 10 years, where would we find you?
I would like to be a more established artist with works in many galleries, to be working internationally on unique, exciting project and exhibits. I would love to have a larger studio where I can create large scale painting, exhibiting in collections with well-known artists. To make a living out of my career to properly fund my parents in their retirement and to support a loving family. I would also like to make my own opportunities where I can create some interesting atmospheres for my works to exhibit in.
Learn more about Brad and discover his collection of paintings.