“Long Tails” and artist Anne Bradley

Anne Bradley: Artist at the Forge

If you had window-shopped through Old Folsom, California between 1971 and 1994, you might have wandered into a row of little shops at 705 Sutter Street. Among the various boutiques there, you would have found a spattering of artists’ studios. And among them, you would have found the Back Street Gallery where Anne Bradley and her mother painted, created and delighted visitors with their artwork.

Anne’s mother was an oil landscape painter and Anne, influenced by her mother’s work went on, in her twenties, to take art lessons from their neighbor, Eugene Garin. Garin, a Russian American oil painter, was renowned for his seascapes and glazing techniques. He was represented in Monterey and Carmel galleries and collectors around the world have acquired his work.

Anne went on to work in watercolor and acrylic. Eventually, she left realism behind to explore collage and hone her signature style, incorporating metalworking, as well as creating metal sculptures.

She first started using metals when she developed an interest in them and wanted to add some metal to a painting.

She conferred with her brother who owns an auto body shop and works extensively in metal. He suggested that she take metal shop classes at Sierra College.

“Pandemonium” in water media, by Anne Bradley
“California Skies” by Anne Bradley

Anne went on to take 13 semesters of metal classes, both in metal shop and in jewelry. She studied arc welding, casting aluminum, and preparing to cast bronze, and became familiar with all kinds of equipment, such as benders, grinders and choppers.

Anne and her good friend Sue Anne Foster enrolled in many of the classes together. And she found many other artist-friends in the classes, such as Maureen Gilli, Marge Sahs, Patty Short, Patricia Sokolowski and Joanne Burkett.

While Anne was born in Hazard, Kentucky, her family moved to San Francisco when she was young, and then, on to Sacramento. She now lives in Carmichael, CA, with her daughter, Lisa Bradley.

Anne has studied at both American River and Sierra Colleges. She has worked extensively with model home decorators and shown her artwork in galleries and received many awards.

She was the first woman to receive the Don Herberholz Award in 2007 for her cast aluminum sculpture.

She received Best in Show Awards, both in the KVIE Art Auction and in the 2015 Oakwilde Sculpture Park Open Competition in Valley Springs, CA, for her sculpture, “Unknown DNA”.

“Unknown DNA”, electroformed piece by Anne Bradley
“T-Cells” on exhibit, by Anne Bradley

Anne describes this piece as an electroformed artwork with an enamel base. Electroforming is a process where layers of copper are  formed around the surface of an object. In “Unknown DNA”, Anne used 16 organic objects, such as pieces of a bee hive, a pine cone,  shells and flowers.

Anne said, “I leave it (the object) in so long, it burns the original (object) out and it leaves a hollow, copper form by itself.”

Anne takes care titling her artwork, with names like, “Long Tails”, “Pandemonium”, and TCells”. She emphasizes that the titles express her intent with the piece.

“An objective of mine is to inspire people to take another look at familiar objects around them and see them in a different light,” Anne says.

And in so doing, you then see life around you in a different light

Anne Bradley (left) discusses her pieces on exhibit