Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Interview: Adam Friedman

I'm very excited about this blog post because I had the pleasure of talking with one of my favorite artists, Adam Friedman. His work is beyond words I can't even begin to describe. Most of his work is acrylic, screen print, gel transfers, and collage on panel. All in all, this dude is beast. Check out this quick interview Friedman did with GOLDREBEL.

GB: Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you live.

A: My name is Adam. I’m originally from Lake Tahoe (Nevada side), but I’ve lived up and down the west coast of the USA. I love this side of the country, and there aren’t many other places in the US that I’d be happy living. I’ve been painting and drawing since I was a little kid, but became serious about it in college at the University of Oregon. I returned to the Bay Area to attend graduate school at the San Francisco Art Institute. It was an interesting, but overall good experience, and my lady and I ended up staying in SF for a few years after I graduated. We moved up to Portland at the end of this last summer because we wanted a change of pace and scenery. My fiancĂ©, Josi is from here originally, and having gone to school up here, I have a lot of good friends in the area. Portland is great. Its an interesting place because compared to SF, its pretty depressed economically. There are so many young unemployed people here, its kinda rough. But on the flip side, it’s a beautiful city and there is tons of great food, coffee, music, hiking, biking, etc etc etc! I definitely miss SF, but we’re very happy to be up here!

GB:How would you describe your work to someone.

A:I have an “official” artist statement on my website… but I don’t speak in that sort of format in everyday conversation. I’ve always loved the outdoors (camping, surfing, biking, hiking, swimming, snowboarding, deserts, mountains, rivers, oceans, canyons) and that has definitely influenced my artistic interests and focus. But the work is about expressing and/or recognizing something that’s way bigger than us as human beings. We have such a skewed understanding of time and the natural world/universe(s)/cosmos and our place there within. The paintings are meant to be an epic, beautiful, and positive view of the earth and earthly processes from a non human-centric perspective. The earth was here long before we were and will be here long after us.

GB: How do you start off your day? What's a working day like.

A: Well that always changes depending on what sort of work I’m doing to pay the bills. When we first moved up here, I had a hard time finding a regular paying job, so I was in the studio like 50 hours a week or way more. Which is what I’d love to be doing ideally… So now that I’m officially employed, some days I work in the studio when I get home from the job, other days I paint before work. When I have days off, I try to be in the studio all day. This is the first time I’ve had a studio at home, and its pretty sweet. My lady gets up early to head to work so I get up with her, make some coffee, turn on some music, and start painting.

GB: Favorite alcoholic beverage.

A: I love “hot” bourbons. If I’m on a budget, the go to is usually Wild Turkey 101. If I’m feeling fancy, my fave bourbon is George T. Stagg. The stuff is flammable, but SO good! For cocktails, I like a true Old Fashioned (none of that sweet cherry and lots of sugar crap) or a Sezarac. I love good beer as well.

GB: How long does it take for you to complete a painting?

A: That really depends on how much time I have in the studio, and how many pieces I’m working on at once. I’ve finished small paintings in a couple weeks, and its taken me four months (or more) to finish a large piece. So it really depends.

GB: Music being a huge part of your process, what's on your playlist right now?

A: Oh man, too much to name. Metal is usually my go to, but I change it up a lot as well. I’ve been into this Portland band called Agalloch. Also been REALLY into Son of Aurelius. Some of my favorites that are always in the rotation are Assuck, Man is the Bastard, Sleep, Electric Wizard, Esoteric, Assunder, The Sword, Suffocation, Nile, Judas Priest (oh yeah), and many more. Love me some Rock n’ Roll too. Hawkwind, Zior, Ashkan, Gold, King Crimson, CAN, etc. I listen to a lot of Jazz, Reggae, Hip Hop, Jungle, Soul… but I’m very particular in each genre as to what I like and can’t stand. But I won’t bore with too much detail!

GB: Top 3 places to visit in Portland.

A: The Esplanade, for a sweet bike ride. Forrest Park, for an awesome hike within city limits. And there are SO many good bars, restaurants, coffee shops. My college roommate, Kyle, is the morning chef at this spot called Tasty and Sons. Best breakfast/brunch EVER!!! I think they also were recently recognized as best restaurant in Portland. I’m still learning my way around the galleries here…

GB: Night owl or early bird?

A: I prefer to work in the studio a regular 9-5 type of a thing. That’s when I’m the most productive for sure. I get kind of worthless late at night, but sometimes (especially when I have a deadline) I can pull the all nighter.

GB: If you could collaborate with one artist, deceased or living, who would it be?

A: That’s a tough question because I haven’t done much collaboration. In all honesty, I would chose to collaborate with certain artists that I respect mostly out of selfishness or self interest… In the sense that I’m more interested in learning how they do things. I’d love to work on a stop motion animation with Allison Schulnik (currently living). Paint an epic landscape with Frederic E. Church or Thomas Moran (both long since dead). But what I’d really love to do is collaborate with a non-visual artist. If I had to choose one person for a collaborative project, it would be Edward Abbey (deceased). We would plan out a huge rugged backpacking/river trip through some blazing brutal desert. Disappear into the “back of beyond” as he would say for a while… Then bounce ideas off each other. He could write, and I could make paintings based on those writing and our mutual experience (or visa versa).

All images taken from Adam Friedman's personal website

Check out more of Adam's work here.

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