Born in Lufkin, Texas and raised in Blue Springs, Missouri, a suburb of Kansas City, Brad Ultican was interested in drawing from a very early age. His father a licensed architect and grandfather a retired aeronautical engineer, Brad would use the readily available drafting pens and pencils to practice his craft and develop techniques, drawing anything from cartoons and caricatures, to realist landscapes and detail drawings. Using cameras to capture subjects for his drawings developed into a fascination with photography. Studying the high contrast, high detail photographs of Ansel Adams began influencing Brad’s work from early on.
Interested in architecture and mechanical design throughout school, Brad began creating renderings of automobiles, architecture, and various other technical subjects, exploring the “form follows function” principle of Louis Sullivan and the varying interpretations of designers/architects such as Harley Earl, John DeLorean, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Daniel Burnham, among others. Studying mechanical design in college, he further explored mechanical theory, perspectives, and textures using computer aided design programs. He began to develop a unique style of drawing by utilizing many different self-taught techniques such as:
-Hard Outlines on all subjects throughout a composition. This was taken from years of cartooning, and used to create a feeling of folk art into his drawings. Combined with high detail throughout, it creates hundreds or thousands of individually drawn objects throughout a composition, all with hard outlines.
-Out of scale textures, inspired by early versions of 3D Computer Aided Design programs rendering textures (typically out of scale) on design components, such as visible threads on a fabric shown 30 ft. away where threads would be too small to be seen in reality. This gives ordinary objects an intimacy and allows for individual study of subjects throughout.
-High contrast and High Details used in most of his compositions were inspired from years of studying photography, specifically view camera work like Ansel Adams who used small lens apertures to capture maximum detail throughout his photographs. Brad typically uses high contrast in drawings with more detail, as the dark shadows and light reflections serve to seperate objects.
After graduating from college with a degree in Mechanical Design, Brad went to work at a Kansas City engineering firm. With new opportunities for travelling, he upgraded his photography equipment and journeyed throughout the United States. Interested in photography since childhood, and with new equipment in hand, a means for collecting travel photos quickly turned into an immersion into photography, studying photographic composition and techniques. A new approach began to generate interesting compositions from travels to cities such as New York, St. Louis, Chicago, and San Francisco, and National Parks like Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, and Badlands.
Brad has recently designed and manufactured a printing press for experimenting with etchings and other forms of printmaking. Studying the etchings of masters such as Rembrandt, Albrecht Durer, and Piranesi, he continues to develop his technique while continuing to focus on pencil drawings.