CMA Stories

“I may not be able to make an artist out of every child, but if I can make a child an art lover, then I’ve accomplished something” — 5 Minutes With Painter Brady Legler

Jewelry designer and painter Brady Legler is known for his vibrant color combinations applied in broad strokes to his abstract canvases. His latest project, Color My Abstract World, draws on his past work at CMA to provide creative at-home art activities for children. His artwork is also for sale as part of CMA’s April fundraising sale on Artsy, which provides critical funds while the Museum is closed to the public. Read more about Brady below!

Can you tell us about your art practice and how working with children inspires you?
I am inspired by the curiosity and sense of freedom I see in the artwork of children. You can often feel their emotions coming through in the simplest shapes and colors, which is something I strive for in my own work.

Color My Abstract World is a new project that invites young artists to download a coloring book page and “finish” your designs with their own personal choice of colors. How does this project relate to your practice as an Abstract Expressionist / Colorist painter?
In my paintings I’m trying to communicate and interact with the viewer in the best way I know how – through abstract shapes and color. Compared to adults, some children can be shy about interacting with anyone or anything outside their immediate circle. When I can get children to color my artwork, I’m able to focus their attention and make a connection to the art. I may not be able to make an artist out of every child, but if I can make a child an art lover, then I’ve accomplished something.

Your painting Blue Jewel is for sale as part of CMA’s fundraising sale on Artsy this month. Can you tell us the story behind this piece?
Blue Jewel is a piece that was donated in honor of Barbara Hunt McLanahan. This painting is acrylic on canvas with raw agate stones mixed into the paint. It represents two sides of my creativity: my art and my jewelry design. It’s no coincidence that there are so many jewel tones in my palette. In this painting you get both the colors and textures of gemstones.

Why is it important to make art accessible to all children and families?
I firmly believe that art at its best has the power to make our lives better and I want to spread that message to as many children and families as I can. I think that abstract art in particular has the ability to make them a part of the creative process as it asks the question, “What do you see?” and more importantly, “What do you feel?”

Do you have a favorite memory of making art as a child?
I have many memories of making art as a child not knowing it would later turn into my career. Some of my happiest moments were bringing my art home from school and having my parents display it or when I taped it to a wall in my bedroom. It gave me a sense of accomplishment. I have attached one of my favorites works as a child which shows my very early love for abstract art! I think I was six. It is framed in my Dad’s office.

Can you share a work or artist that inspires you to make art?
For this coloring book, Alexander Calder instantly came to mind in his style and his joyful use of color. I have always admired how his paintings and sculptures were able to turn the ordinary into something extraordinary. There is a subtle depth to his painting that I really appreciate. In general, I try to find inspiration in everything around me. From fashion to landscape designers, I find a wide range of influences to teach me how to bring colors together.

Visit for daily coloring book downloads.

While our doors are closed, CMA is here for you and your family with at-home art projects to keep children entertained and engaged. However, every day we’re closed puts the future of CMA in further jeopardy.

Will you be there for us? Every dollar you donate directly supports the Museum and ensures that CMA will remain a pillar of educational and artistic leadership in New York City. Click here to donate.

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