Betsy Bradley

Fine Art - MA

Betsy’s art career is flying after studying her Master’s, with a solo exhibition at a Birmingham City Centre gallery under her belt and more exciting opportunities afoot.  

“After I finished my undergraduate degree, I tried to keep up my artist practice by painting in my bedroom. After a while, I wanted to be exposed to a more diverse range of practices because my degree was specifically in painting. I love learning, so a degree was a good start but I always knew that I'd want to go deeper at some point and a Master's seemed like the next step. I thought doing a broader based Fine Art Master's would help my work develop and expose me to other ways of working and processes. 

I didn’t plan to be based in the Midlands originally. My partner got a job in the area so we moved very suddenly. I went to look around Birmingham School of Art and I just fell in love with the building. Birmingham is a really exciting city for lots of different kinds of developing artists, spaces and galleries, which felt really refreshing.  

I thought the facilities were amazing at BCU, like the woodwork shop, metal and printmaking. All the technicians are incredible too and I am forever grateful to them for helping me achieve certain goals. They gave me a lot of free rein with screen printing, I wanted to trail techniques that maybe shouldn’t be done and they let me do that.  

My Master's has given me a deeper understanding of my own work and confidence to go into the world as an artist because I had so many chances to experiment with new materials and to play around with different processes, that was key to the development of my work. As well as refining my work, it was very much for me to experiment with loads of techniques too, which has prepared me to be an artist in the real world. 

When I graduated, I was approached by Birmingham’s Ikon gallery during the peak of lockdown in 2020 to have an exhibition there at the start of 2022. I couldn’t believe it at first; I thought it was a joke. I’d had some of my work included within an exhibition at the gallery called ‘Forward’ in 2019, which aimed to showcase new and emerging artists in Birmingham. From my work in that, the gallery remembered me, and the solo exhibition opportunity followed. Since then, I have already had lots of interest from other galleries about future exhibitions, including a residency in Northern Ireland. In the future, I hope to have many more exhibitions in larger spaces and public galleries. 

Birmingham is such an exciting place to be an artist and it feels like it's progressing. Being an artist is a very different career to a ‘normal job’, it’s very up and down and you have to keep that motivation and belief in yourself to keep going. I am always learning so much about my work and the industry, thankfully, BCU provided me with the confidence to be able to make bold moves with my work.”

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