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Ann interviews Julie Bradshaw

Ann: So Julie Bradshaw. We finally got are time to talk. You're a hard lady to pin down, but then again most creative people are very busy aren't they?
Julie Bradshaw: Yes.
Ann: I am Ann Walker Peri and this is for business radio. And I am, well I guess Julie tell me where we are.
Julie Bradshaw: We're in my studio.
Ann: It's a fantastic studio. I mean everywhere you look there's just something. Whether it be like old books or spray cans. I mean look at that clock. Julie Bradshaw just to let everyone know, you're an international artist, you're Oxford Brook's trained, I guess people have been, people would have been lucky enough to see your work; installation art at the Tower of London.
Julie Bradshaw: Yes I did.
Ann: Varies galleries around the world. Also one that you were telling me about, the public art, the timeline on Minster Abby, the Gatehouse Project?
Julie Bradshaw: Yes, yes, yes.
Ann: But gosh, you've done some really amazing things in your lifetime. I mean paintings and sculptures and private collections all over the world. I think I read somewhere, two things that just recently in the last couple of years. One's the Bristle Art Festival?
Julie Bradshaw: Yes. Knockfest international event. I was selected for that.
Ann: You were selected to?
Julie Bradshaw: Myself and my daughter
Julie Bradshaw: It was awesome. Absolutely awesome. Got to meet artists from all around the world that are renowned for their graffiti. Didn't Meet Banksy but then I might have without knowing it because no one knows who he is.
Ann: Well if no one knows who he is yeah. That's quite true. The list goes on I mean you've been nominated for outstanding artist at the 2014 Sea Art Fair. Wow, what, I know you're trained and everything looking around your studio you have such amazing talent.
Julie Bradshaw: Aw thank you.
Ann: I mean where did all this come from?
Julie Bradshaw: I don't know, It's just me. My art is and always has been an integral part of me. Apparently I didn't speak for a long time and they were very worried about me but if you gave me crayons and pencils, things to make things with I just I wasn'it really interested in conversing with anyone else apparently. I just wanted to create art and it's my life's blood. That's how I have to explain it because it's so much more. I have to create most days. Even when I'm out on a walk or go on holiday I don't take a camera I also take paper, pencils and just shove it in my back pocket and I'll just draw things that interest me and from that usually I think: Oh this could happen or maybe I could take it down this path and yeah. Obviously I paint but I do a lot more. I'm very interested ...
Ann: You do, I'm just looking over my shoulder at some of the endangered wild life sculptures as well.
Julie Bradshaw: That's a project that's very close to my heart cause I love wild life. I'm very interested and I'm very lucky to live by the sea and live near some amazing wildlife that I observe. But I'm interested worldwide in animals as well. Conducting a project at the moment which is sorta ongoing because it's very time consuming but I'm painting my car.
Ann: Oh yeah.
Julie Bradshaw: With all endangered species from around the world.
Ann: I've seen that. That's amazing.
Julie Bradshaw: I get a lot of interest from that which gives me opportunity to talk to people and tell them, which animals are endangered and why. Especially children, they want to know why are they endangered and what's happening and that gives me the chance to talk about that. My art enables me to have a voice and find a way of getting a message across to people really. We're gonna lose these wonderful animals and little things you know, even the ugly things like Natorjack Toad, which is a British. We are close to losing that so he went on the car as well even though he's quite ugly. He's not fluffy and cuddly. He's quite bi liked.
Ann: But you know he's living breathing kinda organic, living breathing thing.
Julie Bradshaw: He has his place in the cycle. You know each species helps another one. Either his food or they'll do something that enable another one to eat. It's just an ongoing thing and you know once you start losing some very animals or insects like are Bumble Bee, that's another one. A lot of the Bumble Bees are in deep trouble in England and we need to and the scientist are really working hard trying to make sure cuz if we lose the Bumble Bees we don't get the pollination. And it has a knock on effect.
Ann: It does. It sounds as though ...
Julie Bradshaw: It's part of my life's blood again. That's an element of me that's always there. I'm always looking for ways of creating art and it can be installation art as well, which I find quite, it gets a message across. Murals, I do large scale murals.
Ann: So it's not just painting for paintings sake.
Julie Bradshaw: No.
