Bradley Spencer

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Medium: sculpture

Artist Statement

I believe that the most successful public art reaches people where they are. Whether or not someone considers them self to be an art appreciator, it is the artist’s responsibility to provide an experience that is meaningful to them. Public art has the potential to engage and even unite people through a common understanding and experience. Public art can educate, celebrate heritage, encourage dialogue and be a mirror to ourselves. As a public sculptor for the past 25 years I am interested in helping communities define their unique character and tell their stories through public art.

Living in the clay belt of North Carolina makes brick an irresistible medium choice for me. Historically sculpture has been constructed from all forms of building materials to enhance a culture’s architecture and define the purpose of buildings and public spaces. Brick sculpture dates back to the Ishtar Gates of Babylon (c.575 BC) and today the medium still requires the same hands-on techniques. Clay brick units that have not yet been fired are stacked, spaced, sculpted and numbered then returned to the brick plant for firing. The now durable sculpted brick is mortared in place like any other masonry. Brick is an ideal medium for public art. Material cost is low compared to most other permanent mediums thus providing opportunity for a more extensive design within a given budget. Brick sculpture is durable, easily maintained and intriguing to people whose understanding of brick is challenged, then greatly expanded, when they contemplate a sculpted brick relief or freestanding sculpture.

My projects have included integration into architecture, creating gateways, entire plazas often with seating, and enhancing the pedestrian experience along sidewalks and greenways, all constructed with sculpted brick. I welcome collaboration with community members, engineers, architects and design teams to ensure the final design reflects the community and harmonizes with the environment.