Shoe people. Good people. They always seem to find us, and we continue to be equally delighted and mystified by this happy, seemingly daily occurrence.
After Dallas, our BOOTLEG Airstream Tour caravan headed east to Oxford, Miss., for a pop-up shop outside downtown boutique Cicada For Her. As the team piled out to greet new friends, we couldn't help but notice the hustle-bustle next door at Cicada's other half, Cicada For Him.
Inside, we met local artist Bradley Gordon. Apart from the beautiful artwork under his arm (and his denim + skull cap combo), we couldn't pinpoint exactly why our spidey-senses were buzzing ... but a proper chat with this kind gent and, of course, a peek at his shoe collection instantly became the next must on our Oxford agenda.
Originally from Clarksdale, Miss. - about one hour west of his current home in Oxford - Bradley and his wife Anne-Marie own Cicada For Him, men's boutique and sister store to Anne-Marie's Cicada For Her, right off the square in downtown Oxford. Much to our gleeful surprise, Bradley is the artist behind the paintings prominently displayed throughout Billy Reid's Southern stores, including the brand's Florence, Ala., flagship. A BOOTLEG favorite, we continue to delight in the CFDA 2012 "Menswear Designer of the Year" award winner's creations season after season as he takes Southern style to new heights.
Equally inspiring, Bradley's work is the perfect compliment to the classic-Southern-charm-meets-modern-gentleman aesthetic found in any one of Reid's collections. Saturated hues showcase regional wildlife in layers of lacquered paint. Traditional, homegrown elements meet pixelation and an editorially elevated perspective; a new modern expressionism. While the subjects are familiar, the unique technique and end result is anything but. Bradley's artwork adds a rich depth to any room, genuinely refreshing yet comforting and soul-soothing. We can't get enough ... as Sarah said, "He's proactive, and strangely on to something."
"The connection was really just a love for his work. His approach is clean, and his work has warmth."
- Billy Reid, CFDA 2012 Menswear Designer Of The Year, speaking about Artist Bradley Gordon*
And so, mere hours after our first hello, we found ourselves immersed in the delightfully friendly painter's world, touring his home, closet and studio discussing shoes and art. The perfect afternoon and most excellent company in town, to be sure.
Meeting the maker of such stunning artwork was the happiest of happenstances, fitting perfectly into our shoe-people-good-people-find-us-they're-everywhere-it's-a-beautiful-world warm fuzzies. Oh, and bonus cred - Bradley's also a DJ and drummer.
Watch our Q&A with the talented painter below.
click thumbnails to enlarge...