Painting from a live sitter, a photograph, a forgotten artifact, or filming his artistic process while painting portraits of exceptional artists, are all energizing sources for Bradford J. Salamon. Tapping into a rich palette of information, the artist transforms the essence of direct painting through layers of skill, memories, emotions and soulful passions. His art overflows with vibrant possibilities; a 21st-century vision rendered through multiple and diverse processes, media and tools.
Salamon, whose works are on display now in the exhibition "California Masters: Bradford J. Salamon: Works from the Hilbert Collection" at the Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University, will give a free illustrated talk on his life, work and technique on Thursday, February 15 at 7 p.m. in the Hilbert Museum. Seating is limited and is first-come, first-served; doors will open to the public at 6 p.m.
Salamon is known for his figurative paintings and drawings of individuals and groups who engage in profound human scenarios. Currently, he expands his repertoire to include intimate portraits of vintage objects of yesteryear -- some of which are currently on display at the Hilbert -- as well as films about artists and the nature of creativity. Knowing that content cannot be conveyed in just one work of art, or expressed in only one medium, Salamon has found his personal solution. While portraiture is one of the oldest subjects, Salamon brings a newer dimension to the tried and true art. He renders in-depth views of each sitter: a biographical approach, a dialogue as he captures the many aspects of the sitter through multi-media in various sessions.
The artist, who never lacks for commissions, prefers to choose a sitter, rather than have someone ask him “to do” a portrait. Those he decides to portray in depth are people he highly admires – creative artists, writers, and musicians. In this approach, the artist builds a stockpile of reflections, capturing ever-evolving nuances of character, personality, drama, and story. He gets into the psyche of the sitter, painting a more accurate reality of each person he portrays.
Salamon combines traditional techniques with documentation to celebrate a person’s life. His biographical approach results in a rich bounty of art that deepens the relationship between sitter and artist. Once the many works of art concerning one person are assembled, the soul of the sitter and the soul of the artist can more truthfully emerge.