Cade Bradshaw’s headshot in front of a field
Art, to a Science
Art major and biology professor bridge left and right brains to study the aesthetics of microorganisms
Friday, October 30, 2020

My conversation with Cade Bradshaw ’14 in preparation for this profile was a wide-ranging affair, touching on everything from his memories of his Trinity years as an ultimate frisbee team member, resident assistant, and OREC leader, to our shared Hogwarts House (we’re proud Ravenclaws). We found we’ve both been teachers, both have two-dog families here in San Antonio, and both believe in the magic of art and nature—but there our divergence began. He’s reading the first Dune book for the second time, while I’m a lifetime fan of the whole original series.

Cade was a double major at Trinity in biology and art, and his current professional life links directly to his time at Trinity. First, in terms of his art, photography. His passion for it began as a teenager when his family got their first digital camera. He began experimenting and researching and eventually took classes in high school, such as darkroom film development. He specializes in event photography and, like many of us, doing what he does is almost impossible in these COVID-19 times: There simply aren’t events to photograph. 

In more normal times, one of his primary clients is Trinity. He photographs Trinity events, such as student award ceremonies, donor receptions following distinguished guest lectures, the President’s Dinner, the Food for Thought lecture series, and study abroad program receptions. A highlight of his recent times as a photographer was the opportunity to do a senior portrait session—just a taste of what it is like to be a working photographer after all these months of pandemic. 

Cade’s biology studies have also had a lasting impact on his professional life. He met Stuart Allen through biology professor Kelly Lyons, and now they are business partners in their company Bridge Projects. Here is a description from Bridge Projects’ website:

Bridge Projects is an interdisciplinary art firm, providing services in design, management, fabrication, and documentation. We specialize in bridging the gap between idea and execution, managing complex projects with many partners and stakeholders.

Principles Stuart Allen and Cade Bradshaw have completed public art installations in playgrounds, along trails, in corporate lobbies, government buildings, underneath bridges, on the beach, in parks, and once, in a leaky, dark, derelict industrial shell of a former newspaper press room. Stuart’s 20+ years of public art experience, and Cade’s insatiable thirst for challenging problems makes Bridge a uniquely qualified team.

We are the turn-key solution for the complex process of public art and design implementation. We BRIDGE the gap between your vision and your project’s successful completion. Our services are used by artists, architects, government agencies, foundations, businesses, and private individuals.

Cade is excited for their upcoming project, a sculpture on the San Pedro Creek extension. He explains it as “the Plaza de Fundación, in the San Pedro Creek Culture Park,” where he and Stuart are building, he says, “a stainless steel shade canopy… The Culture Park is about how San Antonio’s history is really diverse and complicated. We proposed a project that hopefully speaks to this complexity by studying the actual path of San Pedro Creek, its influence on the development of the city, and then the development of the city’s influence on the path of San Pedro Creek. The canopy is an abstraction of the landscape’s topography, and supporting this are a series of stainless steel poles bent in the shape of San Pedro Creek. The project is called ‘Creek Lines.’”

But the best person to tell you who Cade Bradshaw is, is Cade himself. Below are a few questions I put to him and his responses. 

So, you graduated in 2014.

Yes, I studied biology first because I thought I was going to grow up to be a field biologist researching cool things in the wild and not working from a computer, not having a desk and those romantic ideas. Instead I spent more and more time in my art classes. I did an honor’s thesis in biology and so I spent a lot of time in the field, which I loved, but what I found was for every hour I spent in the field, I spent three in the lab doing statistics or data analysis. The analysis wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. Oddly enough, the professor whose lab I was working with, Dr. Kelly Lyons, introduced me to her spouse, who’s an artist, and today we do a lot of public art works and design fabrication tasks. I also do event photography, and Stuart and I do architectural photography.

What has it meant to be an alumnus of Trinity? 

It has opened doors, and it’s truly been my rolodex. I was doing event photography after school and was referred to a couple different departments by Anh-Viet Dinh ’15, then a Trinity staff photographer, who had been one of my residents when I was an RA. So I started doing a few events, and then I started doing a lot of events, mostly events where they needed an outside photographer, and so that network alone has been huge.

The other door Trinity opened is it introduced me to the studio where I currently work and the family that I work with. I worked in Kelly Lyons’ lab, and she knew I was double majoring in art, and she’s a biologist married to an artist so we had a natural chemistry. She introduced me to her husband, Stuart Allen. I came over to the studio during my senior year and had a try-out assistant day and we really hit it off. I worked as his assistant for a number of years. When I was thinking about moving on to do something else, we decided we would go into business together and start producing art as a team (which became Bridge Projects).

What would you want me to ask? What else would you like to share?

An important thing to me, people ask all the time, is how do biology and art overlap? People don’t see the connection. And I’ve always thought that the connection was a deep curiosity about how the world fits together. Biology explores how does it fit together, what are all the complexities and systems that work together that make a tree or give us our atmosphere. Art draws attention to the things science can miss—how beautiful the colors of a lizard’s blue stomach can be, for instance. Art can focus our emotions in the present and provide the intuitive knowledge that science isn’t geared for. Both require a thirst for adventure and speculation about the unknown.

Photography is a tool. Commercially I use it a lot to just document. Now that I’ve been photographing at Trinity for years I come back to the same event and I see the same people again and again. It’s become a vehicle for further personal relationships, and I enjoy seeing people, events, and students change and grow year after year.

What is one thing that can always make you laugh?

Stephen Colbert. Love, love his everything. He started out at Second City, and I love the current pandemic version of his show where he’s not in a studio. He was at home in his office and now he’s in his office at the studio and his wife is always sitting in the corner controlling the camera, and they have a hilarious back and forth. Sometimes they’ll break the wall to say “Was that funny?” and you can hear her chuckling off camera. It’s just the sweetest thing and endlessly funny.

Visit Cade Bradshaw's portfolio for more information about his photography.

Nicolette Good graduated from Trinity University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Music. In addition to being a traditional writer, she is a working singer/songwriter, as well as a staff musician for Home Street Music, a nonprofit that uses music to empower individuals who have experienced homelessness.

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