Born in Richmond, Surrey, Martin Bradley was intent on being an artist from childhood. When his guardian opposed the idea, Bradley, then aged fourteen, ran away to join the Merchant Navy, during which time he began to paint, mostly portraits of his fellow shipmates.
Back in London he studied languages, literature and art and became interested in the art and calligraphy of China and Japan, which was to have an influence on his work. During this time he became associated with the London Bohemian scene, earning the nickname 'Rimbaud of Soho' due to his hard-drinking lifestyle.
His first Solo Exhibition was held at Gimpel Fils in London in 1954, followed by exhibitions at Gallery One and Redfern in London. In the late 1950s he spent time in Paris and went on to exhibit with Galerie Rive Gauche, known for its surrealist collection of works by artists including Max Ernst and Rene Magritte. By the late 1960s he had tired of the art scene and travelled extensively in Asia, where he converted to Buddhism.
His work is held in collections in the UK and abroad, including the Tate Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Chicago Art Institute.