Ann: To beautify someones office although that has it's place.
Julie Bradshaw: I still do that. I'm an artist I got to make a living haven't I.
Ann: Yes, yes
Julie Bradshaw: I mean it's that juggling thing. Very often when I work with children I'd go into to schools, hospitals I've worked in, The John Radcliffe Hospital. I run an art project, which is working with children that are extremely ill. Terminally ill. That was one of, very big part, it sorta, had a lasting impact on my life really. Working with the parents working with the children. But I make it comical as well cuz very often children go well we want to be an artist you know and I say that's cool you know if you want a really interesting life where you'll get to do lots of interesting things and meet lots of interesting people and maybe play a part in looking after say like the wildlife and things like that then an artist.
Ann: Sure, yeah.
Julie Bradshaw: If your priority is a bit for a Porsche car, or maybe a big swimming pool or a big house or something then unless you get to the very, very top you'll make money. It's a choice and I made that choice that my art was always going to be an integral part and that's the part that ...
Ann: But you've really been privileged to be with one of the last people that these sick children, you know as you said, would see and bringing to the forefront, some difficult, you know sometimes some very difficult topics, as endangered art.
Julie Bradshaw: Yes, yes, yes ...
Ann: Children that are sick.
Julie Bradshaw: Children actually cope with it relatively well I've found while I was working, It's the parents and the grandparents, it's so heart rending you know to be ...
Ann: Of course.
Julie Bradshaw: The actual project was funded by Kids of Art. There was a new, a charity, they were the ones that placed me, bought me the place to work there. Initially, the funding was just for me to work with the children, but it became very clear, quite quickly that the parents ... obviously, with their child, and the grandparents and aunties. It needed to be extended. I went back to them and said, "Can we have some more money?"
They were very kind and gave us more money. We worked, we did some wonderful things. The children were able to create various pieces of art where they put messages in, which they wanted their parents to have after they'd gone. It was ...
Ann: Sweet.
Julie Bradshaw: I came away humbled, is the word I'd perhaps use. It was a ... the nursing staff, and the doctors and nurses were absolutely wonderful. The art therapists, because they have art therapists ...
Ann: Of course they do.
Julie Bradshaw: I thought that it might be a little bit ... come in along here, but they were wonderful as well. We all worked together. It was all for the same purpose, to give these children something else. Some days, I'd work with children down in the day room, because they were well enough to come down. Other times it would have to be by the bed side.
Ann: Of course.
Julie Bradshaw: You had to always have that in your head, with the planning. You plan, but you have to be able to adapt and change.
Ann: Sure.
Julie Bradshaw: That was another experience that I really had a wonderful time. I worked with the young homeless a lot.
Ann: Okay.
Julie Bradshaw: Worked ...
Ann: Again, another kind of social topic that's not always easy to communicate or be received.
Julie Bradshaw: Art is a really good way of communication. That was a centre called the Gap, and the staff were wonderful. I used to go in and run art projects. We had a big exhibition, which ... it was just wonderful. The mayor came, and the young people really were proud. Really were proud of what they'd done. That was, in turn, made me ... I get very emotional. Watching young people that have had quite a hard, not a very nice life up until then and actually seeing some of the staff really work hard with, you know.
Again, it's another aspect that I'm quite interested in. Always bringing art and involving other people. Nobody should ever be shut out. I'm not an artist who just works and then produces. I very much work in the community as well, I like people to ...
Ann: It sounds like you created a big impact on, I would say, every person that you touch. You put so much into your paintings, your sculpting, and then of course, the installation art, the public art. I know we mentioned the gatehouse project. Tell us a little bit about that.
Julie Bradshaw: That was, again, a funded project. I had to go for interview, I was very lucky and got chosen. It was to create a timeline that in this 12th century spiral staircase that went right up to the roof. You can go onto the roof as well to view it.
Ann: I've seen pictures of that, you showed me, yeah.
Julie Bradshaw: I was so excited and privileged to be working in such an amazing place. The staff, again, wonderful. It's managed by volunteers, really, because it's a tiny little museum. It was wonderful. Then obviously this spiral staircase, it starts in mediaeval times, and then works its way up telling the history of Minster, Minster Abbey and the island, really, that we live on. That was amazing. I had a wonderful time. Included, I decided, because I like to include other people, we'd run some competitions, for the schools.
