Bradford Maxfield, a “conceptual artist, a multi-dimensional thinker, and an all-around fun-loving, pretty rad-ass dude. A continual learner—always striving to evolve, take risks, and try new things.” Originally from El Paso, he states, his “heart lies in Austin. El Paso is a little piece of paradise I call my second home. ‘The armpit of Texas,’ as some refer to it, wasn’t such a bad place to grow up and is actually an incredible place for like-minded individuals interested in pursuing art. The sleepy west Texas town spawns creativity like no other and has been an inspiration for many movies, books, and songs, including Sicario and a few Quentin Tarantino films. There’s so much beauty in the emptiness of the desert. It’s almost as if this emptiness heightens the mountains, giving them their own personality.”
Maxfield credits his upbringing and design education, from both UT and UTEP, for shaping him into the ‘cool cat he is today.’ He made his way to Austin, TX by way of his passion for art and design, and love of the great outdoors. Here he has “been able build a career and share conceptual ideas about politics, social justice issues, and culture through creativity.”
When asked his thoughts on the art scene in Austin, his answer was a resolute, “Austin is awesome!” Sharing that he is “constantly surprised by how many new talented artists are jumping out of the woodwork”, this is what ‘keeps him on his toes and ahead of the game.’ The constant evolution of his style and fueled inspiration is by virtue of “this vibrant and diverse art scene” in Austin. Challenges may come, but “each new client presents various challenges that allow me the opportunity to come up with solutions, experiment with new mediums and materials, and keep things fresh.”
The Spirit of Austin
A night to remember, to say the least. A special one night celebration of all things good and all things art. The night was
mobbed with locals, activities, and delicious adult beverages to get the mood right. There were limited edition signed prints given away throughout the night, opportunities to create and take home your own piece of street art, catered food from our friends at Wahoo’s Fish Taco, jams by the infamous DJ Chino Casino, and complimentary craft cocktails featuring New Amsterdam Spirits and Juiceland.
The highlight of the night? The man himself, Brad Maxfield and his solo exhibit of custom mixed media masterpieces. Brad shares, “my homies at SprATX contacted me about an opportunity with New Amsterdam vodka. After reviewing several artists, they chose me to be a part of their newest marketing program, realizing that my skills in advertising, use of typography, and love of bright colors rendered me a good fit for the Austin leg of their 7-city “It’s Your Town” campaign.
This showcase is all about embodying the soul and spirit of Austin and letting it shine through my own unique perspective, while highlighting the playfulness and exquisite quality of the New Amsterdam vodka line. I was really happy to learn that I was working with such a great team—both from New Amsterdam and SprATX.”
This exhibit being Bradford’s first ever solo show served as a pivotal move in his art career. Having “complete creative control, minus a few alcohol-/brand-related caveats, it allowed me the freedom to explore my own imaginative processes to produce a full body of work.” This showcase was unique in that it “was one of only a few projects where I’ve found myself having moments of anxiety. The inner perfectionist in me was constantly consumed with trying to make sure everything came out just right. I am my harshest critic, and it was really important to me to create something that I could be proud of. Finally, with this set of work, I got to explore a lot of new techniques and materials. Although it was stressful to get it all done on-schedule, I was able to hire a few of my friends to help, which made the “work” fun. It was literally down to the wire—15+ hour days. At the end of it all, I can honestly say that “The Spirit of Austin” really showcases who I’ve become as an artist.”
“All of the pieces in this show are comprised of varying combinations of hand-cut and laser-cut wood (birch), reclaimed fencing, house paints, acrylic, aerosol, spray paint, metal, and wire, with the occasional rope light and guitar case embellishment”.
When asked how Bradford first became interested in creating art he shared, “video games are what inspired me to create and to first start drawing. One of my earliest memories of something that I drew well was the Marine character from Doom. I never felt I was inherently great at drawing until I went to college. It was there that I was able to fuse together my love of technology and art. I inherited many things from my grandma, including my artistic abilities and my love for partying. She was quite the character. Skateboarding and skateboard culture were also a huge influence. I feel like skateboarders look at the world differently than most. They think about every aspect, every curb, every surface, edge, and pole, and try to figure out a new way to use these things to move through space or simply create a new bad-ass trick.”
SprATX has learned first hand the struggles that artists endure to make a living creating art work. We appreciate and value the artists in our collective that stay on a constant grind to reach success. Bradford is no exception to this ‘artistic hustle’. Brad says, “I work my ass off. Once I decided that I wanted to be a full-time artist, I would often work 18-hour days. I would go to a full day at the advertising office, putting in long hours, and then go home to work another full day on side projects. I started realizing the jobs that garnered the most acclaim and attention were my personal projects, where I had full creative control. All it took was a few of those to give me the confidence I needed to go out on my own as a full-time artist. I have put so many hours into perfecting my craft and I revel in knowing I still have a lifetime of creating ahead of me.”
The most challenging part of being a full-time artist? “The business aspect associated with it. I not only have to conceptualize the art, buy all the supplies, and create it, but I also have deadlines and time management to keep in mind. I have budgets to stay within. I have to promote and market myself through social media and interviews, and I have managerial skills I need to hone. It’s easy to forget how much time and effort it actually takes to be a career artist, let alone a fairly successful one.”
“I want to give a huge thanks to SprATX and New Amsterdam Spirits for this amazing opportunity, and I can’t forget a special shout-out to the Baby J (from my mom and pops). I want to call out my homies in the Blue Dozen Collective and my girlfriend for her patience and her dope writing skills.”
“Finally, I want to recognize my team of assistants—Christen Atkinson, Kristen Freeman, Benny Bayer, and Cameron Zionts. Without all of you, none of this would have been as successful, or incredible, or a hit, or finished in time.”