Zachery Bridgeman

zacherybridgeman's picture

(646) 832-9974

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SF OPEN STUDIOS
WEEKEND 3: CASTRO
OCT 26-27, CENTRAL + EAST
Spark Arts
4229 18th Street Room #tba
San Francisco, CA 94114
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SF OPEN STUDIOS
WEEKEND 4: SOMA
NOV 2-3, NORTH
Rochelle Carr Studio & Gallery
1201 HOWARD ST APT A Room #A
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103
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I would say I rediscovered a childhood love for painting in November of 2018. Art in general rarely crossed my mind during most of my adult life, and for that reason I don’t have much in the way of a CV.  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.

My alcoholism got so bad last year that I had to take a time-out and do what I had always 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 rummaging through drawers and find some crappy old paint but no brushes, some thousand q-tips, some cardboard, and, as we say in Dixieland, Vwaowllah! 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 helps me to focus on the task at hand, not stress or any other negativity. I also loved (and still do) the beauty of being able to fix any mistakes I made or utilize them to improve a painting. The process itself felt symbolic for what I was going through. 

I didn’t stop painting 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 was able to remove the habit from the equation, and I began painting again. 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. If I can, I also want to remind people that art isn't just for aesthetics, but can be used to convey new ideas and be a force for positive change in the world.