Ann: Okay.
Julie Bradshaw: Got the children to create some artwork where certain pieces were chosen. Then I, myself and my daughter painted their pictures into our artwork, so it become integral to it. They'd got their name on the wall and we had an official opening. The children were, you could see they were so proud. Even now, they bring visitors to that stairwell to show them their artwork.
Ann: That's very special to them.
Julie Bradshaw: Yeah.
Ann: You know, from as long as we go back to cave paintings, art has always been there to story tell. Then middle ages, and the renaissance, and amazing, amazing art just to tell a story, wasn't it?
Julie Bradshaw: It's sort of, I felt, we had to do a lot of research. It's quite funny, because when you're doing public art, you' always have to be aware that there is always going to be somebody come along say, "You don't a bird that's, or you don't get that date," and we'd got a date wrong.
I worked hand in hand with several of the staff, and they did a lot of research as well with me. We got a date wrong. It wasn't a biggie, because I was able to repaint that bit the other day.
Ann: I suppose that's the good thing about painting, you can always change something, right?
Julie Bradshaw: I didn't pay thousands for printing and then go, "oh my goodness! No, that's wrong!"
It was all very much done, it was only slightly out note, a gentleman came and saw it, and said, "I think you've got the dates wrong on that."
We said, "We'll have a look.," and got back in contact with him and said, "You were right! We're going to change it"
Ann: Being an artist, I mean, it's not always about fulfilled, is it.
Julie Bradshaw: No.
Ann: You've shared yourself a lot, but you as a person, because your art is so well received, and obviously seen, what can people kind of deduce from when they look at your art? You have brilliant styles, but there's just such a varied style.
Julie Bradshaw: Yes.
Ann: I know when we think about musicians, oh yes, that's a Tom Petty song, or that's a Tracy M and we know that, you know. That's a Rembrandt. What can we say about your art?
Julie Bradshaw: I think, the way I've talked to people, because people do say that to me when they come to an exhibition, they all say my goodness, it's so diverse. You don't concentrate on one thing. Driven, I think is the word I would use to describe myself, because I'm so interested in many things. I'm interested in people, I love nothing more than sitting in the café with a cup of coffee, drawing different people, and overhearing conversations. I'll draw it, but then they might say something, either is quite touching, it might make me laugh, and I think, I've got to find a way of bringing that in to other than just painting.
Ann: How do you do that?
Julie Bradshaw: Create that, goes into installation pieces. Sometimes I'll use text in my paintings, because I love what somebody's said. I think that's got to go in there. I'll very often do that. That's where I suppose, all these different things evolve from. I did a fine art degree, but would you believe I never picked a paint brush up. I'm actually a self taught painter. We did things like video, film work, photography, black and white photography, which I absolutely loved doing. I love being in the dark room, and watching things, either develop good or not so good.
It was very much, that was my degree, sort of looking at art history, more contemporary art, really. I was really lucky. I got accepted several other places that would have been more painterly degrees, but I had small children, I was a single parent at the time. I had to go where I thought I could manage my family better. Be there for the children, and again, the university was very good, they were very understanding. Yes, I did that, as a mature student, you see. That's another sort of story.
Ann: I bet it is. You have a million stories! I hope that at some point we can maybe put them into little silos and figure out, you know, your kaleidoscope of a woman. You mentioned your daughter, a couple of times, that she helped you. It's quite nice that someone has a talent. IT's kind of passed down whether through the genes or you teaching them as small children. Tell us about your daughter.
Julie Bradshaw: Anna, I've got three daughters, but Anna's the one, is the youngest, and she's the one that's sort of really followed in my footsteps. The other two are very art and creative, and they use it within their jobs. Anna's sort of really sort of come down the path. She works with me on quite a lot of the murals because I can trust her. I'm very, it's public art, it's got to be right.
Ann: It has to be right, of course it does.
Julie Bradshaw: I know that I can say to Anna, can you create, this is what I'd like here, and she sees the same vision as I do, she paints very similar to me. We work well together. We have our arguments, mother and daughter, of course, I thought it would be better with pale pinks and greens or something, and I go, no, no, no, it's got to be ... We always resolve and chat, we get on really well. She's like a best friend, really, my daughter.
