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Artist Spotlight: C. Bedford

Artist Spotlight: C. Bedford

C. Bedford's cultural influences growing up were far and wide, covering early years in Queens, N.Y., then on to Greenville, N.C., for the first of a few regional shocks. At 15, a move to York, Pa.: "The desolate demeanor of this place made even Greenville seem like it was hustling, and time slowed even more," says Bedford. The last five years have been spent with husband in tow in England.

"I feel much more suited here; I miss my family dearly, but I'm not sure how honest I would be if I said that I missed America too," Bedford says. "There are moments I miss, and people, but it's hard to say how much the actual place influenced my experiences. I guess it has, now that I think about it."

"Illustrating is now my current occupation. I do commissions for people who are after what my style can provide, which is, as probably noticeable, androgynous men. I also like to try and keep my work rooted in the old ways of painting, so I look up to a lot of historic masters — J.C. Leyendecker, Mucha, Lord Frederic Leighton," Bedford tells us.

Eventually, we were curious as to C. Bedford's gender, and this was the interesting reply: "I typically stay gender neutral online or when I'm not physically present at a place. This more has to do with people's perception of others and attaching those qualities to other things they do in life or what they create. And though my gender has affected how people treat me in the world (which would alter my own perceptions of how the world is); I also feel that my gender has little to do with the subjects of my work or why I choose to paint what I paint. It's not that I don't feel that I'm the correct birthed gender or anything, but rather I don't really understand what's so different about being male or female mentally. I've also had people in the past treat me differently or just automatically assumed things when they learned what gender I was, so I usually refrain. I think 'they' or 'them' would work fine. It's not that I'm trying to make a point or statement about gender, though this is a topic that comes up incredibly frequently given the nature of my work, so I suppose a point will be made regardless. My art is more important to me than my gender, and I think people should try to understand it for what it is, rather than trying to break it down by applying my physical attributes to 'decode' whatever it is I've made with stereotypes. I hope this isn't all confusing. I know it shouldn't be a big deal, but I've always had trouble physically associating myself with my work. I'm trying to get over this."

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About Bedford's technique and mediums: "As far as mediums go, I do work with graphite a lot, and most usually a mechanical pencil. People tend to get a lot of flack for using mech pencils rather than wood for all sorts of reasons, but I'm very much a believer that a person makes art using whatever tools are available. Though I prefer nice thick paper, I'm not too picky what I use. I also do a lot of digital painting (using Photoshop and a pen tablet), which is becoming increasingly more popular. I find it is easier because you're not having to deal with lots of paint and mediums or oils; you're not having to buy new canvases or brushes and solvents frequently. I've been familiar with digital painting since I was about 14, and it made [it possible for] someone who couldn't really afford all the materials actually have access to creating a wider variety of art with color. I do try to paint in a more traditional way with my digital works. Meaning I only use one layer in each painting, and I only use the brush tool and choose the colors I want to use (so I don't often use effects and never use premade filters). Nearly every digital painting I make starts off as a paper sketch. I then scan it in and start applying paint on top as you would a sketch on a canvas. I like keeping it simple and as close to traditional painting as I can. "

"The question 'Why do you paint your guys like that?' was the first thing I'd hear from anyone seeing my work for the first time. The androgynous nature of a lot of my work always seems to unsettle people. This was always the case, though."

You can see more of Bedford's work at the links below:
CBedford.com
C-Bedford.tumblr.com

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