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Meet Lisa Adams

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Adams.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I began making art before Kindergarten. When I saw a reproduction of Salvador Dali’s “Persistence of Memory” at age ten, I was certain I would become an artist. Even though there were no artists or art influences in my family, I called myself an artist from that point on. When I turned thirteen, I discovered Charles and Ray Eames’ short film “Powers of Ten,” and I saw my first non-objective painting by Karl Benjamin. I was on my way and can sincerely say that I never strayed from my desire to become a professional artist.

In 1980, after I completed an undergraduate and graduate degree in art, I moved to SoHo in New York where I lived and exhibited for five years. I realized that experience was my real art education. Eventually, I moved back to LA and continued making and exhibiting my work.

Beginning in the middle 90s, I did a number of foreign artist-in-residencies which allowed me to dip in and out of living in LA. Much of my time in this city has been spent downtown—the downtown of the past, before development, and the downtown of the present. I’ve seen all those changes and in fact, downtown today reminds me a bit of my earlier years in SoHo.

Please tell us about your art.
After four decades of art making, I’ve evolved into an oil painter. I paint methodically and slowly in oil paint, mostly using my own photographs as references as well as working from my imagination and personal experiences. My idiosyncratic paintings are a combination of fact and fantasy, amalgamated fragments resulting in a disjointed whole. My work operates between abstraction and representation, the natural and human-built worlds and finally between the imaginary and the real.

I am particularly interested in certain aspects of the urban environment; for example, the way a homeless person might build a structure in which to live or abandoned structures in general, signage, re-purposed things made by hand, etc. Likewise, I love the natural world in all its purity, but most of all I am fascinated by the interface of these two worlds—the place where the urban environment meets the natural world, a borderland. Borderlands have very unique properties, like the L.A. River or even parts of Griffith Park and the Angeles National Forest. In my work, I try to offer some insight into these types of locales.

As an artist, how do you define success and what quality or characteristic do you feel is essential to success as an artist?
The definition of success changes over the course of an artist’s lifetime. The longer you participate in the professional realm, having exhibitions, etc. the more you appreciate all those artists who have maintained their practice over decades. So many artists fall out for a whole variety of reasons, sometimes even after they have achieved so-called commercial or external success.

Of course, we would all love to either have huge amounts of money to begin with, or generate tons of money from our art but very few artists can claim that. Does that make other artists, the majority of artists, in fact, failures? Personally, I don’t think so.

Staying in the game, thinking of your work as the centerpiece of your life, advancing your work and making the best work you can, is success to me.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
Currently, I am working with Garis & Hahn in downtown Los Angeles. My solo exhibition titled “A Piebald Era” will be up through February 17th. Occasionally, I invite collectors for private studio visits and there is always my website for images and up-to-date information as well as social media.

Fundamentally, I am a studio artist, which basically means I make paintings in my studio and exhibit them (usually at a gallery) for sale. A studio artist relies on sales of artwork for their livelihood, generally in collaboration with a gallery or, under some circumstances, through direct sales from the studio.

Over the years I have also created a number of public art projects, most notably a Metro project for the Orange Line, Chatsworth Station, so the public can see my work there as well.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Courtesy of Lisa Adams

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