Cory Bradley: A conversation on Hip Hop and Art

Last week Cory Bradley and I spoke about why he paints on discarded or purchased cardboard signs from the homeless in New York City. Another thing Cory is known for is his depictions of various hip hop artists. Portraits below include Andre 3000, 50 Cent, Kanye West, and The Game. Here’s what Cory has to say about Hip Hop, and the influence it has on his art.

When someone looks at my work… if it’s visually catching enough, I’ve caught their attention. If they decide to lend their ears to me (eyes really), then I’m able to speak to them. It can be whatever I choose to exhibit, but I deal with things in my relevant life… Some is simple, and some is much more than what is exhibited… but designed to prompt thought. I don’t look for subject matter, subject matter happens to me and I just choose how I’m gonna show it. I bring this up because this is the same character traits of hip-hop and they’re artist that I find to be so endlessly entertaining.


Hip-hop artist in particular are soo fucking ridiculous and I LOVE it. I would have it NO other way. They are gaudy, boisterous… arrogant, and a list of other adjectives that I dont like in friends, family or anyone else that I find credible or that I keep close to me. However, being an artist of THAT nature… that comes with the territory. Anyone who knows me knows that I seek out the most abominable, unspeakable hip-hop that I can find because of the flamboyant nature of it all. In some cases these guys are making millions of dollars by “keeping it real”. Some would say that its an act, or that they aren’t really like this… but it comes from somewhere. The idea that these guys say all the shit that you’re taught you SHOULDN’T, and they make copious amounts of money because of it. That is an idea that will forever amaze and entertain me.

“I listen to what they have to say in their work often. If that’s what I choose to listen to, then I’m hearing their voice and opinion… along with what they choose to glorify. I feel like it rubs off in my work in more than one way.”

I take this idea… the quote above… and I try to make sure that the ONE thing that is absolutely nessarcary in my work is to be real about what I’m displaying. Yea, thats easy… but it’s also easy to do something for the wrong reason, or for an empty reason. That’s something I don’t do. I was always told to paint what I want and I will stand by that.

More of Cory Bradley’s art here.

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