The Bradcast

Hello and welcome to whatever it is I’m doing now.

Currently, in brief, I’ve got my own TV channel because the internet is a futuristic wonderland, and I’m using that channel to paint pictures.

And some other stuff.

It’s kind of a Winter project that has evolved from the live painting I’d been doing over the Summer.

Bradcast

The Bradcast is a show in three segments broadcast live over several hours in a night. It’s very much like traditional television with a schedule, but it’s live, interactive, and commercial free.

The first segment is live painting, music, and talk; kind of like Bob Ross, but longer and with happy little vampires instead of clouds.

Broadcasting directly from my canvas to your screen, you can tune in and watch me construct whatever image I’m working on, brush-stroke by brush-stroke in real-time. Often I’ll discuss my processes and projects as I work, and when I’m not doing that, I’m curating my favourite tunes for deep dives into the flow of painting.

Sometimes I’m on digging into big serious landscapes from session to session over a week or two. Sometimes it’s character design and concept art; sometimes experimental doodling; abstract work; or illustrations for some of my written projects.

Whatever it is that I’m working on, I’ll schedule out blocks for each in the show notes so that you can pick and choose which you’d like to tune in for.

It’s kind of what I’d be doing anyway, except now that I’ve got people from around the world dropping in over my shoulder, it keeps me at my highest level of discipline.

It’s all live, unscripted, and so far, unarchived. That means, unlike all those big evergreen podcast forests out there, this show only goes out once; fresh, unfiltered, and unedited.

I leave behind nothing but paintings.

I may begin recording sessions later for time-lapsed replays, but for now this raw, experimental state is starting to feel more like a feature than a bug.

The second segment of the Bradcast is Blanket Fort Adventure Theatre.

Blanketfort

When I was a kid, the best, most luxurious way to watch a movie was by building a blanket fort around a TV, hooking up a VCR, and blasting through a stack of rented VHS tapes with your pals over a sleepover weekend.

In the spirit of those days, I’ve added an after-hours segment to the Bradcast where you can tune in to see the movies, TV shows, clips, music videos, and other performances that I love and recommend. From pulpy action adventure films to cartoons, foreign films, documentaries, stand up comedy, and rare curiosities – I’m playing the stuff that keeps me inspired with its weird, reckless creativity.

The schedule changes every week. Set your phone reminders accordingly!

Neon

The last segment is the Neon Underground; a station break where I put in a session with some classics from the realm of video games from the 80s and 90s. Think of it as classic rock radio FOR YOUR EYES.

And yes, those are fully the Pacman Ghosts haunting that forest in the image above, and that is definitely a 1UP mushroom karate-fighting a Chanterelle.

The tree might be a cat.

Here’s how to watch:

You can tune in to the Bradcast on any device. You can watch it on the web over at www.twitch.tv/bradcollins on your computer or tablet, but you can also download the twitch app on your mobile device or game console and watch it that way.

I personally watch (when I’m not painting) by streaming it through the twitch app on my Playstation connected to a digital projector pointed at a huge screen.

It’s not as complicated as that actually sounds.

Just grab the app on one of your devices (be it console or mobile device) and then visit my profile there to watch and/or subscribe.

I post a schedule to the show notes page every Sunday so you can figure out what bits of the show you might be interested in over the course of the week. Don’t worry, if you forget, I’ll nudge you on whichever social media platforms you follow me on so you’ll know when I get started.

When all is said and done for the night, I post works in progress, lists of albums played, trailers, clips, bugs, and relevant links to things talked about to the same show notes page.

