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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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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Sketchdrop: Trees

trees5

With the weather growing ever less garbagesome, I’ve been taking my sketchbooks with me on adventures into the forest and up the side of cliffs; also to cafes, diners, and spontaneous drawing clubs in basements (the first and second rules forbid me from elaborating. Sorry).

I’ve been drawing trees a lot lately, and the more I draw them, the more I find myself getting lost in fabricating three-dimensional bodies with a flow of lines. What started with fairly ordinary landscapes in pencil went into outer-space once I stepped away from trying to represent a true object and instead started playing with its visual DNA.

Pencil crayons are mama-hecking fun, too.

Some of my friends and neighbours are fallers (lumberjacks if you’re not from around here). Regardless of how abstract the stumps were, they’d look at it and see only a bad cut. From the moment I opened the page to get their opinion, out would come a chorus of “Aww, that’s a terrible stump” from anyone who’s looked at a chainsaw twice.

trees12

“What!?”

“Well, any BC boy ought to know a good undercut.”

Fair point, I suppose, but I didn’t realize I’d be graded on my saw-craft of purely theoretical stumps.

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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: Bear Season

Guys.

There’s bears everywheres.

Point of fact, as I write this, a black bear is ascending the stairs in someone’s front yard across the street from the cafe I’m sitting in. Broad daylight, bold as you like.

With all the bears creeping around this season and being needlessly destroyed by the ignorant and trigger-happy, I thought I’d offer a few words of advice on how to avoid harming or being harmed by bears.

Who am I? Well, I’m a pedestrian that lives in bear country, and I encounter bears on an almost daily basis in peak season. I’m still alive, have all my limbs, and I’ve never had cause to do anything above yelling at one to get it to go merrily on its way.

Be warned, though: this is just my opinion drawn from my experience with black bears in my part of the world. Don’t blame me if you get eaten by a polar bear or sexually harassed by a panda. Not my intention, and also not my problem.

Oh, and here’s a painting I did.

"Bear Season" or "I say... are you sure we've been eating Chanterelles?"

“Bear Season” or “I say… are you sure we’ve been eating Chanterelles?”

1. Make noise. All sorts of noise.

In my experience, bears are only potentially dangerous when you surprise them, or if you find yourself standing between a mother and its cubs. The trouble is, if you’re just rambling around on your own in the dark listening to headphones, you might just find yourself unwittingly walking right into one of those situations.

I certainly have.

The solution is simple: don’t be quiet. Be noisy.

Also, don’t listen to headphones.

Making noise gives the bear a chance to hear you coming so it can clear off and get the kids to safety before you get anywhere near it. No surprises, no cubs, no danger.

I didn’t want to wear big jingle bells wherever I went, so I started taking around portable instruments. Ukulele, accordion, or whatever else fit in my bag. That way, I could make noise, practice an instrument, have fun, and look only slightly less ridiculous than a person wearing jingle bells.

If you don’t feel like doing that, carry an air horn. Or french horn even (I’m still looking for a trumpet).

Unless you expect to encounter more dangerous species of bear (grizzly, polar, or care bear), defensive measures are completely unnecessary. Guns and pepper spray will wound, terrify, and antagonize a bear unnecessarily, and that will make them much more dangerous and unpredictable than simply clapping or yelling at them would.

2. Bears don’t actually want to eat you. You’re too much effort.

Some people new to living in bear country make the ridiculous assumption that they are being hunted by bears everywhere they go. They imagine that making noise is just making the whole predator/prey exchange a little easier for the bear, or that it’s best to slip by unnoticed as though they were lost out in Jurassic Park.

Not so.

Bears aren’t out to hunt you. They’re out to find the most caloric bang for their effort buck, and humans are just WAY too much of a workout. Berries, mushrooms, apples, dying fish, and garbage are more their speed.

I mean, look at them. They’re chubby bastards for a reason. They don’t like to break sweat, and even though they’re well equipped for battle, they, like us, would rather our food didn’t fight back.

Their priority is to fatten up, not expose themselves to combat.

When I’m out foraging for side dishes, I don’t see a bear and say “Whoah! Hey! Jackpot! Who needs mushrooms or apples or crawfish when I can eat this bear?” and just go straight to work trying to kill it with my pocket knife.

Waaaaay too much effort. Way too much danger.

It’s the same for the bear. They’re just not that ambitious.

And bears have learned quickly that people carry guns, explosives, caustic sprays, and keep big scary dogs with them. We’re basically wizards to them; big unpredictable Gandalfs with deep bags full of lethal trickery-fuckery.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to tangle with a scary forest warlock for a snack – especially when there’s some perfectly good, less animate stuff just lying around.

3. Don’t carry around backpacks full of refuse. Don’t keep salmon in your pockets.

Should be obvious, but hey, don’t be a walking dumpster.

This rule applies to many things in life.

Ask your friends and family: “Do I smell like rotting horse meat sitting in a hot waste receptacle?”

If the answer is yes, you may be at greater risk of bear encounters. You might also be a zombie, at which point, you may need more help than I can give you here.

If you smell normal, make sure that your house does, too.

