'What Are You Digging For?': Artist Mark Bradford Explains His Work on '60 Minutes'

  • May 13, 2019 13:59

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Artist Mark Bradford shows Anderson Cooper one of his pieces.
60 Minutes / CBS News

His first painting sold for $5,000. Now they can sell for more than $10 million.

Influential LA-based artist Mark Bradford, 57, was interviewed by Anderson Cooper for 14 minutes of the CBS News program '60 Minutes' on Sunday.

Known for his powerful, and often large-scale, abstract works that span social and political issues, Bradford says about his subject matter: "I gr-- grapple with things personally, and you know, racially, and politically. What does it mean to be me?"

Of his creative process, Bradford said, "It is like an archeological dig. It's like history. I'm creating my own archaeological or psychiol-- psychological digs. Sometimes when I'm digging on my own painting I'm asking myself, 'Well, exactly what are you digging for? Where do you want to go child?'"

Among the interview's revealing tidbits was the artist's explanation of a recent artwork, titled '150 Portrait Tone' (now at LACMA). Bradford created this work in response to the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile during a 2016 traffic stop. Castile's girlfriend livestreamed the incident, saying "Please don't tell me this Lord, please Jesus don't tell me that he's gone." Bradford was taken aback by her words as Castile lay dying, later incorporating them into the painting. He felt her response, "...was visual, and textual, and heartbreaking, and heroic, and strong all at the same time."

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