The beauty of this quasi-radio-television-internet format is that there’s lots of ways to have the Bradcast around. Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Watch and listen to it all! Hey, why not? It’s kind of like a painting lesson with some music with cartoons and movies. I’d watch that!
  • If the paintings are moving too slow for you, just minimize the video and put it in the background like it was a radio station. The music is always good, and the banter passable. Tweet the DJ if you want to make a request, shout-out, or dedication.
  • You could mute the audio and put my broadcast on one of your screens in the house as a living painting. Whatever I’m working on over the course of hours will be a one-of-a-kind live performance never to be repeated. Good, bad, or ugly, it might make an interesting/fascinating/disappointing/enchanting conversation piece for your party.
  • Build a blanket fort around your favorite screen in time for the cartoons and movies to start.
  • Put the Bradcast on a screen and paint, draw, dance, or create along with me. I’ll be your personal creative workout tape.
  • Discover new and ever more absurd ways of watching the Bradcast and send them to me so I can feature it.

Here’s how to interact:

Hey! Are you a fan of cool movies, art, and music? How about comic books? Video games? Pop-Culture? Yeah?

I mean, why aren’t we hanging out?

If you like that stuff, and particularly, if you like MAKING that stuff, then there’s a good chance that you’re my people. If you’re like me, you’ve probably got barrels full of dry powder waiting for just a spark of outside enthusiasm to make it explode. Am I right? If so, bring some of your creativity around and we’ll make fireworks as big and noisy as you like.

That’s the general. In specific, you can interact with the Bradcast in a bunch of ways.

  • Twitch: There’s a chat window built right into the side of the channel window. Remember the old IRC days? Kind of like that.
  • Twitter: Tweet at me and I’ll pass it along to the audience. Song requests? Dedications? Shout outs? Right here.
  • Instagram: Art and photo-journal. Follow for show notifications and pictures of stuff.
  • Facebook: Follow me on facebook to check out my artwork, but also join the Bradcast facebook group. That’s the place you want to be if you want to do the community fam-jam thing.
  • Tumblr: I post the schedules and show-notes to Tumblr. You can follow it directly for all the news you could want about everything going on in the Bradcast.

Here’s how to help:

I’ve been broadcasting my painting sessions intermittently since June, but I’ve only been at it in this more rigorous, structured format for a couple of weeks so far. I can use all the help I can get in terms of audience building and feedback.

Share: 
Share this article. Share the schedule. Share the links to the shows when I start blasting them out there on Twitter and Facebook.

If you’ve got friends who are interested in art, film, music, literature, comic books, video games, ninjas, technology and experimental broadcasting – send them my way. I know they can be incredibly tiring, so I will do my very best to take them off your hands and tire them out.

Interact: 
If you’re enjoying what you’re seeing and hearing, jump in and be part of it! Send me comments, questions, recommendations, dedications. Live tweet the blanket fort. Grab a sketchbook and make my broadcast your art time. Draw with me. Paint with me. Send me pictures. Send me pizzas and pizza emojis. Find other people watching along with you and send them stuff. Community!

Be My Guest:
Are you an interesting person working on interesting things? Perhaps you’d like to be a guest on the Bradcast! Contact me, and we can talk about getting you on the show to talk about you and the projects you’re working on.

If you’ve got products relevant to the show, we can talk about sponsorship as well.

Patronize me: 
Vote with your dollar to support the programming you enjoy. The Bradcast is free, live, and full to the brim with interesting content designed to teach, inspire, and entertain. You can help keep it on the air by throwing a dollar or two in my hat, or by subscribing to my projects via Patreon. This isn’t money that’s going to a big corporation, or a bunch of managers and middlemen. This is going straight to me, the artist, to keep a roof over my head and coffee in my veins. It’s a tough gig being an artist some days, but I love it. With very little help from a few people, it could be so much easier and I could love it even more.

Advise me: 
If you’re an experienced radio person, live-streamer, or social media expert, help me by making my game better. Help me grow my audience and smooth out some of the rough edges (but not all of them).

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Four Days In Dreams

I spent the long weekend at the end of August making art, playing music, and finding inspiration at a hand-crafted garden village in the woods north of my hometown. The Vale, as it’s properly called, is a community of artists living in cabins encircling a great hall designed specifically for performances of every variety; from painting, theater, and music, to poetry, brewing, and culinary arts.


The central hall started as a kitchen shack, and over time had evolved into a bonfire pit, an open dance floor, a covered dining area, and then a two-story art pavilion. Little alcoves full of chairs and couches can be found around the bottom floor, with the loft above serving as comfortable, well lit space to lay out canvasses and paints.

Upon arrival I set up my tent out near the cabin of a friendly shaman who offers to chase evil spirits off my shoulders with burning sage, finger-snaps, and magnets. Next to his cabin was an A-frame in which a dancer lived in his own recording studio; opposite him on the other end of the field an actor/playwright lived in a yurt next to the impressive vegetable farm he’d been keeping.

I brought apples from my tree at home to offer up for making pies and crisps, my ukulele, a batch of colored pencils, and several half-filled sketchbooks of varying age and use.

Once I had a place to dump my corpse after midnight, I went directly to the pavilion to see who had arrived and to pick out a deep chair to spend the days ahead working from.

The days were brutally hot. Once the sun hit my tent, it became an oven and there was no way to hang on to sleep. Instead I’d burst out and stumble to the far side of the hall to find coffee and other sleepy artists lounging around one of the several outdoor tables. Once the sun had reached that side of the building, it was our cue to return indoors and get back to our projects.

The nights were cooler and carried a different energy. Performers hit the stage, followed by dancing, childhood games, and the excitement of touring the works of everyone there kept us moving and stretching at intervals.

Like surfers standing in the tide, we would ride the waves that came to us, then come back to shore for food and conversation and visits to the lake. Riding the crest was being fully locked into your work; in the “zone” with work pouring out continuously. Sometimes I’d see the musical wave pass by with other surfers on it and want to switch over mid-stream, and sometimes I would. Mostly, though, I was deeply into finding the rhythm of coming in and going out with explorations in my sketchbook.

Jam 8

I’d go to bed just as the glow of the sun crawling up the horizon so I could get at least a couple of hours of cool darkness to dream in. I wasn’t the last to bed, though. Outdoors, a gathering of roasted, toasted writers, poets, dancers, musicians, actors, and acrobats would blather about whatever absurdities came to mind, and upstairs, steady-handed painters would stay hard at it until they could trade in their lamps for daylight.

After a dark winter and a dull Summer, it was exactly what I needed to remind myself of what good there is gathering, in meeting new people, and in riding the waves of inspiration. Nothing keeps you sharper than joining with others in the same pursuit.

I made some new connections in the cities nearby, and caught the sound of the festival train moving steadily onward through the winter. I’m hoping I can make it over to Cumberland for the Woodstove festival, and whatever comes after that wherever it lands.

The whole experience makes me want to reshape my big house and yard into a place where artists and musicians can come and play. Ever since strolling through the streets of Portland Oregon on holiday and seeing all these old houses turned into quasi-formal lounges, I’d wanted to build such a space – but until now I thought it was impossible. Things have changed, and I’m looking at my Autumn projects with a different eye.

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The Roadhouse Glow

The Return of Twin Peaks has been a spectacular feat of television in the midst of what is quite rightly called “the golden age” of TV. How, in the age of the “binge”, when almost any piece of recorded film is a few keystrokes away, do you hold the rapt attention of the most sophisticated audience in history from week to week?

Keep them guessing, maybe. Or in some cases, scratching their head.

According to what I’ve seen on social media, it’s Twin Peaks and Game of Thrones delivering on that classic “tune in next week” experience on TV; where cliffhangers and upheavals keep audiences on the edge of their seats and in circles around water coolers. It used to be sort of standard, but now it’s a rarity of anticipation that I’m savouring.

The Walking Dead, too – but I left that show somewhere back in the Prison.

Bang Bang

Bang Bang

Twin Peaks continues to fascinate in this regard because it’s not a Shakespearian tragedy full of war and politics and zombies (take your pick as to which of the other two shows I’m referring to); it’s more like a dream and a soap opera. A painting and a music video.

I’ve painted four illustrations in tribute to the show’s aesthetics already, and with the return, there’s been so much gorgeous Lynchian imagery to go swimming in I couldn’t resist doing another. As it stands now (part twelve only having aired a couple of days ago), Dale Cooper is still lost in the periphery – tangled in the curtains between worlds. Apparitions are part of the fabric of the show, and seeing Agent Cooper approaching the roadhouse alone while simultaneously walking the floor of the Black Lodge was where my heart was after watching him sleepwalking through memories of black coffee and cherry pie for so many episodes now.

This was the third of my live paintings; broadcast over the intertubes over the course of a few days. The soundtrack to the broadcasts were provided by Roy Orbison, Dave Brubeck, Booker T and the MGs, and Nine Inch Nails among others.

I should point out that the above image is reduced in size by quite a lot in order to economically put it online, and also to avoid image piracy. The source files, and the image as printed to giclee are much richer in colour and in painterly detail.

I  tried to paint it fat and juicy with colour and contrasting lights and darks from the outset. If you dig in, even the shadows are full of purples and greens set against each-other in balance.

The whole scene is not only lit, but transformed by the light of the neon sign. If you let your eye rest in different places, it has the effect of a hologram; the wood of the building becoming lit from within. Inspired by painters like Edward Hopper, I wanted it to feel as much like a dream as the show itself does.

Do I overexplain this stuff or what?

I can’t wait to see what’s coming next Sunday. There’s only a few episodes left, but I’m not expecting any kind of closure on this story.

If you like the image, feel free to pick up a print or a card or a sticker. You can read about some of my other adventures in Twin peaks here, and here.

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Music: Petunia and the Vipers

Petunia and the Vipers have come through Powell River twice in the last few months, taking the stage at the Red Lion Pub in Wildwood for both performances. Packed out and sold out both times, I was there roaming around the edges taking it all in.

Petunia 1

That one time Petunia had a beard and sang Lou Lou at the Red Lion in Powell River.

Some of you may be wondering what a guy named after a flower and a bunch of snakes might sound like on stage anyway. It’s not a question that’s quickly answered, but I’ll try.

Seeing Petunia and the Vipers play, to me, answers the question “I wonder what it would be like to be in a dance hall back in the day tapping toes to the likes of Hank Williams, Wanda Jackson, or even Harry Belafonte?”.

That’s the answer right there. It’s happening in front of you. Right now.

And that’s not to say that Petunia and the Vipers are a nostalgia act. These guys are just continuing a still vital tradition of musicianship going back to a time most often glimpsed in the photographs of our grandparents on the mantle, or heard warbling out of old records on the turntable. It’s still there, it’s just out on the road far away from the noise and pomp of what came after and because.

But I didn’t really spend my nights with the Vipers analyzing the music. In truth, I was busy cutting rugs.

The energy was high, and the band was as tireless as it was deft. Through roots country, through calypso, through darkest ragtime – the Vipers brought two nights and several encores of their best home-grown from all over the musical map. And when the night downshifted into something like the Cricket Song or Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust, it gave us a dreamy, sunset dappled respite before diving back into the breathless, almost acrobatic pieces like Baby Amy and Lou Lou.

Petunia 2

Jimmy Roy plays.

Any time Petunia’s in town, whether by himself with the Vipers behind him, I try my best to make it to every show, and I end up seeing the same group of die-hards in the crowd each time. It’s almost like a club that mobilizes only for them, gathering only in their presence. Their battle-cry is Jimmy Roy’s name.

If you’ve been sitting around on the fence wondering whether this band is worth the babysitter money, take it from one of the die-hards: go see Petunia and the Vipers.

—-

For more information on Petunia and the Vipers, visit their official website here.

If you want to check out the sound and character of the band, check out the videos for Mercy and Chained right here.

And click here to read what I wrote about Petunia a couple of years ago when he passed through and played for us at the Cranberry Hall.

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Art: Honey in the Sun

I started this piece because, hey, I hadn’t painted anything in a while. I’d been doing good work in my sketchbook for most of the last month, but I’d been fearful of doing anything more than that.

Why? Who knows? I certainly don’t.

I battle with huge, ugly, blue demons on a daily basis right now, and since I’m clobbering them good today with cunning and big iron hammers, I thought I’d take the opportunity to publish a little something.

Stage 2

Stage 2

I had saved a very early stage of this painting to help show the process of how I get started, but unfortunately I saved over it with stage 2 by accident. Oops.

It was pretty much just the outline of her hair, guitar, and the first green patches that would become her face.

As you can see with stage 2, it’s still sketchy, blocky, and messy – but I have the colours laid out, the basic proportions locked in, and most of TracyAnne’s face finished. Initially I had everything painted in that same dark blue, but I saw the opportunity to give the piece some extra depth, and create a more delightful contrast with the light around her head by making her hair the darkest segment of the work.

Tracyanne Campbell

Tracyanne Campbell

And here’s the finished piece – signature and all. I think it took me about 6 hours from beginning to end (with a break or two in between).

I was having something of a bad day when I started. I could explain what a bad day is like, but it’s pretty much exactly the same as a good day, except that my skull feels like it’s been smoked over a fire, then filled up with cold rainwater and sad music. It sloshes around, spills over the brim, and I can’t see through the blur to the sparkle behind the trees anymore.

Nothing really causes it, and nothing really fixes it. It just is, and I have to do what I can to wait it out.

Rather than riding the descent any further, I decided I’d focus on something positive. Painting will often give me the zen-like space I need to let the storms blow away, and so even though I very much didn’t want to, I made that my day’s mission. I felt rusty and out of practice, and it seemed like a mountain of effort to climb in front of me, but I ignored that sensation. I knew it would pass once I got into the work, and it did.

I didn’t want to give myself any time to back out, so I simply grabbed the first song that came to mind and painted a still from the video. In this case, Camera Obscura’s “Honey in the Sun”. They’re one of my favourite bands, and for whatever reason I’m kind of stuck in the very pleasurable rut of listening to them a lot these days.

In any case, there it is. If you enjoy what I do, feel free to follow my on my various social media and send me a word or two. I’m also for hire if you know anyone who needs a commercial illustrator, writer, or fool.

Until next time.

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Art: Moons and Tunes About Moons

It was pointed out to me recently that the thing I seem to paint most is the moon.

I hadn’t noticed, but it’s true.

I don’t know if there’s any particular reason for that except, y’know, it’s one of the most beautiful and inspiring things seen by human eyes, but in tallying up my work, yes – yes I do paint the moon with great regularity.

Come to think of it, there have been many nights where I’ve been out walking and came home to paint what I saw in the sky, but never finished. If I included those unfinished sketches and abandoned pieces, the total count might almost double.

The moon, being the majestic heavenly body that it is, has been the locus of our collective imagination for the existence of our species. It’s hardly any surprise that it inhabits great stretches of art, music, and poetry going back centuries. I find that I’ve got tons of great songs about the moon kicking around in regular rotation on my playlist, and so, hey, let’s do a pairing: I’ve painted a lot of moons and a lot of my favourite tunes are about moons, so I’m bringing you moons and tunes about moons until I run out.

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Art: Lightning Strikes Twice

I got an e-mail yesterday saying that Society6 decided to feature one of my prints in their store. Of all my work, they picked “Tom Waits: Blue Valentines”. This one, right here:

Tom Waits - Blue Valentines

Tom Waits – Blue Valentines

I got all excited about it and went out to social media to tell everyone I got this big feature and by the time I got finished spreading the word, another e-mail came in saying Society6 had picked another of my pieces to show off. This time it was “Comptine d’un autre été” – one of my Amélie paintings.

How cool is that? Two features in the same day. I practically floated around the room.

As ever, my work is inspired by music – and so each of these pieces has a song to go with it if you enjoy that kind of thing.

Comptine d'un autre été

Comptine d’un autre été

I’ve never been featured twice in the same day by anyone for anything ever. I didn’t even think they did that, but I’m really happy that they did. I’ll take all the victories I can get, and all the help I can find. Hopefully things keep growing steadily from here. KAPOW.

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