Ann: I had the pleasure of meeting her once. She does seem very, very pleasant. Her work is great. I look forward to seeing more of her work.
Julie Bradshaw: Yes, if I can talk her into that. She loves helping me, but it's getting her to see that, actually, you're talented in your own right and you need to develop that, and get your own voice.
Ann: That's a very poignant theme amongst artists, isn't it? We can go back in history, and see that there's insanity or some kind of mental illnesses, even artists from very well to do families, seemingly very healthy, seem to have it all kind of in their pocket. Then we see the artists that have virtually nothing but are still very happy. That is kind of a theme that runs through, having that self confidence.
Julie Bradshaw: Definitely. Self confidence is part of it. I've got some wonderful art friends who are very talented, but they would never dream of painting in public, in front of people, because they're very shy, and feel that their work is absolutely pitch perfect, or turn of phrase, before anyone sees it, where I'm quite happy for people to see, as I'm going. I might make a mistake, and I think, I'll correct that, or that doesn't quite work. I'm quite confident in my ... it's taken years and years.
Ann: I was going to say, were you always that confident?
Julie Bradshaw: No, no.
Ann: You did mention that you didn't talk for quite a while as a child ...
Julie Bradshaw: When I was a child.
Ann: Those crayons did the talking for you.
Julie Bradshaw: Yeah. I still, my worst nightmare is usually the private views. I don't, still, to this day, don't really like being around my work when people come and see it for the first time. As an artist you always think, "Oh god, what if they don't like it? Or That's rubbish ... "
Because art is part of us, it's much more ... you're putting yourself out there, your artwork is very much, you know, it can be quite daunting. I think I am quite, I usually find a corner and hide with a glass of wine.
Ann: Oh dear!
Julie Bradshaw: When I was at the city art fair, I mean, people, I'd gone off for coffee, and had people running back, said, "Julie, you've been nominated for outstanding artist!" And I went, oh, really? And I walked off! I went outside, they were like, "Come back, come back! You've got to ... "
I was like, "No, I don't want to!"
Ann: It's your ... this is, like you said, this is your life blood. I suppose, you know, through many different industries and positions in the world, there is that, trying to get that self confidence to do anything, isn't it? You mentioned about private views, when people come to see your work at galleries, or at charity balls, public displays ... What do you think about how people view artists' work? For me, as an art consultant, I kind of don't like the gallery formula for artists. I've told you this, I think.
Julie Bradshaw: I get it, I get that.
Ann: I just think, it's a place where it might turn people, the regular people off. When I go to a gallery opening, or if I just go to a gallery. A lot of the times, I see other artists, either there to support the artists that's on display, or, there are people who are kind of intellectual. The intellectual types, and they're there for the wine and the cheese!
Julie Bradshaw: Yes! Oh, let's go and have a wine and cheese evening!
Ann: Then there's other people that maybe kind of, their partner might have been dragging them kicking and screaming, come on, let's go to an art gallery, or ...
Julie Bradshaw: Do I have to?
Ann: Just kind of pulling them along. I've spoken to a lot of people kind of in the mainstream of corporates, and they say actually, I don't want to be put to the test, almost, of feeling as though I have to interpret someone's art. What do you think about that, because most people don't want to look bad, do they?
Julie Bradshaw: No, I don't think anybody does, do they?
Ann: Just that kind of proverbial, you know, the knuckle on the chin, you move your head to one side ...
Julie Bradshaw: It's difficult, in a way, again, it's a confident thing. Confidence with certain people. I had a friend who was absolutely devastated. She was showing stuff, several people came up and said, well anyone could do that. You've just thrown paint. She, rather than stand up corner, and say, well actually, you couldn't do it how I've done it, it's individual.
Afterwards, when I spoke with her, I said, I've been there, because your work is beautiful, and it stands in its own, but she didn't have the confidence, and it's absolutely ... I mean, she was going to give up painting until a few of us said, uh-uh, now you don't, come on, get your bum here. You're not giving up. Don't let people, because you're always going to get people ... It doesn't matter what you do in life, whether you're a computer person, you design ...
