Belfast Telegraph

Terry Bradley unveils painting in New York's Dead Rabbit pub

By Claire McNeilly

A renowned New York bar has unveiled a special portrait of its infamous bunny by Northern Ireland artist Terry Bradley.

It was commissioned to mark the fifth anniversary of The Dead Rabbit - a two-time winner of the World's Best Bar, which is owned by two former Belfast men.

Terry's creation portrays the fearsome rabbit in front of an American flag with his signature glowing red eyes and a dangling cigarette.

The Bangor-based artist, whose previous clients include Bono, Madonna, The Bee Gees and Michael Flatley, was at the bar in person on Tuesday night when his 17" x 24" mixed media piece was given pride of place in the three-storey, mid-19th century style hostelry.

Sean Muldoon, co-founder and managing partner of The Dead Rabbit, described the 52-year-old's artwork as "iconic".

"Everybody in Northern Ireland knows who Terry Bradley is," he said.

"I first saw it at a Belfast bar I was working at in 1998. Fast forward 20 years to today, we saw a perfect fit for him to reimagine the Rabbit character more realistically, yet moody and intense."

Sean's partner Jack McGarry said he believed Terry's style compliments the character of the pub, located on Water Street in Manhattan's financial district.

"Our bar is all about attitude and edge and Terry's art definitely takes it to a new level," he said.

"Terry hails from the same part of Belfast as Sean and I and we think a lot of his hallmark style is rooted in his upbringing, which we very much relate to."

The rabbit in the signature piece sports bandages and appears fresh from a fight - bruised yet unbowed; something father-of-three Terry, who has talked openly about his depression, can relate to.

"My painting came about after rounds of discussions with Sean and Jack about their vision for the bar's future," he said.

"From there, I added my own thoughts to create a deep, disturbed character, a journeyman who has been there and done that, not someone to mess with.

"I want viewers to keep coming back to the image because they always find something new in it, maybe something they didn't see before or something they interpret differently on different viewings.

"Symbolic elements include skulls, blue and red roses, a shamrock, a red cross, a blue dove, a heart and the words Hope, Honour, Trust and Justice."

Terry's latest offering marries oil and acrylic paints, charcoal, graphite, as well as colouring and drawing pens, to create a haunting, multi-layered effect.

Belfast Telegraph


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