The current issue of the New Yorker includes a profile of Mark Bradford, one of the hottest painters of the decade. While his works now fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars, his success was hardly an overnight phenomenon: he worked in his mother’s beauty salons for a number of years, travelled through Europe on gossamer-thin budgets, and emerged from art school via a rather circuitous route.
Bradford’s impecunity led him to seek alternatives to the traditional art supply stores: he used tissue paper products from the hair salon for some projects, and later painted canvases with house paint from Home Depot (he preferred mis-mixed colors that customers had rejected; those went for rock-bottom prices).
Great art doesn’t always need a great budget; often creativity finds a way. As Bradford notes in the article, he can see if there’s a problem with his work and fix it, just as he had the rare skill to salvage a bad hairdo.
More on his art and life here: