We Are Complex Creatures
Interview with Irish Artist, John Adams
Intrigued by his paintings, and humbled by his environmental ethos, we are proud to present an interview with Irish Artist, John Adams.
In a sentence, how would you describe your art?
I am an expressionist painter who paints landscapes, seascapes, and portraits. In my work, I try to have meaning and comment on the things that I feel passionate about that are happening in society and the world in general. Currently, I am highlighting the destruction of the environment and struggles animals face to survive because of Humans destruction of the Planet.
What materials do you like to work with, and why?
I generally work in Acrylics because I find oils quite toxic and smelly also for some of my techniques use a lot of paint in quite a liquid form so it would take forever to dry. Recently I began using corrugated metal sheets found dumped on the beaches of Cork harbour near me. These metal sheets are used to highlight the amount of rubbish in the oceans. Also the overfishing of the oceans and the amount of fishing tackle dumped into the sea. This it is making the survival of so many species very difficult.
Do you know what a piece will look like before you start painting it?
Every painting I do is different. I am not an artist who has any desire to paint the same thing for the rest of my career like so many other artists. I believe art is about expression and feelings. We are constantly changing as humans and we have so many issues and stories to tell. If I am trying to tell a particular story or if I am trying to depict something realistic then, yes. I think I would know what my painting is going to look like at the beginning. So much of my work is based on my subconscious mind, these paintings go where my imagination and my mind takes me. These are the works I do not know what to expect when I am starting them.
How long does a piece typically take to complete?
Every painting is different and the time it takes has no bearing on the quality of my paintings. Unless I am trying to create a realistic image of something complicated. Many of my very fast paintings take less than a day to complete, they can be very detailed and look like they took a very long time because of my techniques of pouring and liquid painting. Other realistic paintings take a very long time. I have worked on portraits and seascapes for over a year. Sometimes I nearly give up because they are taking so long and I am not happy with them, so I put them aside. Maybe a year or two later I will look at them again and see what’s good in them. I recently finished one such painting of a famous singer in Ireland (Paul Brady).
What is your main source of inspiration or ideas?
My main source of inspiration and ideas is definitely the world and politics. I am always wanting to comment and make the world a better place so often my work highlights the things I find wrong with the World. One example would be my Brexit series, paintings of English Politicians who caused Brexit. My paintings of the Popes highlight the horrific evils of the Catholic Church. These paintings might not be wanted on too many people’s walls, but I feel compelled to tell these stories. They have affected my life so much. I think it’s very important for artists to tell these kinds of stories.
Who do you find most challenging about running your art business?
I find Irish politicians most challenging in running my business because the arts are run so so badly in Ireland. Politicians have no interest or understanding of the arts in Ireland yet they are constantly using and interfering. They put all the wrong people in charge. Administrators who are only interested in themselves and their careers so they prefer to show artists from other countries because it looks better on their CVs. These administrators think they are more important than the artists, who are not allowed onto any decision making committees.
How has the rise of social media influenced your career?
Social Media has been very good for my career. In the last ten years, through a terrible recession and terrible economic conditions in Ireland, social media has been my main way to show my work to the public and it has been good for selling my work.
What other artists or artistic movements have influenced your style?
I am a huge fan of Francis Bacon and William Turner and my work has often been compared to their work, but other influences have been the Pre Raphaelites. Their paintings in the middle of the 19th century are amazing. To this day I know no other artists better at painting nature and women so well. I have always loved painting nature, in particular trees. The Pre Raphaelites were the ones I looked up to for inspiration. There are so many other movements that I have been inspired by such as the Impressionists, the Renaissance artists, and artists such as El Greco, Rembrandt, David Hockney, and Jackson Pollock. I know they are a diverse bunch to be inspired by, but we are complex creatures.
Do you have a go-to soundtrack or music genre when painting?
I really need music to work to, I need music in my life every day. I am a rocker through and through and love punk rock and heavy rock. I love most genres of music and I particularly love painting to classical music especially classical piano.