The Popularity of Bradley Hart’s Bubble Wrap Art

This masterful painter creates eye-popping art.

Apr 12, 2021


Art, Creativity
The Popularity of Bradley Hart’s Bubble Wrap Art | This masterful painter creates eye-popping art.

Pop! There is something so satisfying about bursting the air pockets in bubble wrap, especially hearing them crackle and pop. The New York based artist Bradley Hart has repurposed this packaging material by using it in an innovative and creative way. Hart fills those air pockets with paint, creating not one, but two mirror-image paintings that are so striking, art lovers are mesmerized and captivated.

He developed this concept after visiting a gallery and observing how security guards shooed visitors away from getting too close to the paintings, according to an interview on ABC’s Localish.  Hart was inspired to address the cultural trope about touching art. His “aha” moment happened upon returning to his studio and seeing a roll of bubble wrap.

Since Hart tries to recycle and repurpose everything in his studio, it is no surprise he has a creative vision for bubble wrap. “Every drop of everything is potentially art,” he told Localish.

Using bubble wrap as a medium is a statement in itself. Invented in 1957, it was originally designed to be textured plastic wallpaper, so it is fitting to restore its integrity by placing it as art on a wall.

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Hart also appreciates using bubble wrap as it “evokes the plastic nature of our society,” according to the Bradley Hart site. He also exposes an implicit irony by combining artistry with a mass-manufactured material such as bubble wrap.

Hart got to work on his vision, eventually developing a technique that involves injecting each bubble with acrylic paint. Using a computer algorithm that assigns a color code to a bubble, the artist designs a Pointilliste-style canvas using hundreds of colors, according to an interview on Insider. He then sets about preloading anywhere from 1,800 to 2,500 syringes with acrylic colors. This process in itself can take four to five days.

The next step is injecting each bubble with paint. When the excess paint dribbles down the backside, it simultaneously creates an inverse painting. Painstaking, and requiring incredible concentration, the entire process takes up to one month. 

After the paint has dried, Hart peels back the pixelated bubble wrap painting, revealing an impressionistic version underneath. These paintings, when viewed side by side, engage viewers as they reflect on the relationship between the two. Once Hart finishes a painting, the waste is then used in yet another creation. 

Celebrated as an “injectionist painter,” Hart is most famous for his stunning portraits of Marilyn Monroe, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, John Lennon, Steve Jobs, and others. 

Hart has gathered a large following; he has had solo exhibitions in the US and Canada, his artwork proudly hangs in many collectors’ homes, and the Insider video interview garnered over 5 million views.

In the midst of social distancing, the tiny, beautifully painted bubbles of Hart’s art take on a new and profound meaning. "I joke to people that I live in a bubble," Hart told CBS News. “We choose who we let into our circle. We've all been forced now to create micro-bubbles. But guess what: All these little micro-bubbles come together, they make a beautiful painting.”

Inspired by plastic bubble wrap that everyone finds so tantalizingly addictive, Hart has created masterful art that is both alluring and mesmerizing. He invites everyone to appreciate how each delicate and unique bubble is important on its own, yet essential to the whole.

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Nicole is an editor, blogger and author who has recently left her urban life in order to be more connected with nature. In her spare time, she’s outdoors hiking in the forest, mountain biking or tending to her new permaculture garden.