Photo by Collin Richie

The Creatives: Artist Jade Brady’s emotion-filled approach to painting

Jade Brady

Hometown: Luling
Age: 36
Artistry: Mixed media art and painting
Online: @jadebradyartist on Instagram

Canvases are growing like stalagmites from the walls inside her Mid City home, and as Jade Brady walks toward her studio room she passes another crag of paintings that jut and angle and burst with barely hidden splashes of color, all while managing to shrink the main hallway to near crawl-space dimensions.

These roadblocking pieces are salvage jobs from her tornado-damaged storage space off Essen Lane. Some she repaired after the storm and sold online. Others she’s planning to paint over, cut up, or otherwise repurpose without remorse.

Now more than ever, constant evolution is the stage this former-teacher-turned-professional-artist has embraced with open art. 

“I wanted to be the most authentic version of my painting self,” she says, indicating her rainbow-splattered sweatpants, a Jackson Pollock daydream that gives very few hints of the original color fabric underneath. 

Looking back on it, she’s glad the tornado took out her storage space. She believes that the force of nature was a force for good. “It was like nature needed to push me into this, force me to expose all the pieces that were just hidden in there, and it sparked something in me,” Brady says. “It helped me to see that art is not meant to be sitting alone. It’s supposed to be shared.”

Brady was a science teacher, and once on a pre-med track at LSU, when her divorce changed her career trajectory. Flooded with emotion, she lost her passion for teaching and just wanted to make art like she had so confidently done in high school. Soon, she was hanging vivid abstract work made using acrylic paint and roofing tar diluted with mineral spirits at Stabbed in the Art, a monthly grassroots party and pop-up. Her reputation for an energetic and excessive abstraction spread fast.

Today, Brady’s yard looks like a construction zone. An old carport will soon become a studio. “I feel like I just need a gymnasium for a studio,” she says. “The more space the better.”

The new studio will liberate her home that has slowly been taken over by canvases everywhere but the bedroom and kitchen.

Brady paints early in the morning as therapy, an emotional expression she sometimes doesn’t understand until later. 

“When you find yourself in a creative rut, look within,” she says. “Art is an expression of ourselves, so if we’re not growing as people, we don’t grow creatively.”

For Brady, making is a privilege and part of the process of understanding herself.

“Get a blank canvas and get whatever you’re feeling out onto it,” Brady says. “Make something awful at first, and that’s OK. Add another layer. I’m big into layers. Try again.”