Bradford, why the sad face?  

Dear beloved Bradford, 

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My name’s Glenn and I live in you. I live in you and I draw things. They’re like 99% black and white. Nay colour. I don’t tend to draw happy things, if at all.  Sad stuff is kinda my schtick. I just went that way with it when I was figuring out my voice as an artist. It mostly fits with the way I am, I’ve always been full of doubts about myself, so taking this stance with my artistic response made the most sense.  

Why the sad face, Bradford? 

I know you might be disappointed that a more optimistic artist hasn’t become of me. It’s not really your fault. It’s me who wrecked my own degree and had to come back to live here without a plan or set of skills I feel I could use in life. It’s not your fault I had to spend a few years drifting listlessly through jobs I knew I wouldn’t be able stick to. For a long time, a fulfilling career for me seemed to be a laughable concept. Anyone living anywhere would grow rather despondent in that situation I think. When I was finally ready to get back into my art, I had developed all this pessimism about myself and my place in the world. A mentality entirely of my own making. Though I don’t always feel like that, I have found it more practical to simply channel negative thoughts into my art rather than ignore or try to fight them.  

I know it might hurt you to know that I’ve been able to use you as the perfect backdrop for my sad themes. The way I present you doesn’t put you in the best of light. I appreciate that sometimes the sun does shine in Bradford, that sometimes people are happy here. Sometimes even I’m happy here! But I haven’t had much chance to get out of Bradford much since I started my career, so understand it might look like I’m picking on you a bit. I don’t mean to make you the particular focus of all the sadness in the universe. As I begin to expand my horizons a bit, I will be able to set my sights on other places & things. The challenge I have set myself as an artist is to respond to the whole world from this rather bleak viewpoint.  

Please don’t feel sorry for yourself! If there’s happiness anywhere I am likely to ignore it for the purposes of my work. What I choose to depict while wearing my dour-tinted spectacles is an honest account of what I see, but I’m aware that it’s an entirely subjective way of viewing things. The negative vibes are there to be felt, but please don’t think of my portrait of you as being truly reflective of who you are and what you’re about.  

Kindest regards, 

Glenn “hustler-by-name” Hustler. 

PS: There’s plenty of sadness in the world for me to draw on. If you were to become a more confident and vibrant version of yourself don’t feel like you’d be putting me out. You shouldn’t feel like you have to be the very worst you can be on my account! You have my full permission to use some deodorant and brush your teeth occasionally.