Los Angeles has always served as a source of inspiration to Mark Bradford: the blinking, atomized landscape, the plentiful street signage, the bits of detritus that have a way of finding their way into his work. Here are six of his favorite L.A. spaces:
"I've always loved it, says Bradford, who recently completed installation of a new sculpture at the airport's international terminal titled " Bell Tower," which hangs right over the security screening area. "As a kid, I'd take the bus and just walk around. I like airports — people are outside of their comfort zones and it's so international, with people coming and going. I still love it. Sometimes I'll get to the airport early just to sit there and look."
Alameda Swap Meet
"I've been going for 15 years," says Bradford of this popular outdoor flea market in Vernon. "You can get fresh juice, there are bands, there is food, there is all kinds of stuff. It's a swap meet, Latino style. My assistant, Jose, took me there the first time. Sometimes I find materials there, but it's mostly about the experience."
"I just love looking at it. The materials just talk to me. I love tape and calking. Sometimes I just buy things. Recently, I bought some rope and I just put it in the front seat of my car and just drove around with it. It ended up inspiring a piece that it's in my studio right now. For paints, I go to Nova Color [in Culver City]. But for everything else, it's Home Depot."
Eso Won Books
The venerable Leimert Park bookstore will soon be occupying a newly refurbished space in Art + Practice's campus. Bradford has long been a fan: "I just love bookstores. When I worked at the hair salon, I'd go over there all the time. Since the 1990s, I've been going to readings and just checking out the shelves. It feeds the mind. A bookstore is a repository of imagination."
The popular SoCal burger chain is a must for Bradford. "I'm a bit of a burger connoisseur. I like my burgers. And In-N-Out does a good clean burger. I just get a Double-Double, no cheese, with raw onions. There's no fuss. It's my go-to."
Post & Beam
A hybrid of California and Southern soul cooking, this popular Baldwin Hills eatery is one of Bradford's regular haunts. "It's close to my studio and Art + Practice. It's a great neighborhood restaurant, and [owner] Brad Johnson is great. It's like Cheers: Everyone knows your name. They do a good pork chop and a really good cast iron chicken. Plus, they have a really good burger."