You’ve never seen art like this before! Brad Wilkinson doesn’t exactly fit the mold of a classic, paint-spattered artist. Brad, who’s always impeccably turned out in Tom Ford fashions, marries craftsmanship and showmanship with his signature live painting events which have drawn crowds all around the world.
Brad recently joined Hearthstone Cellar and Kitchen to put on one if his signature artistic events, and we were able to ask him a bit more about his process and incredibly unique style. From his artistic and style gurus to his signature look, here Brad dishes on what moves him and helps him stay inspired.
Tell us a little bit about live painting. How would you explain it?
Luxurious live painting experiences that connect glamorous architectural spaces, beautiful muses and chic ambiences to present awe-inspiring spectacles.
What got you started with painting? Did you always have an inner drive to do something artistic?
I think I was first interested in painting (sometime in my childhood) when I felt the effect of the massive floor to ceiling David Yurman, deep black and white photography advertisements and wild (similar in scale) colorful Roxy surf wear model ads. I didn’t see them as advertisements; I thought they were wild and monumental. I asked to have the banners when they were through with them, but they were very expensive, so then I thought “I could paint that and then have the rooms of my walls look like that and I’d transform my room.”
Probably, I was always interested in creating things and changing things. Whether drawing all over the paper table tops at restaurants with the crayons as a child, to painting my blank surfboards as a kid, to creating the future of new age casino architecture designs, nightclubs and mega-yacht concepts in high school/college.
Tell us about your process. Do you make a sketch or have a plan, or do you just start painting?
No sketches, no guidelines, I begin with a blank white canvas and try to harness my intuition.
What about Las Vegas appeals to you as an artist?
Being able to create in such exciting and glamorous environments.
Growing up, I was always enamored with Las Vegas. Seeing it from a cinematic viewpoint from films like “Casino” and “Oceans 11 & 13” and those glamorous depictions of the casinos and their patrons enjoying them.
So I love that Las Vegas embraces the performances, which allows me to combine the romantic opulence of the beautiful elegant models in designer evening gowns with live creationism in glamorous interiors for audiences waiting to be captivated by something they haven’t seen before.
What are some of the things, artists, or individuals that inspire you?
I get the “spark” of inspiration for something new or a question/concept I’m thinking on, with either music or exercise or some form of meditation.
For painter inspiration, I’m inspired by Bernini. His magnificent mastery and span of abilities in architecture, sculpture, painting and design. I love the Impressionists; Renoir, Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Degas; their capturing of the human moods and everyday experiences and freezing it, making it timeless and warmly pleasant. I love N.C. Wyeth and his whimsical storytelling styles. Waldemar Januszczak, because no one brings art and art history to life like him.
For life/guidance/business; Tim Ferriss, Sadhguru, Ken Wilber, Tom Ford, Marcus Aurelius.
One of the more interesting services / events you put on is “live model painting performances”. How on earth did you get into this type of event?
One of the great things about working with casinos is they let me experiment with my work and shows.
So a female friend of mine immediately said yes and was excited about the idea after I shared the concept of having a beautiful model posing live and how it’d make for a romantic and intriguing spectacle with this certain edge.
The casinos loved it. I enjoy the challenge of it. The crowd loved it and was touched, so I’ve been growing it ever since.
How does the crowd’s energy contribute to your painting process and the finished work?
The crowd is a fuel for the inner fire to always create a breakthroughdow performance and to never get complacent, always seek to grow and transcend current capabilities.
Also, I love that I could be able to share the performance and the painting with others and them walk away inspired or touched by it all.
You are championing a “revitalization of romanticism” movement with your live painting. In your own words, what is this movement and what does it mean to you?
Enhancing your physical, mental and spiritual parts that make you a human being and striving to reach your highest potential. Making life an adventure of perpetual movement and change. Embracing discomfort, uncertainty and confusion in order to gain a more enhanced perspective of life and self, and further developing the best navigation systems for experiencing life at the fullest.
What do you consider your most memorable live painting experience, and why?
My first show overseas. Seeing the performances advertised in another exotic written language. Performing in wild open air beach clubs that sat right against aqua blue paradise-like beachfronts.
How do you choose your models, and how can someone be immortalized in one of your paintings?
I typically chose my friends who I find elegant and graceful and who love and share my enthusiasm with my work.
How would you describe your show at Hearthstone?
A fun casual evening of creationism.
Lifestyle / fashion:
You’re among the more fashionable painters out there. Does fashion inspire you in any of your work?
The fashion/clothing is for the audience’s enjoyment, I use it to heighten the romantic perspective of everything I’m trying to create.
You’re an admitted big fan of clothing designer Tom Ford. What about his designs speaks to you?
Yes, I love that he puts his blood and passion into his products. The attention to detail, the edginess, the richness and rareness of his fabrics, the marbleizing effect of his suits…
Please, tell us a little bit more about your signature velvet slippers. How and why did you settle on this style of footwear?
It’s a choice to not wear animals. They are though very functional, going with a tuxedo, a suit, or a pair of jeans. I like having the least amount of clothes possible so they work very well.
Wisdom for the road
If you could go back in time and give your 18-year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
“FIRE! The inner fire, is the most potent of all force, for it overcometh all things and penetrates to all things of the Earth.” That’s a quote from Thoth.
What is something about you that might surprise people?
I love using float tanks (sensory deprivation tanks).
What is one effect that you’d like your artwork to have on people?
What is an artistic milestone you’d still love to achieve?
The ability to immediately harness flow state.
Feeling inspired? Check out more of Brad’s work on his website, The Wilkinson Art Endeavor, and via his Instagram feed. To stay updated on specials and artistic offerings at one of the best Summerlin restaurants, be sure to bookmark Hearthstone’s events page!
Would you attend a live painting event?