Content Strategist, Earth Fare, Asheville, NC
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics/Photography, UNC Charlotte (2005)
Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture, Yale School of Art (2008)
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Beginning with his student days at UNC Charlotte, Bradlee Hicks’s career has been marked by sharp turns and surprise destinations. As a young artist and Charlotte native, he came to UNC Charlotte with the intention of staying only briefly.
“I had gotten into SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design) and was just going to UNC Charlotte to get some general course work out of the way,” he says. “I ended up meeting great people and finding the program challenging, so I stayed, and certainly got a better value than I would have at SCAD.”
As a BFA student, Bradlee studied photography and, although unplanned, ceramics. “Ceramics was never something that I would have imagined studying, and it is in no way part of my life today, but those late nights watching kilns were really special.”
He went on to complete an MFA in Sculpture at Yale, but his current work as an artist is in video, where he draws together his fine arts training with his experience in advertising and his passion for cinema in an effort to “both imitate and infiltrate mass cultural consumption at the source, acting as both mirror and filter.”
Having held a variety of positions in teaching, graphic design, editing, directing, and producing in places as diverse as Colorado, New York, and Beijing, China, Bradlee now works for Earth Fare in Asheville, NC. “Right now I am part of a team planning out a marketing strategy for the coming fiscal year. It's a total 180 from where I came from, or what anyone probably could have predicted, but I like being able to apply my skills to something that is not only immediately functional, but part of a bigger picture.”
His multifaceted career demonstrates the broad application of arts-based skills and the “solid work ethic” he learned at UNC Charlotte. “Creative thinking is a very valuable tool in any field, and I would encourage anyone majoring in art to minor – at the very least – in something else. It broadens one's insights and offers those other fields the benefits of new energy.”
Bradlee says that the “key artery” throughout his current practice is justice. “With resource scarcity, wealth disparity, and every other ailment plaguing the world right now, I expect a lot from Art, and I don't find it delivering.”
His work will be a part of the Department of Art & Art History 2015 Alumni Biennial in September. Visit his website here.