Cory Bradley paints on old cardboard signs left or purchased from the homeless. Here is the story behind it.
Whats the inspiration behind your paintings on cardboard signs left by the homeless?
-Alright,.. This is how this happened. One night I’m coming home from a bar and I’m going underground to catch the uptown N train to queens. I see a sign on the platform that read “Please have a heart, homeless hungry + tired. Trying to get enough money for a room to sleep + shower, Anything you can’t spare would help”. So I picked it up and the idea was to hit it with the paint. At the time I just recently moved up to the city and didn’t have all my paint with me. I was living with my boy and his girlfriend at the time, and he bought her about 6 colors and 3 brushes (nothing AT ALL spectacular). So with this… this lack of colors or variations of brushes, I figured this would be a great time to take it back to the basics. I originally learned how to paint cardboard and I haven’t since I discovered canvas.
The idea then grew and grew as I began to explore more and more. Because the first sign I found, I began to embark on this idea to walk around looking for these signs and paying the homeless for these signs…. after all to me, they are providing my canvas, and i just can’t find “This particular” sign anywhere. They deserved money for it; they are making something that I want. This would also forced me to interact with them…. get some info about them, why they are the way they are… how they got to where they are. Etc….
So in the end… the homeless were giving value to something (the cardboard) that obviously had none assuming that they found it discarded on the street. After their hands hit it, and leave makes on it, it was their means of collection money. This helped them eat sandwiches or smoke crack… Then I walk up to them, trade a few choice words, and purchase the sign off of them for more than the probably made in that day and now the process is reset. Now I’ve got this sign,… I got and I put my two cents on the cardboard and the idea is to put it somewhere where people can see it. Hopefully someone will walk up to it and say “I want that particular painting” when it’s still just worthless cardboard. I charge them MORE than it’s worth, and I get me some sushi or pick up a couple OL English’s.
The idea in the end that moved me was taking something that was originally was made to cover a valuable item, and through a couple of minds changing the cardboard, watching it gain worth. One man’s trash is truly another man’s treasure in NYC.
Visit Cory Bradley’s official website.