Bradley Theodore’s signature style is distinguishable by its use of vibrantly coloured skeletal figures – a motif that the artist regards as representative of the inner life force of the subject. In Theodore’s trademark style, famous figures from popular culture are stripped back to Día de Muertos-esque versions of themselves. Historical figures including Marie Antoinette and Mona Lisa line up alongside modern day celebrities Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid and fashion icons Coco Chanel, Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld.
The London exhibition, set across two floors of the gallery, will feature Theodore’s striking large-scale canvases including The Ball of Marie Antoinette, The Last Supper and Mona Lisa. In keeping with his belief that ‘fashion allows people to become art’ the artist’s pop-art works on paper that immortalise fashion and pop- culture icons will also be on display, including Audrey Hepburn, Coco Chanel, Grace Coddington and David Bowie.
Theodore started out as a street artist and has decorated the walls of international cities from Tokyo to New York with his vibrant murals. It is this use of the city as a canvas for his art that has prompted comparisons with iconic New York artist Jean- Michel Basquiat and the UK’s very own Banksy.
His now famous New York murals and fashion collaborations have seen Theodore recently featured in The Wall Street Journal and NBC News and cemented his status as one of the most talked-about emerging contemporary artists. New York agency KBS has created a film about Theodore’s life and work, to be shown at The Tribeca Film Festival and the artist’s work will be on display at Art Basel Hong Kong 2016.
The artist’s status as a darling of the fashion industry grows stronger by the day: for New York Fashion Week 2016, he collaborated with OTTE to kick off the fashion brand’s artist series at the High Line Hotel. But Theodore’s sources of inspiration are far from confined to the world of fashion. With a background in graphics and digital, he has experimented with creating pieces digitally and continues to be inspired by this discipline.
Theodore regards his viewers as the most important reviewers of his work and invites them into his studio to watch him paint; the aim is to make his work accessible to fans. This democratic approach to art is a motivating force for the artist and has succeeded in engaging the global public. The strength of his work has not escaped the notice of the high profile either: Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne and Anna Wintour all own pieces and he recently created a bespoke piece for the Marc Jacobs store in New York’s SoHo.