Interview with Iowa City artist
by Elaine Irvine
Walking into High Ground coffee shop after hauling myself across campus in six minutes as to not be late, I didn’t see Brady Wülf anywhere. The worst immediately came to mind. Then I saw a guy in a Powerball shirt sketching a boy on a horse in a style that was extremely familiar.
Brady Wülf, an illustrator with a particularly cartoon-esque and bubbly style, was sipping on an iced Americano with an extra shot of espresso just inside the door.
The two of us had met briefly almost six months ago at an art expo during Iowa City’s Mission Creek Festival, where Wülf had been showing and selling his artwork. His work had stuck with me over all these months. When Wülf makes these appearances at art fairs or expos, he sets a sign at the front of his table labelled “I’ll Draw Anything You Want for $1.”
I complimented him on the confidence it takes as an artist to be bold enough to say to a stranger, “I can draw whatever you want me to right now.” He told me he did it because he wanted the challenge so he could work to make his art better and his audience always found it fun. Even more important than that, he said he does it because he’s constantly running out of change.
The oddest thing he’d ever been asked to draw was a cowboy on a triceratops.
“I wasn’t too good with the triceratops, but I tried it. It came out decent and I thought it was funny,” Wülf said.
I was interested to see how, as a fellow abstract artist, Wülf had come to the conclusion of drawing in a way that clearly wasn’t ultra-realistic.
“I can’t draw realistically. I’ve never been able to. It was kinda an insecurity for a while until I got to a style I could really draw,” he said.
Drawing in a way that isn’t realistic leads people to compare Wülf to things he personally can’t draw any connection from. We begin to talk more about who he is as a person, beginning with his recent transition into vegetarianism. He started on a whim since he didn’t eat very much meat anyways, and predicts he won’t make it through the month.
“I’ll probably smell, like, a kabob or something and just go for it.”
I asked Wülf if he’s ever had a person tattoo his work on their body before, and he said he usually refuses.
“I don’t want them dead having it on them, just thinking of their eventual decay is creepy to me.” He assures me that one day he will probably get over it and there will be hundreds of Brady Wülf-clad humans wandering around.
I then ask Wülf to answer the question of all questions: is there something that can define art?
“It can be kind of a paradox, because you need some sort of concept even if that is a lack of concept … if you thought ‘I don’t want there to be a concept to this,’ then that is a concept, I guess,” Wülf said.
He ended up deciding on, “as long as you put some type of thought into it, as long as you’re going for something, it’s art.”