Katherine Bradford’s Paintings are a Breath of Fresh Air

If you’re at all familiar with contemporary painters, chances are you’ve run into Katherine Bradford’s work. Recognized mainly for her paintings of swimmers and superheroes, her naive paintings have been exhibited in prestigious galleries and museums like the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (solo), MoMA PS1, and Brooklyn Museum.

Painted using striking color combinations, Bradford’s paintings make for a dramatic effect. But her art is all the more outstanding when you learn of her unconventional background. A self-taught artist, it was only by the age of 37 that Bradford took a leap of faith, facing her intrinsic artistic passion— head-on.

“I was really in the closet about how deeply I felt about making paintings,” she admitted in an interview with Hyperallergic. “The barn was my studio, I was doing mark-making paintings. I had not gone to art school or taken any foundation classes. So my idea of painting was to dip the brush in paint and put it on the canvas.”

At 37 and despite the disapproval from her family, Bradford moved to New York City. A single mother, she would go on to pursue art in closer contact with contemporary painting discourse, eventually enrolling in graduate studies.

Now an esteemed artist, her work, and her life story, will serve to inspire you.