Family has played a big role in Brady Legler’s development as a jewelry designer and painter. He began designing jewelry in 2008 at the age of 19 with the inspiration of his Italian grandmother, Lou Legler (“Nana”, pictured above). A fashion model from the 1940s to the 1960s, Lou had her own ideas on what was fashionable: “Never blend in, find something you like and add something of yourself to it.” His own mother Shelly Legler, also a model, is the brand ambassador of his eponymous line.
“My jewelry embodies the same principles as my Nana’s fashion philosophy,” Brady says. “I like to think of my designs as timeless day-to-night luxury pieces.” Brady’s time as a student of product design at Parsons The New School for Design in New York helped to hone his aesthetic. Sleek shapes in his jewelry line give it a modern, architectural feel. Much of the collection can be worn by either women or men.
Both his jewelry and his paintings have gained Brady a wide audience. The paintings have sold worldwide and samples of his artwork have appeared in Elle Décor, Modern and Hunger UK magazines. “Art is all about color for me. When I pick up a paintbrush my goal is to add depth, movement, and emotion but I cannot attain any of these without the right colors.” His abstract works of art can vary in mood from the raw and spontaneous to the thoughtful and serene. Images from the paintings are now being translated onto wool and silk rugs handmade in Nepal.
The Blue Story
“Not a day goes by that I don’t wear the color blue”, Brady says. “Blue has different meanings for different people. For some people, it symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, faith, truth, and heaven. For me, blue means hope and optimism. Blue fuels my creativity, pushing me while it calms me.” Every painting Brady creates has the color blue in it whether it is visible to the eye or not. “I start out every canvas with blue paint. I will always think of blue as the healing color, as mine and my dad’s color.”
“Blue is one of the miracles that saved my dad,” Brady says. When his father was diagnosed with one of the rarest and most deadly cancers in the world, anaplastic thyroid carcinoma in May 2003, the doctors gave him only three months to live. Brady was an eighth grade student in Kansas City at the time. Several of the top cancer research centers around the country turned his father away telling him that his case was incurable. A break came when his father talked to a doctor at Johns Hopkins who gave him a slim hope for survival if he received experimental, twice-daily radiation treatments and chemotherapy. Getting radiation twice a day is almost unheard of but was necessary in this case because of the aggressive nature of the cancer.
The treatments taxed his physical and emotional limits. The thought of getting on a narrow radiation table and being elevated 7 feet off the ground and being targeted from 8 different angels twice a day was getting the best of him and his nerves were fraying, he was falling apart. His father prayed more than he had ever prayed in his life. The Memorare was his go to prayer. One of those prayers may have brought him relief from an unexpected source: a neighbor who taught and practiced meditation. She told him to imagine that the cancer cells were turning blue and thus healing him while he was strapped down to receive radiation.
Blue became his mantra during every session. When the treatments finally ended later that summer, he had lost over 60 pounds and felt so weak at times that it became too hard to climb more than one or two stairs in his home. He continued to pray and held on to that image of the color blue while he slowly gained his strength. His father is still alive, only one of a handful of survivors in the world.
When some people view Brady Legler’s paintings for the first time, they see the work of an Abstract Expressionist. Others say he’s a contemporary artist. And then there’s a minority who call him a Colorist for his use of bright, bold colors on the canvas. The Colorist label may make the most sense for Brady himself. Each color carries its own significance to Brady but none have a greater personal meaning for him than the color blue.