Who are you?
My name is Rachel Bradley, and I’m a self-employed, independent artist.
I spend most of my days making digital paintings, writing my first novel (The Sum of Our Deeds), creating reference photos for artists, and developing resources to help other artists. I’m trained as a coach, and I use those skills to help other artists overcome the barriers they face in their own journeys.
I live with my husband, Noah, who is a phenomenal artist and the best coworker I could hope for! Our home is our very own creative cave and, together, ours days are a flurry of creation!
How about outside of work?
How did you get into this line of work?
My career path has been far from linear!
I studied Biomedical Science at St George’s University of London, graduating with a first class honours. I love science, and I was really good at it, but it wasn’t my passion. I pursued it because I (and every adult around me until that point) had been frightened by my real passion: art. I worked hard in school, got good grades, and no one wanted to see me struggling in my adult life. But, upon my graduation, I struggled all the same. Not for prospects, but for peace and fulfillment. I couldn’t bear the idea of spending my life in a lab- it just wasn’t my calling.
I began my career in 3D printing- in my eyes, a more creative career than science, but still not what I truly wanted to do. I built my illustration skills slowly outside of working hours. It took time, but in 2017, I left my job and pursued a career in art full time. However, it wasn’t what I expected. Art was just the beginning of my journey, not the end of it.
I realised it wasn’t just the art that I loved- it was the process and the people and the lifestyle. I’d once wanted to work for high profile game companies, but when I started taking on freelance work, I lost a lot of the joy art brought me. I became less interested in being an artist-for-hire and found myself instead fascinated by the artist’s journey. I love watching my peers grow, trying to understand the struggles we all went through and create systems to work our way through them. I started shooting reference photos for artists as a way to help other artists make their art. And, at the suggestion of many close friends and colleagues, I trained to become a certified coach so that I may acquire the skills to effectively guide others.
I realised that, by embracing all these myriad interests, I didn’t have to work for other people. By sharing my journey, making resources my fellow artists need and prioritising my own creative projects, I could create a self-sustaining career out of all the things I loved.
My job is now a mix of many things. I create art (both for myself and occasionally clients), I create reference images and teaching materials, I write (fiction and non-fiction) and I coach. Creating will always be my self-indulgent pleasure, but it’s working with others and helping them grow past their barriers that brings me the greatest sense of meaning and fulfillment.