Charles Lynn Bragg
The art of Charles Lynn Bragg has been seen by millions of people. You might have seen his environmental images in art galleries, on magazine covers, jigsaw puzzles or postage stamps.
Charles Lynn Bragg was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1952. His artist parents, Charles Bragg and Jennie Tomao moved young Charles (Chick) and younger sister Georgia to Los Angeles in 1956 to establish a professional art studio in Beverly Hills. As teenagers, his parents took the family to galleries and museums in Los Angeles, New York and Europe. Art and Art History unfolded naturally and on purpose for Chick. His higher education and formal training began at L.A City College, followed by Pierce Jr College, UCLA Extension, The California Institute of the Arts, Otis Art Institute Extension, California State University Fullerton and El Camino College.
In the 1970s and early 1980s, Bragg began his career as a printer and print maker. His artist father taught Chick and Georgia how to print limited edition etchings and how to make their own editions. Bragg’s studies and work produced in this decade include life drawing, anatomy, etching, serigraphy, lithography, painting, photography and ceramics.
In 1986, Chick started a painting of a woman standing in a tropical jungle, surrounded by menacing forest animals. Frustrated and unhappy with several attempts at painting a convincing or compelling figure, Bragg painted it out and filled the scene instead with dozens of animals, birds and insects hidden about in the lush jungle foliage. He added a cityscape, complete with skyscrapers and a nuclear power plant in the background. Lastly, Chick painted a bulldozer bearing down on all animal and plant life. The title of the work naturally popped into his head, “City Limits”.
The environmental theme and artistic style of “City Limits” struck a chord with Bragg and the public. A vegetarian since the age of 18, it encapsulated Chick’s concern for the environment and for the welfare of all animal life. Depicting and conserving the Earth’s ecosystems became his purpose in art and in life. He took his camera from the mountain tops to coral reefs throughout the world to photograph the ordinary and the extraordinary to combine the images into animated composition of places, things and animals. He became involved with environmental movements and animal rights issues.
In the late 1980s, he began licensing his images worldwide on jigsaw puzzles, posters, tee shirts, calendars, collector plates, watches and other items. In 1994, Bragg was commissioned by the U.S. Postal Service to design four commemorative stamps “Wonders of the Sea”. Also that year, Turner Publishing, Inc. produced the book Wild Lives: The Animal Kingdom of Charles Lynn Bragg, showcasing Bragg’s realistic, yet whimsical animals in their natural and not-so-natural habitats. In 1989, his work was introduced to Japan and Bragg’s conservation themes quickly developed an enthusiastic following and booming popularity. From 1990 until 2003, Bragg exhibited his work exclusively in Japan, having more than forty one-man shows in over twenty cities there.
In 2003, Bragg turned his attention back to the human figure and for the first time began to seriously explore a latent desire to sculpt. With no training as of yet, Chick began carving stone and produced his first sculpture in stone, “Ego”. A class in bronze casting at Otis, Los Angeles and a 6 week stone carving program in Pietra Santa, Italy amplified his interests in sculpting. Chick enrolled as a full time sculpture student at the California State University, Long Beach in 2005 and received his BFA in Sculpture in 2009.
Inspired by his studies of art history at CSULB, Bragg began a series of paintings titled “Earth Icons”. Each work is based on a famous or an infamous artist or work of art throughout art history, such as Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”, Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory” and Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”. Bragg remakes the original works and gives them his 21st century global spin. Each chosen image is studied and copied to be as close to the original as possible, but Bragg adds something new, slightly askew and close to his heart. His latest in this series is based on Norman Rockwell’s 1929 illustration “Doctor and Doll”. In Bragg’s version, the young girl presents our precious Earth instead of her doll to her trusted Doctor. The good Doctor humors her as he checks the Earth’s vital signs.
Currently in 2016, Bragg has a passion to go big. He would like to take work developed in his studio and scale them up into monumental murals, sculptures and installations in public arenas. Even though his work has literally been seen by millions of people for over four decades, Chick wants to reach millions more. “As an artist and a person, it is my goal to treat people, animals and the environment with compassion, dignity and respect, and inspire others to do the same”.
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