If you ask Joe Bradley how he became interested in art, this is what he will say:
“ I've always enjoyed drawing. When I was a kid, I would draw all the time. Cars, monsters, naked girls... fantasy stuff. When I got to school I didn't know anything about painting. My main area of interest at the time was comics. I was really into Chas Addams. I think I could have made it as a gag cartoonist, but somehow painting took over. I still love alot of the stuff I was loving 15 years ago, but I'm always looking for something new too.”
Although it is sometimes difficult to uncover direct references to comics in Bradley’s recent paintings, this is a lot easier in his drawings on paper. It is a technique which the artist loves using and which plays a key role in his paintings. Following on his early interest in comics, he sometimes invites his friends’ children to work with him on some of his drawings, notably for a fanzine called Tuff Stuff.
Nevertheless, there is clearly still something childlike in Bradley’s paintings, something linked to the energy emerging from the true pleasure of painting and the use of motifs that can seem slightly regressive, primitive or poorly executed, like giant doodles.
But as Joe Bradley himself says, he does not like repeating himself. He will focus on one or other series of works for a while before moving on to other motifs. He has no fixed programme in particular, and is happy to follow the natural evolution of his work, which leads him wherever it so pleases.