NEW YORK – Bubble wrap, originally invented as a three-dimensional wallcovering in 1957, is now in most packages you can find on your doorstep. Most people consider bubble wrap as a padded packaging material or inexplicably satisfying to pop, but not as an artist Bradley Hart.
“When I see bubble wrap, I see potential,” he said.
Hart is a New York-based artist who specializes in turning bubble wrap into high art.
“I first got the idea after having some experience with overzealous security guards telling guests in a museum and, in one case, myself not to touch the art,” Hart said.
It starts by identifying an image and then uses an algorithm and software to map the bubbles.
“I go through a tedious process of turning this image into a series of pixels,” he explained.
Before he can start spray painting, he must first load up to 2,000 syringes with paint. The time-consuming loading process can take three to five days, depending on the size of the painting.
Each filled bubble creates a colorful composition, the quality of which is almost photographic.
“When you get very close, you can see a more abstract version of these different colors. When you step back, those three or four colors you just looked at merge and become something else on your eye, ”Hart said. “I’ve done all of Marilyn Monroe, Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Gerhard Richter, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and David Bowie.”
A second impression of the artwork is made by overfilling the injected paint so that it drips onto the other side.
“All the drops freeze on the back of the bubble wrap,” Hart explained. “When I’m done, I can peel off this pure color sheet very carefully.”
Hart was inspired in part by the famous French post-impressionist Georges Pierre Seurat and his technique of pointillism.
“My work easily falls into what I call neo-pointillism,” he said. “I did an entire show based on Seurat’s La Grande Jatte.”
Hart says there’s no need to worry about the urge to pop his artwork.
“Everyone’s talking about, ‘Oh, I was there. I would come across it. I would jump and I would pop ‘and all these comments. And the reality is that the paint is dry inside; it’s unstoppable, “he said.
But they are able to delve deep into its meaning.
“Why did he use plastic? Why does he use needles to inject it? Does this process that he is undertaking have any relation to the material or to the society in which we live or to our time? “Said Hart to the questions about his art. “But yes, my work needs to be touched. But that’s part of the conversation, playing with the cultural trope. Should I be able to touch it or not? Can i touch this now? This is just one of many codes in my work. “
Hart’s next solo show in New York is planned for 2022.