Michael Bradford is just getting started. The Huntington High School senior has been studying computer graphics for only two years and in that short time his work has captured the imagination of professionals in the art world.
“It has been a highlight of my 20 years of teaching to work with Michael Bradford,” art teacher Kasmira Mohanty said. “Michael joined my Computer Graphics class in eleventh grade, which is unusual, since the entry level classes I teach are usually filled with ninth and tenth graders. It wasn’t very long before I discovered Michael’s instinctual artistic sensibilities. With each new project I saw him become more and more confident in his ability to visually represent his ideas and personal style. Michael is extremely detailed oriented and demonstrates the ability to rework an assignment until it meets his exacting standards. Despite getting a late start in the arts I see limitless potential in Michael. He has worked tirelessly to make up for lost time so that he may pursue his love of art.”
Huntington High School senior Michael Bradford.
A member of Huntington’s Art Honor Society, Mr. Bradford has been recognized for his work with the organization. “He created an original piece of artwork that was placed on tote bags that were sold as part of the Society’s annual fundraiser,” Ms. Mohanty said. “They were an instant success.”
Mr. Bradford is currently exhibiting one of his pieces in the Huntington Art Council’s High Arts Showcase XIV at the Main Street Gallery. The exhibit will run through March 31. It showcases the work of several dozen gifted junior and senior artists from six Long Island school districts that participate in the Huntington Arts Council’s Journey program, “which fosters the appreciation of cultural diversity through the arts.”
Located at 213 Main Street in Huntington village, the Main Street Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 12-4 p.m. Admission is free.
“What does ‘nature’ mean to you?” asked Mr. Bradford in an artist’s statement accompanying his work at the Main Street Gallery. “For many, it just means trees, forests, plants, flowers and other tangibles along those lines. While that may be one aspect of nature, to me that’s not what nature truly represents. Nature is the strongest force in existence; beautiful and terrifying at the same time. It can be humanity’s greatest ally or worst adversary. She, Mother Nature, has the power to completely devour entire galaxies with nothing to stop her.”
Mr. Bradford is exhibiting a photographic collage that is simply stunning. “Humans are born from nature and exist only if she allows it,” states the teenager’s artist’s statement. “Our continual efforts to expand, pollute and destroy are in direct conflict with Mother Nature. Her authority may not be tough enough to endure our selfish and ignorant ways. The artwork I created tries to convey these ideas. The peeling of the skin represents humanity’s ability to destroy itself. The flowers are symbolic of the relationship we had with nature in the distant past and what we should strive for again. The mountains express the continued strength of nature and many circles dotted throughout the piece define how our relationship to nature is ongoing and not simply linear.”
The senior is carefully considering his next move as he prepares to graduate from Huntington High School in June. “I’ve applied to a few places, like LIU Post, MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) and Columbia College Chicago,” Mr. Bradford said. “If I can’t get into those schools, I plan on going to Suffolk Community College since it just opened up a new animation and media arts program. I would go there for two years and then transfer to an art school once I have built up a stronger portfolio.”
Mr. Bradford is interested in creating his own video game characters, stories and landscapes. “So I’m planning on going to art school for just that,” he said.
The senior has developed a close working relationship with Ms. Mohanty and he has benefited handsomely from her professional expertise and mentoring.
“She’s an amazing teacher,” Mr. Bradford said. “She really helped me out these past two years. I look up to her. She’s kind and caring, but she won’t sugar coat things when parts of our artwork needs a little tweaking. I respect that. I wouldn’t want someone just telling me my artwork is perfect. She forces me to try new things and helped push me on my path to becoming an artist. I wish I met her in ninth grade instead of eleventh so I could have experienced more of her teaching. All in all she’s a wonderful and amazing person and I will never forget her.”
The veteran Huntington faculty member feels the same way about her protégé. “Michael is dedicated to his chosen field of study,” Ms. Mohanty said. “His artwork and character stand above the rest. I admire his design sense and his ability to translate his creative talents into working and practical forms. He has a marvelous future ahead of him.”