By Flo Williams
Bristol-based Illustrator and artist Alisha Bradbury is caught up in a web of inspiration.
Her drawings focus mainly on human figures and the distortion of natural forms in an attempt to document the imperfections that surround her in everyday life. The subject matter is "quite dark at the moment" she says, nonchalantly, "but it always has been". The foundation of her work is taken from illustrative dreamscapes and characters from her own imagination, each of which have an element of her own personality in them.
She claims that she would much rather draw a dying flower than a living one. "Do you have a focus on the morbid then?" I ask. "No, it’s more about reflecting my imperfect surroundings or focusing on representing things that resonate with me, things that seem significant". Essentially, she’s trying not to represent life idealistically; and considering her fascination with modern artists and subjects as opposed to more traditional ones (such as those paradisiacal cherubs that grace the works of the Renaissance painters), her work could be seen as an extension of her belief in the importance of modernist art and values.
Alisha currently works mostly in black and white. The simplicity of the two colours and minimalistic style is indebted in part to her thoughts on colour. "Colour can be quite a preoccupied thing, almost distracting to a point, when making and thinking about an illustration". This view arguably stems from a background of formal art education - she believes that being instructed on how to use colour and how to mix them can sometimes be considered a hindrance as the "result is sometimes that you never try anything that you’re told won’t work". She adds: "whilst I was doing my art foundation I spent the majority of my time experimenting with all kinds of colour because, having chosen to be part of the Fine Art group, I was really delving into paint and other mediums which were less controllable, and this was new to me. It was a great thing for helping me to know that I do enjoy using colour and am capable of creating pictures in colour that I like, but it also told me that for my own personal work, I find black and white more mindful. The simplicity of the white page mingling with black negative space is soothing to my brain and my eyes."
Passionate about drawing and art from a young age, Alisha sees her work as a form of escapism, which she describes as "self loving", however, in some ways, quite isolating. As our theme for our upcoming zine is ‘Hidden’, I asked Alisha how this relates to her work. "Hidden for me is the same as being introverted" She replied. Hidden so often seems to draw comparisons to something negative. Hidden without control or out of shame. Alisha’s version of hidden is however one of quiet productivity; of passion in private, hidden by choice.
Essentially Alisha is trying to carve a place for creativity in a non-conformist setting. Send her some love, she’s doing great things