One encounter I had involved a bear trying to get into my kitchen because a house-guest of mine left a big tray of bacon fat sitting in my sink to congeal. I heard the beast climb into my back yard over the fence, and I got upstairs just in time to close my sliding glass door before it wandered in. True story. Had I been listening to music that night and missed the sound of it breaking fence-boards as it climbed in, there’s a good chance I’d find the bastard poking around my studio looking for secret deposits of breakfast meats (of which there are many).

What’s more, make sure to pick your fruit.

Or don’t.

Either way, just remember that bears love a good untended fruit tree. If you pick your trees clean, you can make all sorts of wonderful preserves, pies, and desserts with it. If you fail to pick your fruit trees, not only do you lose out on making delicious food from it, you also lose your right to complain about the bears that come by to feast on what you leave on the ground for them.

4. Respect

Bears, like people, don’t respond well to being pushed around, kicked, spit on, or suplexed. If you insist on being a dick to a bear, things may suddenly go sideways for you.

Under no circumstances should you attempt to punch, flick, lasso, french kiss, circumcise, tickle or ride a bear. Do not hit on a bear’s significant other. Do not invite bears to play candy crush on facebook. Do not go to their lairs and attempt to recruit them into your religion whilst they’re still hibernating.

Do not snap wet towels at them.

Basically, just think of all the things that would upset you, and then don’t do those things to others. Including bears. If you’ve made it this far in life without grasping that concept, then by all means, go forth and wet-willy some bears with my blessing.

5. If you don’t feel safe, don’t go!

There’s plenty of times around this part of the year that I feel like going out somewhere at night, but have to consider that I might discover a bear in my path. Or a cougar.

If I don’t feel safe, I don’t go. I trust my gut.

Remember, we’re animals too. We’re equipped with all sorts of great instincts and senses that tell us when we’re in danger, and I’ve always paid attention to them.

When I feel like I’m being watched, I realize that I probably am being watched. No big deal. I just acknowledge it and behave appropriately.

In sum, remember these points and your local bear population should get along just fine:

– Don’t surprise a bear. Make some noise.
– Pick your fruit and keep your garbage/compost stored away somewhere secure.
– Don’t be a dick.
– Trust your instincts. If you don’t feel safe, don’t go.

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Art: Summer’s End

I’m a pedestrian, so I’m perpetually on the slow path wherever I may choose to go. I often stick to forest trails in my home neighbourhood, but the further afield I get, especially toward the ocean, the skies open up into spectacular cloudscapes that drift and float above the islands and the sea.

Summer's End

I’m never able to capture it by photograph, but as I walk, I try to lock the colours and figures in my mind as best as I can so I might attempt a painting later at home. If I’m lucky, or if I don’t mind being late, my path gives me time to watch it change like a rolling mountain range, or a second ocean above the other. It’s an experience I just don’t think I’d have if I was driving everywhere.

One day while walking down to play soccer in the late Summer, I saw the clouds take shape into something like a ship sailing by the moon on a sea of other clouds. My team-mates poked fun at me for staring at the sky instead of keeping my eye on the ball when I arrived, and I said “See if I don’t go home and paint it.”

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Art: A Portrait in Stages

Here’s how I paint a portrait.

Space Amanda

Space Amanda

This is Amanda, and she’s leaving town for the Summer – so I decided to send her off with a painting of a memory and a reminder to come back soon.

Amanda and I volunteered to help set up, decorate, and tear down the annual people’s prom this year, which we did alongside a crowd of our talented and lovely friends. This year, the theme was a prom in space, and I spent the weeks ahead of the dance collecting and curating hundreds of kitschy, cool, fun, weird science fiction clips, and then I cast them in a mixing loop split across three projectors onto the ceiling – as if they were the windows on the bridge of a star-ship.

I wore a three piece suit and a robot helmet (with a cane) that would have disguised me completely if it weren’t for the fact that wearing a three piece suit with a robot helmet is exactly the sort of thing I’d do. Amanda wore a hooded dress made up of glow-in-the-dark galaxies and she put stars around her eyes.

Our friends all came dressed as robots, aliens, and classy prom-goers of the far future, and we danced amid the lasers in the simulated gravity of the star ship we’d built together. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see someone float out the door.

Stage One

Stage One

This first stage of the painting took me about two hours. I suppose I could have shown a couple of earlier stages, but they were simply messy strokes of placeholder shapes and colours. Still, I wish I’d kept one at that level just to show where things really begin. Next time.

Stage Two

Stage Two

At the second stage, I’m trying to maintain a likeness and pull all the various features into final order before I start the long process of continual refinement and detail work.

I find I have a habit of painting eyes much larger than they really are, for example, and this can sometimes give the painting the look of a caricature rather than a portrait. I try to step back from my work for a while at this point and determine what, if anything, is killing or emphasizing the likeness.

In this case, there wasn’t a huge leap in changes between this stage and the final piece. I had tried a handful of ideas that didn’t really work out the way I had planned at this point, such as putting stars in the darkest parts of her hair. I think that concept might have worked if I could have found the right colour for them.

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