Art wars: Belfast painter Martin Bradley accused of plagiarism by American artist Tim Rogerson
'He's stealing my life experiences that these paintings are all about'
The sedate world of art is traditionally associated with dusty galleries and genteel exhibitions.
But it has been rocked by a transatlantic controversy after a Northern Ireland painter, Martin Bradley, was accused of copying another artist’s work.
At first glance several of Mr Bradley's paintings look strikingly similar to the work of renowned American artist Tim Rogerson.
When contacted by the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Rogerson accused the local artist of stealing his work.
In response Mr Bradley has apologised for any offence, but denied any deliberate intent to copy.
He claims instead to have been influenced by the US painter.
But despite this he has been accused of producing works which are almost “exact replicas” of those produced on the other side of the Atlantic.
Some of the works which Mr Bradley has been accused of copying appeared for sale on an art website earlier this week. This website now re-directs users to another site which does not contain these paintings.
The brightly coloured paintings by both men feature angular characters in a range of social situations.
Florida-based Mr Rogerson has gained world recognition for his Disney fine art and was also chosen as official-artist for the Winter Olympics 2006.
He told this paper: “What bothers me most is not ripping off my style of painting, it's stealing my stories and life experiences that these paintings are all about. Each of these paintings are from my personal experiences. I carry a sketchbook everywhere I go and do tons of drawings every day from coffee shops, restaurants, jazz clubs, Martini bars, wherever I go. These characters are my neighbours, my friends, and my family.
“Mr Bradley has no idea who these people are.”
Belfast-born Mr Bradley (55) charges up to £300 for prints of his work. He is the brother of world-famous artist Terry Bradley.
He told the Belfast Telegraph he had taken “inspiration” from the American artist.
He said: “The artist Tim Rogerson is someone I have admired now for quite some time.
“When I first discovered his work I saw a huge comparison to the directions I had found myself taking and I loved how he had developed the ideas further.
“For my own personal collection, and not for re-sale, I did produce one or two pieces based upon his images.
“But I am not the first artist to have ever practised in this way, nor will I be the last, and I still own the pieces in question.”
Belfast-born Martin Bradley now lives and works in Ballyclare, Co Antrim. He has produced two collections of paintings, A Night On The Town and The Musical Misfits, and is currently working on a new series of images titled The Icons.
The 55-year-old father-of-two worked in business for 20 years before deciding to become a professional artist. Mr Bradley set up the Bradley Art Gallery in 2009. He is due to exhibit some of his new work in McCracken’s Cafe Bar, Belfast, on September 29.
Tim Rogerson is a Florida-based artist who has gained world-wide recognition for his work for Disney and his striking use of bright colour. Mr Rogerson studied at Ringling School of Art & Design, Florida, and graduated in 2004. As a student he was quickly spotted as an upcoming artist and influence in his own right, and his work was shown at the Best of Ringling exhibitions in 2003 and 2004. The father-of-one has won international acclaim for his modern cubist twist on Classic Disney images.