When Bradley Milligan surveys his canvas for his next painting subject, many inspiring messages fill his mind. Influential magical realism in literature, DIY idols who practice their craft, even punk rock music spurs the Edinboro University senior’s motivation.
When it’s time to get down to business, Milligan works primarily from directly observing subjects – typically studio interiors, still life and the human figure. His paintings are representational and thoughtfully abstracted investigations of space, color, design and heavily layered oil paint.
“I consider myself somewhat of a perceptual painter,” said Milligan, a Studio Arts – Painting major from Easton, Md. “I’m obsessed with working directly from a motif, as opposed to working from a photograph or memory.”
That motivation – and the subsequent paintings – has earned Milligan an international award from the prestigious Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation. The second Edinboro student to win the award for young painters, Milligan earned a $15,000 grant in Canadian currency to further his academic and professional painting career.
With the grant, Milligan aims to create a body of work to be showcased at the Hoyt Institute of Art in New Castle, Pa. The show, scheduled for October 2018, will feature Milligan’s work along with paintings from Edinboro Master of Fine Arts candidate Benjamin Frederick.
“In addition to funding the work for this show – which will be my largest showing to date – I hope that being part of the community of Greenshields scholars will open doors to meeting new people in the painting community,” Milligan said.
Established in 1955 by Charles Glass Greenshields, the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation was established to support the development of artists of genuine distinction in their particular fields. To date, the Foundation has granted financial assistance for more than 1,700 artists across 40 countries. Many grantees earn national and international prestige as practicing artists and highly respected professors, teachers and mentors.
“Bradley is one of our most ambitious and talented undergraduate students ever,” said Terry McKelvey, associate art professor at Edinboro who nominated Milligan for the award. “Many of the previous recipients of this award are leading contemporary painters.”
Milligan, who is currently applying for MFA programs and artists residencies across the country, credits McKelvey and the Edinboro University faculty for their support in developing his vision and ability.
“They're all practicing artists, and that is extremely important as they are actively dealing with the same or similar issues in their studios as the students are,” Milligan said of the EU art department faculty. “Their work encompasses a variety of approaches from the most traditional to post-modernist type work. This helps to facilitate a dynamic conversation among all the painters in the department.”
As an artist, Milligan draws his inspiration from historical and contemporary artists, as he continuously researches current art trends and holds open dialogues with his artistic peers.
“The ability to talk to and share ideas with more experienced painters, who are also students committed to their work, is very valuable as an undergraduate,” Milligan said.
Photo caption: Edinboro University art student Bradley Milligan works on his next piece with Terry McKelvey, associate art professor at Edinboro who nominated Milligan for the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation award.