We had the good fortune of connecting with Andy Adamson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andy, where are you from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I am from the small-ish town of Springfield, Missouri. It is home to Bass Pro, Brad Pitt, a kind of sad zoo, and cashew chicken (I’m not kidding). It’s fine, but you don’t need to visit. By all accounts, my upbringing had all the trappings of a relatively “normal” childhood but made a lasting impression. The bleak landlocked nightmare that is the Ozarks instilled a particular brand of “midwestern humor” that I have never been able to shake. It’s a very dry deadpan kind of dark humor where no one is ever quite sure if you’re kidding or not. Humor is not usually the cornerstone for creative practices but it’s such a core part of me that it’s unavoidable. Although that weird little town was a really cool progressive hub for art and culture (this time I Am kidding), I got out as soon as I could.
Ham Fisted, 2020, Ceramic, acrylic cold finish.Winnie the Pooourgeurgelhrglurglglguhgrrg
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
What sets my work apart from others is that I took a long journey to end up with a hilarious conclusion. This journey is as follows: For a loooong time, I tried to make super-serious, earnest, furrow-browed capital A-R-T, ART! I wanted to make the kind of art that you stare at with your monocle while rubbing your chin and say things like, “The perfunctory but subversive nature of his work elucidates the quotidian cultural liminalities of bourgeois labor”, but my efforts were unsuccessful, dishonest, and mostly went unnoticed. I didn’t know all the popular contemporary artists or the names of the hip galleries (I still don’t). I kept spelling “Art Basel” as “Basil” for far too long, but no one corrected me because everyone thought I was making a joke. I even still felt like an outsider moron in graduate school. Surely, I was too flippant and not quite serious enough about anything to make something “good”, but maybe just too dumb to stop (I had a friend recently tell me that I might be the perfect idiot. It was a compliment). I kept plugging away, hoping I would finally open some magic door into how to make “good” art. (I did not). Finally, and largely due to my inability to be honest with myself, my brain broke, and I realized what I needed to do to make myself happy, which was make absurd, jokey one-liner nonsense art. Not that there is anything wrong with making “serious” art, I am just bad at it. You get to a certain point where you think, “Who am I doing this for?”. I reckoned that I should just make the kind of work that I want to regardless of how tasteless, stupid, or silly; the kind of dumb shit that would make my friends laugh. (This seems like the most obvious thing, but sometimes it’s hard to convince yourself.) So in the end, I am proud that I overcame my own stupidity so I could make joke art. It is like being a stand-up comedian except I sit down more and don’t have to see anyone if I don’t want to. 2020 has been an unabashed “suck-fest”, and we all know it! Art is hard and this year is certainly no exception. Despite myself, and because humor and making art have now become existential coping mechanisms, I decided that people need something to laugh at now more than ever (Myself included).
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
As I am still fairly new to the city I am not going to say anything that everyone doesn’t already know, and I don’t have the type of friends who’d really want to do the classic “tourist” destinations anyways (although the aquarium is pretty dope). I love the food in this city, but there is one spot that I instantly thought of as being a quintessentially Atlanta experience. I can’t tell you the name of it, when it’s open, or what exactly is going to be on the Menu, but only where it is. Ok, so there is a liquor store off of Gresham road called Ace’s package (technically it’s a “package” store, but whatever) and occasionally there is a man there with his truck in the median, between the entrance and exit, with a smoker hitched to the back. I would take my friend to the liquor store (ahem, “Package”) and just get some wonderful, cash only, southern bbq. Oxtails, ribs, extra sauce, slaw, beans, and a single slice of white bread. Decadence. Lucky, 2020, Ceramic, glaze. Hog Tied, 2019, Ceramic, glaze, luster. Coming Down your Chimney, 2018, Ceramic, glaze, luster, flocking.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to give a shoutout to my partner, lover, and best friend Megan. Her unwavering support and encouragement in my creativity are why I am here… unless she has been gaslighting me for a decade to make art as some sort of elaborate long-con for some past misdeed, but I don’t think so. She is so cool, funny, and smart and I would have never started taking an art career seriously without her encouragement. (Yeah, I went back to school because a cute girl likes me. Don’t judge me, I can feel your judgment and I don’t even care.)
Headshot is by Coorain Devin, www.coorain.com, @coorain on Instagram