Stunningly Surreal – the Art of Adam Stone

by Tony Shea on September 28, 2013

in ART VS ART, IN PRAISE OF..., INTERVIEWS, PICTURES, VIDEO

Delicate_Balance

Delicate Balance

Adam Stone is one of my very favorite artists in Los Angeles. His work never fails to bring a smile to my face and engage my intellect as I sort through his surreal creations and wonder what it all means. So I figured I would ask him. Below my interview with the always fascinating Adam Stone. TS

TONY: Many of your paintings are highly surreal and feature an interesting juxtaposition of images that are reminiscent of dreams or experiences that might be said to be psychedelic. Do dreams/subconscious serve as an inspiration for your work? Following on that, what’s your personal drug history like? Have you taken LSD or other psychedelics? Do drug experiences play a role in your work?

Dockweiler

Dockweiler

Downtime Under the Big Top

Downtime Under the Big Top

Lord of the Javalenas

adam stone
ADAM:I am always asked if I use drugs to create. When I was younger I did experiment with most of the garden variety drugs that are out there. Although I have never tried LSD. My work is all natural these days. I’m inspired by dreams, history, people, places as well as colorful character’s that I come across. I have a very humorous way about seeing the world around me and I often like to use my characters to convey these perceptions. I’m inspired by all things imaginative.

TONY: Describe your process. Where does an idea begin, what materials do you use, and how long does a painting take to create?

Song of Ascension

Song of Ascension

ADAM: There are times when I get an idea for a new painting and I begin by making very rough sketches. But, I’d have to say that most of the time I use the canvas to work out my compositions. I’m more of an improvisational painter. I love to be navigating my way through in the depths of discovery-in the moment. I find that when I spend too much time working the details of the composition out beforehand, I am not as connected to the element of surprise that I find so addictive. There are definitely more complex pieces that require more forethought in the early stages than others but usually being in the magic of the mystery is where I feel most comfortable. A painting can take me anywhere from a few days to a month or so. These days, I mainly work in acrylics as I often don’t have the luxury of time to wait for paintings to cure…Over the years, I have used almost every medium out there.

TONY: How do you know when a painting is finished?

Wild Night at Bar Deregulation

Wild Night at Bar Deregulation

ADAM: When you’re having a great time in the creative process, sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the minutia of details. But, usually I know when a painting is done when I don’t feel that there is anything more I can do to improve on it. Interestingly enough, there are many times I will take out older pieces and rework them…or change them altogether! So, perhaps, a painting is never really quite done!

TONY: Your paintings seem to incorporate a variety of Hindu and/or Buddhist elements. I ‘m thinking maybe about the elephants…What is your religious/spiritual outlook and how does it manifest itself in your work?

Bliss

Bliss

I Can See You

I Can See You

Serendipity

Serendipity

ADAM: I consider myself to be a deeply Spiritual person, however, I was not brought up to follow any one religious faith. I practice the faith of open mindedness. I am one who believes that there are many roads to a higher state of consciousness, though my work does often incorporate symbols of Buddhism and Hinduism.

TONY: When we spoke on the phone a few weeks back you mentioned that your parents were street artists and that your siblings were also artists and that you grew up in an house basically surrounded by art. Perhaps you could go into some more detail and describe what the experience of your child was like and how it laid the track for what you would become?

La_Familia

La Familia

ADAM: My parents were both street artists as well as my younger siblings, JD and Rachel. We were all born into a seriously creative world where art was not only a means of self expression but of survival itself. I learned the business of selling art at a very young age. In fact, I knew more about the business aspect of the art world than I did about the creative aspect. After watching my parents do their thing in the street shows of LA, I started selling my art on the boardwalk in Venice Beach when I was 17. In those early years, I can actually say that I didn’t really know what the fuck I was painting or doing out there. In my mind, I had very limited skill set as far as “technique” goes…but enough people found my work interesting enough to shell out a couple hundred bucks for a small work. After a couple Summers in Venice, I moved onto larger fine art festivals where my parents were showing.

TONY: In your painting Sloboris and Zoso, I notice that the lemur is carrying a guitar case that features stickers from the Addicts, Clash, Stones, Dead. You’ve painted pictures of Jimi Hendrex and Mick Jagger. What’s your favorite music and how does it influence your work?

Sloboris and Zoso

ADAM: My musical tastes are all over the board. I grew up on Classic Rock. Was a teenager in the 80’s, when the hair bands ruled the Sunset Strip. Blues, Punk, Jazz can even be on the same playlist. But, if I had to throw down a few that inspired me more deeply…(Led Zeppelin, The Cars, Stones, early Van Halen, Clash, John Lee Hooker, Jimi, Billie Holiday…

TONY: Many of your paintings like Independence Day seem to feature a variety of symbols. Do you have a private catalog of symbols that you use in your work. If so what are some of them and what do they mean to you?

Independence_Day

Independence Day

ADAM: Water, butterflies, hummingbirds tend to find their way into my narratives repeatedly. I was told that Hummingbirds were one of my many Spirit Guides and so that is where that connection lays. I have always loved animals as they obviously play a huge role in my art work. Had I not been a professional artist, I’d likely have gone into working with them in some capacity. I recently spent a few days on an elephant safari in Bali. The people who created this beautiful home for over 30 rescued Sumatran elephants went to great lengths to build out the land, get the animals there safely and provide a wonderful new home for these super sensitive creatures that likely would have been killed for their ivory. I could see myself wanting to be a part of something as amazing as that.

The Watch

The Watch

Kiss

Kiss

TONY: Who are your favorite painters/artists and what aspects of their work/process have you incorporated into your own work?

ADAM: Dalî of course. Bosch, Picasso, Reubens, Vermeer, Caravaggio, Egon Schiele, Rembrandt, Delacroix to contemporary painters like Peter Howson. These great painters all inspire me in different ways. Some more for their use of light, perspective, imagination and ability to bring such beauty, grace and power to the human form.

Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos

TONY:You’re a native Angeleno. How does Los Angeles factor in your work?

ADAM: In my earlier work, many of my pieces had a bit of a cinematic air to them. In some of my musical pieces I’d work my character’s into the composition as a director might place actor’s on a set or stage. Some of the paintings in the Fairytale series had a contemporary “CGI” feel to them. Being born in Hollywood, living within the machine that churned out so much of the Pop Culture that the entire world consumed did have an effect on some of my more earlier paintings. Sometimes I’d use local architecture, clubs, city streets and find ways to incorporate them into my compositions. But, In all reality, I’ve always been more comfortable drawing my inspiration from a place within myself. I’m not entirely sure where the thoughts and concepts always come from. Perhaps from memories or images lodged deep into my subconscious mind. The most important thing for me is that they COME!

Get your Fine Art groove on at www.adamstone.com
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Tony Shea ( Editor-in-Chief, New York)

Tony Shea is based in New York, having recently moved from Los Angeles after more than a decade on the sunny coast. His short films have won numerous awards and screened at major festivals around the world including Comic-Con. As a musician, he is the lead singer for Los Angeles rock n’ roll band Candygram For Mongo (C4M) candygramformongo.com who has been a featured artist on Clear Channel Radio’s Discover New Music Program and whose songs have been heard on Battlestar Gallactica (Syfy Channel) and Unhitched (Fox) among other shows and films.

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