Zachery Bridgeman

zacherybridgeman's picture

(646) 832-9974

Spark Arts
4229 18th Street Room #tba
San Francisco, CA 94114
Rochelle Carr Studio & Gallery
1201 HOWARD ST APT A Room #A

Painting was not something that crossed my mind until November of 2018. For that reason I don’t have much in the way of a CV. What I do have is a thread of experiences that have led me to this point (unheard of, I know), and I’ll share them through the context of art’s presence in my life so far.

1998: (seven, eight years old) My art teacher and P.E. Teacher pull me aside after school to tell me that my P.E. teacher wants to hang the painting of the flower I had made in her living room. Until recently, I had always assumed that they did so only to boost my self-esteem, which was generally pretty low.

2001 - 2003: for grades 6-8, thanks to my father and stepmother who made sure I had a high quality education, I attended a wonderful middle school in Nashville with an excellent art program.

2012 - 2018: Post-college in NYC I attended grad school while teaching high school special education, took writing/editing jobs during a two-year hiatus, obsessed over relationships, occasionally wrote fiction, smoked a lot of weed, and increasingly through it all: drank, drank...drunk.

That’s right. Alcoholic, depressive cliché here, reporting for duty. My alcoholism got so bad last year that I had to take a time-out and do what I had always dreamed of (absolutely feared) doing by age 30: returning home to live with my mother (who is amazing, by the way). Thankfully, when one door closes, you can sit behind that door in existential angst--in suburban Alabama--until you get so bored that you go rifling through drawers and find some crappy old paint but no brushes, some thousand q-tips, some cardboard, and, as we say in Dixieland, Vwaohwllah! My first painting, a portrait, and it wasn’t bad at all. The next evening: BASICS, brushes and canvas boards from Walmart, as well as painting numbers two and three. With those I had discovered the work of artist Carlos Delgado in Toronto on Instagram and, enamored with his abstract portraits, tried to imitate his style as well as add my own interpretations. Then I started to imagine what I might want to say in my own voice. I'm noticing my own style develop and am enjoying this process . Painting forces me to focus on the task at hand, not the million unhelpful thoughts knocking around in my head at any given moment.

From there I didn’t stop until I returned to NYC in January of this year, which was a mistake. I returned to old ways and “discovered” I was definitely not the type of artist whose lack of sobriety benefited him. In May I began painting again. With the help of medication, professionals, and a change of scenery, I was able to remove the habit from the equation. Alcoholism, a disease massively misunderstood and stigmatized by society, is just a part of who I am, a part albeit that wants me dead. For me, art is an antidote. That is why it is a theme that sometimes occurs in my work. I want to bring attention not only to the insidiousness of the disease, but the ways in which modern society both enables and stigmatizes it.

So here I am, about to attend my first Open Studios, my first art event. I am very excited to be among such passion and talent. I’m an artist now! Come meet me!