My name is Carson Kowar Bradbury. I am 26 years old and I became a full time artist 2 years ago. From the time I could walk, I was drawing. I learned how to sitting on my grandpas lap at his farm in North Carolina. Fast forward, I turned a hobby into a career attending NC State University and majoring in Art + Design. From NC State, I went on to work for Under Armour as a Print and Pattern designer for 3 years. It was their that I decided I wanted to become a full time artist, and I quit my corporate job to follow my passion and travel the country.
For me, artwork is a gift of emotion and feeling. I create artwork that amplifies what I am passionate about- in a way words cannot. I create realistic portraits using charcoal pencils and pastels. Working in black and white creates high contrast and bold imagery, amplifying the expression and emotion of someones face in a very distinct and impactful way. It is through charcoal drawings that I am able to tell someones story – be it my own or someone else’s. And, each story is can be filled with passion, joy, love, grief, history, and hope.
What does “Gaze” mean to you & how do you connect it to your work?
‘Gaze” represents a direction in which we are looking, and there are times in life when we need to adjust our gaze. This piece of artwork, titled ‘Noelle’, symbolizes a shift in direction – a new way of seeing.
‘Noelle’ was originally a commissioned portrait of a clients daughter. The girl in the portrait, Noelle, has a white mother and a black father. Noelle noticed she didn’t have the same blonde hair her mom, and so Noelle’s mom had me create this piece to show her daughter that makes her uniques is what makes her beautiful.
As a white woman, I have spent a lot of time this past year trying to image life in a black woman or mixed woman’s shoes. How a black woman feels when someone looks at her. How people treat her. How society sees her (or doesn’t see her). This drawing of Noelle symbolizes a call to shift how people view black woman and black culture. It is a call to shift our societies gaze to a new definition of beauty, equality and racial justice.