Upstart Art

We know a lot of the creative class of Madison spent summer busy with other pursuits, like the annual moving shuffle, but at Bright Red Studios we’ve been busy booking a killer fall season.  In case you missed it, we were also recently featured in the Isthmus’ article Upstart Art.  Too lazy to follow the link or read the full article?  We’ve got the best part of it here for you.

Bright Red Studios

Evan Bradbury is proud to be a Madison native.

“Lakeview, Sherman, East!” he exclaims when asked about his upbringing. But several years ago, the 25-year-old painter and gallery owner was sure he had to leave town to pursue an art career. He moved to New York City, where he worked at a gallery and took classes.

“I thought I was going to be the next Basquiat,” he says with a laugh. “I came back two years later, after running almost entirely out of money.”

Luckily, Bradbury landed a job in real estate management and built up enough savings to launch Bright Red Studios, 9 Ingersoll St., a space that mounts exhibitions and concerts, and rents out two private art studios. In addition to managing the space, Bradbury offers services such as flyer design and curates about six shows a year.

“I try to make Bright Red as affordable as possible for the artists,” he says. “Madison has the energy necessary to be a real art city, but people aren’t ready to spend more than $1,000 on a piece of art. So it’s pretty hard to make a living.”

That said, Bradbury hopes to command “big-city prices” for his paintings 10 years from now. But there’s a lot of work to be done in the meantime.

While Feuss argues that well-heeled young professionals, especially those from the tech industry, are an important target market for Madison artists, Bradbury thinks a cultural shift needs to take place first.

“People are still nervous about sounding naive or foolish about art,” he says. “The majority of my week is spent shaking hands and making people feel comfortable around art. Art can make you feel at home.”


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