Born in rural Pennsylvania, Brad Kunkle spent his younger years exploring and romanticizing the beauty of the sparse countryside and the deep forests around him. From an early age he was drawn to the worlds of Maxfield Parrish and the Pre-Raphaelites --worlds, he says, "where a subtle, supernatural beauty seems to be hiding under the breath of women --worlds where something beyond our natural perception is waiting to be found."
He studied painting at Kutztown University mostly under George Sorrels, who was taught by a pupil of the 19th century Academic painter, William Adolphe Bougereau. Filled with academic principles, Brad felt confident in his ability, but stifled by the structure of schools and dissatisfied with the boundaries of traditional imagery. In an effort to discover his own artistic sensibilities, he worked as a commission-based portraitist, and began an almost decade-long journey of continued self-instruction and independent study.
Brad was searching for an unnatural quality in his paintings, and it was ironically discovered by reducing his processes to the elements of painting he felt came most natural to him. His minimal palette is inspired by the grisailles of early European masters and the haunting quality of antique photographs and daguerreotypes. "Grisaille has a mysterious quality to it, and that mysterious quality is also at times carried into the way I will treat an object or a dress. Sometimes I like to give just enough information for the viewer to finish the details of what they are seeing."