Art Chat with Adam Friedman
Fascinated by multiverse theories, Adam Friedman's work explores themes of time and space through a kaleidoscopic lens. With his latest work currently on view at Stephanie Chefas Projects for STRAIGHT OUTTA PORTLAND we took the opportunity to have a chat with the Portland based artist. Here he talks about his love for the Pacific Northwest, the inspiration behind his work, and his favorite movement in Art History.
What was it about Portland that made you fall in love and decided to call this city home? How has living in the Pacific Northwest shaped your creativity?
Kind of a long story, but I'm originally from Tahoe... and from there we moved to the Bay Area... then down to Encinitas (North County San Diego). In 2001, I moved up to Eugene to attend the U of O. While in school, I'd come up to Portland often for art and music shows. After spending a lot of time in other big west coast cities, Portland had this comparative "final frontier" feeling for me. It had an urban atmosphere, but somehow didn't feel like a city. And I mean that in a really good way. It felt mysterious and unique. People were carving their own way and making things happen in a manner I thought was impossible for a west coast city.
In 2006 I moved back down to SF to attend grad school and stayed there for a few years afterwards. I love San Francisco, but things were changing a lot down there and it was getting hard to survive for anyone not in a high profile job. My girlfriend (now my wife) is originally from NE Portland, so when we were talking about leaving SF, Portland just kinda made sense. A lot of my buddies from undergrad were up here, and she has family. Its always easy to move somewhere that you have roots. My wife actually didn't like the idea because it felt too much like settling down, or coming full circle too quickly. But after considering other places, Portland just seemed like the best option. Portland is a lot different now then when my wife grew up here (or even when I was in college), so it felt like we learned the city all over again. I love the proximity to nature, the DIY spirit, the food, etc. After seeing other places I've lived go through major changes (SF, North County SD, etc)... I hope Portland will retain its qualities that make it so special through this period of rapid growth and development.
Tell us about your process. How does a work evolve from conception to completion?
I primarily work with acrylic on canvas that I stretch over wood panels. I also focus a lot of studio time on sculptural paintings. I tend to produce bodies of work every year or so for projects (solo shows, etc). While its easy to see the evolution from one body of work to the next... I also feel like they are all pretty different. I've been pushing harder and harder on the presentation of my work through the installation process... and trying to create more of an experience for the viewer. Working towards a big show and having deadlines is great because it really focuses my to produce... but it also makes it harder to experiment. I'm trying to take some time right now to do that, because thats really where the work evolves. My process has changed over the years, but the core elements have stayed the same. I read a lot and research my concepts. I do a lot of sketching (with drawing media and computer media). I never really know exactly where an individual panting is going, but I have a conceptual frame work that helps guide the process.
Your work for Straight Outta Portland is a fantastic psychedelic exploration of our universe. Tell us about the inspiration behind these pieces.
Ha! Thanks! I'm really into physics, cosmology, and philosophy. I'm obsessed with "knowledge" and what it really means to "know" anything. I love multiverse theories, the concept of infinity, and other ideas that push the boundaries of our accepted realities. I obsessively look at art (both contemporary and historical), and think about how my ideas can fit within the bigger visual conversation.
If you could hang only one artwork from art history in your home or studio, what would it be and why?
Oh man! Such a hard question. I'd really have to think on it more, but it would probably be between the following:
Caspar David Fredrick's "After the Wreck of Hope"
Fredrick E Church's "Cotopaxi"
Albert Bierstadt's "A Storm in the Rockies - Mount Rosalie"
I love Romanticism and the Hudson River school. I'm highly influenced by nature and the sublime... so while there are a million other more modern works I'd love to call my own... I'd probably have to chose one from the list above.
Tell us something about yourself we wouldn't necessarily know.
I lost my best friend in high school and still think about him everyday
If I were to spend the day with Adam, what could I expect?
Typical days are not all that exciting. I wake up early with my wife, make coffee, then get to work. In the studio I listen to a lot of music and podcasts, so that could be entertaining for ya. Haha. We'd have to take a break at some point and go for a motorcycle ride out through Bull Run or somewhere beautiful... Then come back and work some more. I love to cook, so when my eyes start to feel like they're going to fall out, I usually call it for the day and start thinking about making dinner. Then relax a bit and do it all over the next day. Weekends are a different story, so anything is possible then.
STRAIGHT OUTTA PORTLAND is on view through Feb 29th at Stephanie Chefas Projects, 305 SE 3rd Ave. #202, Portland, OR 97214, www.stephaniechefas.com