The Thirty-A Review September 2020

l o c a l c u l t u r e

An Interview with Artist Bradley Copeland b y A n n e H u n t e r

as weak, frail, delicate, and gentle. My paintings are an attempt to challenge this notion. I want to depict frilly, pretty imagery but with harsh lines and texture and roughness. I want my paintings to have bite and grit because I’m trying to illustrate feminine toughness. I feel like most people hear the words “feminine toughness” and immediately think it’s an oxymoron. But this toughness is the most defining characteristic of femininity, and in my opinion, the most beautiful thing about it, not the misconstrued “softness” that is overrepresented. This advice applies to anyone of any age, but I definitely would have benefited if someone had explained this to me when I was little. Art is NOT a talent that is gifted to you at birth. The only thing you’re born with is the passion, and talent develops over time with practice just like everything else. When people tell me that they love painting, but they never do because they aren’t ‘talented’, I just want to shake them and say, “That’s all it takes!!!” If you have a passion for art, please don’t starve it. Art is such a relative concept, there really isn’t any way to determine what’s good. I truly think a lot of the masters that we’ve all heard of weren’t really recognized for their talent; they were recognized for their passion. What is your advice to young, aspiring female artists? Who is a female artist that you respect and admire? This is probably the hardest questions I’ve had to answer so far because there are so many that come to mind for so many different reasons. Frida Kahlo is probably my go-to answer because she has been a favorite ever since I learned of her and most people know who she is. She inspires me daily because of her deep passion for art. Her life was full of tragedy and she painted through every second of pain. She was well before her time, unapologetically painting vulnerable pieces that exposed the truths and tragedies of her life as she lived it.

Copeland arrived at the beach in January with her boyfriend, Hudson. “His family and work led him here, which could not have worked out more perfectly for me. I’ve always wanted to live near the beach, and I knew there was a great art scene here.” They have both loved every second so far. “I could name any place on 30-A and I wouldn’t be lying if I called it my favorite.” When did you begin painting? Why? I don’t really remember a “beginning” as far as painting goes. My earliest memories all involve some kind of art. I was constantly coloring as a child, and art immediately became my favorite subject in school. I always enjoyed painting and drawing on my own too but didn’t really take it seriously until I got to college. Can you describe your undergraduate education? Share the story of the moment you decided to pursue art instead of another major.

Bradley Copeland

Although I clearly had a passion for art my entire life, I never considered pursuing it as a career; growing up, I didn’t even realize it was an option. I attended Auburn University and changed my major almost every semester I was there. I bounced around all of the artsy fields without fully committing to studio art until my junior year. I finally switched my major to art because I found myself miserable doing anything else and imagining a life-long career of (insert anything-other- than-art here) felt like a prison sentence. What is the inspiration behind the lingerie, lipstick, and drag queen desires? The thing that ties these symbols together is the way they represent and celebrate femininity. Femininity is something that is usually, at least traditionally, perceived

W hen Bradley Copeland moved to Walton County earlier this year, she was grateful to live here and be part of the community. “I felt so welcomed and accepted in such a short period of time, which is even more amazing considering this has all happened in the midst of a global pandemic,” the artist says. “It’s beautiful here and everyone is mind- blowingly kind.”

For more information visit Anne Hunter Galleries, 25 Central Square, Seaside, Florida 32459; or

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