BRAD GREENWOOD is an artist. He currently lives and works in New York City. Formerly Development Manager for MoMA and the Director of Development for P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center from 2000-2005, Brad now dedicates himself to his own art.  We invited him to answer a few questions about his creative journey.

Interview by Melissa Unger

(after the swan)48×36 by Brad Greenwood


You’ve always worked in the arts but have devoted yourself to your own painting recently, what was the trigger?

Almost everything, but it still was hard to take off the tie.

I was being pushed out of my 30’s, popping buttons on my work shirts and pants and unhappily raising money for P.S.1 for (other) artists, but barely felt I could say I was one. I was anxious that if I did that job one more season I wouldn’t pick up a brush again.

Can you please describe what you experience while you are painting?

It’s really like being in a spell. There is a singular focus I don’t seem to get in any other part of my life. And both a hyper (excited) energy and a (calm) release as well. Like I am letting out some stored up information.

The harder thing to explain is what happens in that state. The paintings seem to start themselves– the sudden (decisive) palette of color; the really happy loss of time and doubt.

Brad in his studio.

How has this increase in creativity positively affected your life?

In every way. Life is really nice. It took time. The creative part was scary- a total flood at first, then very slow- now I think I get the pace. It was hardest building my own art world.  It is not easy to re-enter a community of artists after being an agent for the other side. The work really helped to get me there and to start to find my posse. Also, I slowly got my body back on my side.

Is there are book or text that has had a profound impact on you?

I had a period of thinking I had to “catch up” with the current art world when I got back into a studio. I was doing big, messy, impersonal oil paintings. They were bad and not me. I found a quote from David Hockney that said something like, “I paint what I want, where I want, when I want”.

It wasn’t a lightening bolt, but it snapped me out of my need to fit in. I started my series “If David Hockney was my boyfriend” and started to find my way. I do think art can have a sense of humor.

Who is your favorite creative pioneer?

I was really happy knowing Louise Bourgeois was around, working and having her salons. Richard Diebenkorn’s abillity to switch gears from abstract to figurative helps me try to resist labels. My PAFA art teacher Elizabeth Osborne is doing amazing paintings in her 70’s. I’m excited for MoMA’s de Kooning show.

(the wolf) 40×30 by Brad Greenwood

What is your current obsession?

Artwise, I’m possessed by wolves. I can’t really explain it. It started with Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

Lifewise, it’s cooking. Desserts. Peach cake, cobbler, shortcakes. And to make the best buttermilk pancakes. It’s a mission.


To view more of Brad Greenwood’s work, please click: HERE

All photographs by © Martin Thompson.


Published: September 1st, 2011

Previous in this series:

Morning Glory: NINA GORDON


  1. paula pelosi wrote:

    Wow, I am impressed!!!!!!! this is terrific stuff. P

  2. Sweet Freak wrote:

    I would like to eat peach cobbler amongst Brad’s wolf paintings!

  3. An inspiring article- you are so brave to “put away the tie” and follow your own artistic vision. So often we are pushing others (professionally or personally) and the artwork is secondary. I am so proud of you and hope one day I can put away my brief case and paint full time. Congratulations and best of luck to you, Brad!

  4. Jill Ocheltree wrote:

    Loved the article and the paintings. You deserve everything wonderful that comes your way. Just curious, “would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?” and more importantly…could I afford your artwork? I love the details of the wolf’s mouth and the colors in your paintings! Wishing you continued success.

  5. […] Read an interview on his creativity by Melissa Unger with this New York City based artist here. […]

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