Linda Till Bradley

Artist Statement

This ongoing series of drawings, which I refer to as “Blotter Art”, are visual records of my distracted self as I sat at my desk(s) throughout the years of my employment as an Art Therapist at two Connecticut psychiatric facilities. More recent drawings were created at the mahogany writing desk in my studio. In both cases, my intention was not to create “fine art” that would be viewed in a gallery setting; it was about satisfying a need to draw while my attention was primarily engaged in phone conversation. During these conversations, whether they were brief or lengthy (always ball-point pen in hand), I was compelled to make marks on a desk blotter that I always kept in front of me. In this distracted state, quickly laid-down marks formed into organic shapes. Over an extended period of time ( from several months to a year or more) these shapes interconnected and evolved into relatively cohesive images despite their unintentional origins. These “diminished consciousness drawings” were created with little to no regard for utilizing the principles of design to achieve unity. To draw without any expectations for a unified visual outcome was a liberating experience. It was, and continues to be, about the joy of pure creative process.

My primary drawing tool is the unassuming ball-point pen. I keep a handful of these not-always-reliable and often leaky inexpensive pens in a treasured coffee can my son decorated in an elementary school art class many years ago. It sits on my blotter among piles of paperwork, books, photos, mementos and long-forgotten notes-to-self. These pens (I prefer the black ink) record phone numbers, upcoming events, dates to remember, important contacts and memorable personal experiences as well as their use as a drawing tool. The works that were created at my studio desk often incorporate rubber-stamped images. I have a large collection of vintage rubber stamps that and often use them to embellish the envelopes of cards and letters sent to family and friends. The desk blotter is used to remove excess ink from the stamp. I find the unexpected relationships that occur between the randomly stamped images and the drawn elements intriguing. Coffee cup rings, small rips and holes, traces of lunches eaten long ago, fingerprints, oily yellow stains that indicate the decay of materials never meant to last a lifetime….all are left as evidence of the blotters’ original utilitarian function and impermanent nature of the work. They record the passage of time yet their long-term existence is questionable. I hope that the viewer can relate to and appreciate these works for what they are: snippets of my daily life and process that grew over time into an unintentional and fragile creative legacy.

Download Linda Till Bradley’s Curriculum Vitae