We all know and love Bubble Wrap as the beloved packing material that provides us with an endless amount of entertainment. But did you know that it began as wallpaper? These days, it is also redefining the term “pop art.”
This art is the sole creation of New York-based artist Bradley Hart. It hasn’t taken over the world yet, but that’s because Bradley might be the only person who is capable of turning these tiny bubbles into complex masterpieces!
When it comes to Bubble Wrap’s upbringing, Bradley has found great joy in the little-known fact that the material was originally meant to be textured wallpaper. That’s right! In 1957, its creators hoped to see it displayed all over people’s homes.
“What is a painting — short of the cultural significance and historical value it may obtain over time?” Bradley asked Art Insider. “It’s ostensibly a wall covering.”
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Thanks to Bradley, Bubble Wrap (in the form of art) is finally making its way back to its intended home: people’s walls!
“I love Bubble Wrap. I love the sound of Bubble Wrap popping,” Bradley told CBS News. “I hate the sound of Bubble Wrap popping in my studio. It means that something’s screwed up, or somebody’s messing with my materials.”
His tedious process consists of filling each small bubble with various shades of acrylic paint until he makes a glorious painting. His method of choice involves using syringes to inject the paint.
“It takes me roughly about four to five days to preload the 1,800 to 2,500 syringes that I need per painting,” Bradley explained.
And that’s just the prep before the painting even begins!
To date, he has completed over 100 Bubble Wrap masterpieces. Each one then produces an impressionist twin of a famous painting, created by the drippings of the excess paint!
“When I first started doing it, I injected a couple bubbles, I stood back 10 feet, I looked, I went, ‘Oh yeah…’ And I went back and injected a couple more,” Bradley said. “That’s how I started.”
To solve this problem of endlessly going back and forth, he invented a custom algorithm to give him a full view of his pieces.
For Bradley, it can take anywhere from three weeks to a month to complete one painting. Given all the work that goes into each of them, it’s a pretty impressive feat!
He doesn’t have any time to lose when it comes to his creations, having been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2003. “It was really scary,” he recalled. “They said, ‘There’s no easy way to say this. You have MS.’ And I thought my life was over.”
As part of his treatment, he has to perform self-injections under the skin, but he was reluctant to follow through with them for years — until his canvases reminded him of the irony of his resistance.
“I realized, ‘Oh my God, how perverse is this? You wouldn’t inject yourself for a decade, but you’re sitting here with thousands of syringes in front of you, injecting paint into Bubble Wrap!'” he added.
Luckily for his enraptured audience, his diagnosis has not prevented him from making these awe-inspiring works of art, including portraits of David Bowie, Michael Jackson, John Lennon, Marilyn Monroe, and even famed locales like Central Park.
“Every drop of everything is potentially art,” he said. “I’ve been very lucky and very thankful for the luck that I’ve been afforded. The art world has kind of enveloped me and help lift me up… It’s been really a big blessing.”
Recently, he has been searching for the links between his artwork and the pandemic.
“I joke to people that I live in a bubble,” he said. “We choose who we let into our circle. We’ve all been forced now to create micro-bubbles. But guess what? All these little micro-bubbles come together, they make a beautiful painting.”
What an encouraging metaphor to cling to! Share Bradley’s stunning works of art to inspire someone in your life.
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