I had the privilege of being the subject of one of Bradford J. Salamon’s paintings. This was a high point in my creative journey for a couple of reasons.
One is the honor of having a portrait done by such a fantastic artist whose work I have loved and respected for longer than I realized before that day. But mostly, I appreciated having the opportunity to spend the evening with him in his studio surrounded by his work, enjoying a couple of glasses of whiskey, listening to some great music and discussing life, art, creativity, and friendship.
While at his studio I also realized that he and I had crossed paths about three decades ago. As I explored his studio, I recognized a Jimi Hendrix painting on his wall that suddenly sent me back in time. As a very young man, I worked in my father’s fine art framing business in Newport Beach, CA. Bradford was a local artist at the time and his studio was in the same complex as my dad’s. His paintings were very popular and his work inspired me a lot in those days. I remember finding reasons to walk by his studio, to take a look inside, and look through his prints which amazed me and inspired me creatively. I spent an entire summer sketching figures on black paper using white pastels to emulate his style. For whatever reason, I hadn’t put it together that Bradford and that young artist, who inspired me so long ago, were the same guy. I found myself again engulfed in his work thirty years later.
Here is my takeaway from this experience. I’ve done over 30 interviews so far and I am learning that we are all chained together in a way through our creative connections. All of us need each other more than we realize. I like to imagine that we are collectively living life which is represented by a strand of yarn wrapped around a ball. Each of our lives is a single fiber in this strand and the strand wraps around itself over and over—each portion of fiber crossing another portion all sharing the same singular strand of yarn. From the perspective of the strand, it believes each overlapping series is foreign and different from itself, not realizing that we are all connected and meeting at different points in the ball. I like this visual because it reminds me to make time to learn and share with as many people as I can.
I think this is yet another reason I’m doing these interviews. The only way to discover our similarities is to make time for each other…to ask questions and listen. When we make time to chat and learn about each other, we begin to see that there is a lot that is relatable and familiar – beyond race, status, culture, politics, or religion. Our creativity is the great unifier. It’s never too late to make time to explore and learn something new.
My moment with Bradford reminded me of this. He is fearless in his search to understand the world around him. He has the wisdom to know that it’s not likely he will ever find the answers he is looking for, but the value in the search is too precious a thing to ignore. He is very self-aware of capturing the moment in his work. Sometimes the value of a question is found in the asking of it. Ironically, I lived through that intent with my reconnection with my teenage self in a new, and previously forgotten, way. Two moments of my life, past and present, were meeting simultaneously. And from my perspective, that was a pretty great gift. Thank you, Bradford. See more of his work here http://www.bradfordjsalamon.com