Walt Disney was knocked down quite a lot, wasn't he, when he first started out with those, now look at the wonderful ... I'm a real fan of cartoons and animation and things. I really respect the animators that do all they do. There's always someone that's going to pick holes in that. It is hard, I would imagine, and you've maybe realised that sometimes it's hard for people like yourself. You've got to be honest with the artist, because you want us to move on and learn and maybe things aren't quite right. You could see that but you've got to find a way of telling it to us.
Ann: I think there are times, as a kind of a coach to the artist that I represent, there are times when I have to be brutally honest.
Julie Bradshaw: Say, that's not working!
Ann: As you said, some of it can be so extremely personal, but in more of a commercial sense, you want people to like it, because as you said, you're in a business.
Julie Bradshaw: You want to sell.
Ann: That's right, you want to sell, people do what to beautify their homes. Hotels obviously want to create a space of luxury for their guests. Clients, people want to impress their clients so they'll do business with them. I always find it really funny how I do, when I go into perspective clients' offices, sometimes I just see these four walls of white walls, which doesn't really describe them. Art really can kind of pull the mission of a place. Just as like an artist puts a stamp on their own art, they can do that for other people.
Julie Bradshaw: It can be even a starting point for people talking. They might start off discussing a painting, you know, the colours and things, they'll end up talking about world politics or something, but at least, they've started with the painting. It is a bit tongue in cheek, but you know. It can be like that. You have obviously the more serious side of things, like the endangered species ...
Ann: Political art.
Julie Bradshaw: Because I obviously create murals, I sort from various workshops, and I talk to the children about the fact that murals are so much more than just a pretty picture. If you look at the muralists from around the world, some of them are highly political, and they're making statements. This is happening, or this was happening, or that, they're very important pieces of artwork. It's just a different way of looking at art, isn't it?
Ann: Yeah.
Julie Bradshaw: I've done quite a lot of, I've done cafes and things like that, but I usually try to gear them to the way I want them to think, including wildlife, because I do love painting wild life. We painted a café, and it was .. Oh charming, a cat comes in! Come on, there you go.
Ann: All sorts of wildlife walking into your studio.
Julie Bradshaw: Yes, they do come and visit. I sort of include wildlife from the area so children learn about ... I love children. They're our future guardians.
Ann: Oh, sure.
Julie Bradshaw: If you capture a child's imagination and interest at a young age, hopefully they might grow up, think, oh yes, we'll go down that path. Not an artist, but maybe a conservationist or just being aware, that if you throw your rubbish down ... A, it doesn't look very nice, and, it can endanger animals. When you say that to children, and you explain how, they think, Oh! If it made a difference where a child thinks, "Throw rubbish down or put it in my pocket and find a bin, take it home put it in a bin." I've done my job.
Ann: Well, you have done your job! I'm really impressed. I've always loved your art.
Julie Bradshaw: Thank you.
Ann: I really look forward to seeing the rest of the endangered species statues.
Julie Bradshaw: I'm working on those at the moment.
Ann: I love the fact that you've used, what is that, sheet music?
Julie Bradshaw: Music sheets from sort of Victorian times, to be honest. There's a play on that, you know, using something with age. I love, you can see that.
Ann: Can I interview you again, because I know you've got so many stories. As you said, you're a driven artist, and I really like that, driven. I've not really heard that in kind of the creative professional's terms, because normally that's kind of like a corporate theme, isn't it? It's like, driven managing director! Thank you, Julie.
Julie Bradshaw: This person I'm not, though.
Ann: Thank you Julie, I really appreciate your time. Again, I just, I could spend hours in the studio just looking at different sketchbooks, there's just so much history in here. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed yourself.
Julie Bradshaw: Yeah, thank you.
Ann: I hope our listeners enjoyed this, this story as well. I'm sure they will, but I look forward to interviewing you again. That's it for us for now. I'm signing out, this is Fenster Art Consultancy, and if you'd like to see Julie Bradshaw's work, you can login to and look for Julie Bradshaw. Again, if you have any questions for Julie, certainly send us an e-mail!
Julie Bradshaw: Definitely,
Ann: That would be great. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and anyone interested in perhaps a commission or a public display of art ...
Julie Bradshaw: Absolutely, I'm always interested in those.
Ann: Excellent. Well, thank you Julie.

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