ARTIST OF THE YEAR 2021
Adam Land was named the SAPPHIRE ARTIST OF AUGUST 2021 and was automatically entered into the first ANNUAL ARTISTS OF THE YEAR EVENT where he was then named the RUBY ARTIST OF THE YEAR 2021. Meet this interesting artist, explore his compelling work and learn about his vigorous painting method and exciting art practice in the following feature and interview which was created in recognition and celebration of his RUBY ARTIST OF THE YEAR 2021 title.
"Painting is a balancing act between opposite ideas - direct observation and instinct, control and spontaneity, even between the literal and the symbolic. Although a painter is deeply involved with his own private investigation of thought, his real aim is to communicate a uniquely personal message to the viewer.” -- ADAM LAND
Adam Land (b. 1976) is an intuitive abstract artist who lives and works in Houston, Texas. The artist is skilled in several different media and art forms which include painting, sculpture and ceramics. His art is in numerous private and government collections and businesses. Adam’s exhibitions include a solo show at Silver Street Studios, Houston, TX. He has also exhibited at Spectrum Miami, part of Art Basel Miami Week and more. His art has been selected for several juried exhibitions, through which he has won various awards. He is also the recipient of awards from Jerry Goldstein Foundation, Gallery Ring and High Shelf Press magazine. Adding to his artistic contributions, Adam has served as a curator for exhibitions held at UNCC, Charlotte, NC, Silver Street Studios, Houston, TX and other venues. He donates a portion of certain art proceeds to the “Houston Food Bank”. Adam’s first experiences with art occurred when he was looking to attain an architecture degree. Having only an engineering portfolio, he required certain artistic skills and portfolio items. Ceramics was the only open class and that was all it took. Adam received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Acrylic on canvas (55 x 50 inches) $13,400.00
"I am most often lost in the process of painting, struggling to find a way out and feeling very much a beginner until that moment of clarity." -- ADAM LAND
GR - Your words above are very interesting especially since your finished work does not reveal the wrestling that occurred during its birth. Is this feeling of being a beginner a stage you enjoy, dread or simply tolerate?
AL - This stage can be all three during a painting. Facing a blank canvas can be dreaded by many. I break this by simply making marks, enjoying the flow onto the canvas. If the work doesn't begin to reveal itself I push through to develop the image.
GR - Is this stage an imperative ingredient in your process? Do you feel you must understand and befriend vulnerability and uncertainty to unearth truth in your work?
AL - Starting a new piece gives me freedom and allows exploration and experimentation but isn’t necessary to find or build something authentic. Some of my best works have come from painting over another work. If I allow myself to feel and fully participate in the process, the rawness will transform. Sometimes it is something I value and want to work with, other times I may miss it entirely. I take photos throughout the process in order to increase my recognition of the aesthetics of value. The more I can hear from each piece the more I am able to develop a piece and grow.
GR - Once you have reached clarity and the piece is complete do you feel you have triumphed over the "beginner" feeling or does it still linger or resonate?
AL - In the most vague reply, sometimes. I don't look at the “beginner” feeling as a bad thing. It forces me to concentrate and focus on the technical aspects of art. If it does depart, it is only for a fleeting moment and it returns as I begin a new work.
Oil on canvas (36 x 48 inches) $11,500.00
GR - Your work could be described as abstract, urban, reflective, electric and sizzling with sharp and active lines sometimes accompanied by a dominant, mysterious ring which pleases as a symbolic and contradictory shape. How would you explain or express it?
AL - For a long time now, my work has found a resolution in a kind of fractured landscape. Spaces of color and light akin to buildings and scenery of my travels open up between tectonic plates of color and form. The aim isn’t to represent a relationship to a particular place or image, rather the resolution comes with a unification of shape, color and mark into a whole of an experience that has resonance. Evoking a uniquely personal message from the viewer is the real target. Every viewer brings a unique set of experiences to each work, thus transforming it in ways that are different than the next.
GR - On a personal level what drives you to paint?
AL -Once I became creative, I dove in head first. All I wanted to do was ART. Unfortunately circumstances were not right for me to pursue it because I moved into corporate America. After finding success in the corporate world, I made the decision to explore my more creative passion. I taught myself how to paint but still feel the urge to create in various media and 3D. I'll keep exploring and progressing as time goes on.
GR - What is the desired outcome or response from viewers?
AL - Any response is great. If the work draws an emotional response, good or bad, I feel it is a success. Obviously I want to create visually appealing work but not all work is for everyone.
Oil on canvas (58 x 109 inches) $38,900.00
GR - Your work is created using a unique and physical method. Could you explain your process?
AL -I interact with the canvas while painting, constantly moving around it. I interact from each side and angle and have the freedom to engage in the piece in its entirety making it an improvisational journey with unexpected twists and turns. Working in this manner allows me to create gestural movements and markings with my hands, as well as numerous tools. The total immersion into the physicality of my process helps me connect with the composition, entropy, texture and color theory while constantly seeking the most pleasing mix of all components.
Acrylic on canvas (48 x 52 inches) $11,900.00
GR - Since you work all around your piece, does it ever prompt a change in your perspective and in the literal direction of the work? Is something else ever born instead of your initial intention?
AL - Yes, of course. Wander is a great example of this. During the working process I saw many developments that led me to change the orientation of the work. I chose to display the work in a 90 degree rotation from how I first thought it would be displayed. This piece even has a figurative feel in another orientation. Some of these develop during the painting process without me noticing until the end. It is a great surprise when this happens. When I near the end of a piece, I rotate it around (physically or digitally depending on size) so that I can see the work in all orientations. If the piece works in all 4, it is a great feeling. Not all of them do, but I will continue working until at least three orientations work well. Again, some paintings are meant to be displayed in horizontal or vertical form, so these rotations are just axis flips to answer the same question. These are more important because they have to work in both before I am satisfied.
GR- This process sounds rewarding and as if you are truly a part of the artwork.
AL - Very rewarding. It is what makes me want to hold on to them all. My collectors get a small piece of me with each artwork.
GR - Is the individual, interactive and physical performance for each work remembered and included in your perception of it even though it is in the past and no one else will ever witness it?
AL - For sure. Some works are more rewarding than others and those memories will last. I try to video my processes, both for posterity and to share. I haven’t been doing this very long but some of them are up on my YouTube channel.
GR - Do you believe this physical component lives on in each piece and provides additional information, vitality and substance to the viewers subconsciously?
AL - That is a great question for my collectors. For me, absolutely. Every time I see one of my pieces in a collection the memories of it come back to me. It's like visiting with an old friend you haven’t spoken to in a long while. Time passed, but you go back to where you were the last moment together.
GR - Do you work in silence or does music or some other sound participate in your movements and choices?
AL - The more sound the better. I play music in my studio while I work. I also work during open studio tours and events. I want people to see me working and be a part of the experience. It adds to the substance of the work and makes the responses stronger.
GR - Your method appears to be a perfect scenario for the creation of a carefree and beautiful mess yet your studio and your overalls look neat and tidy in the photos. How do you do it?
AL - I'm very organized and do my best to keep things tidy in the studio. As for the cleanliness of me, that varies. Usually my aprons and overalls are cleaner than my shoes.
GR - What is your starting point? Do you sketch something out on paper first?
AL - Sometimes I do a quick sketch, sometimes the sketch is on the blank canvas with charcoal or pencil. Other times I just dive in and see what emerges.
GR - Do colour choices come before you begin or somewhere during the excitement?
AL - Usually before the work starts I have a color palette in mind. Adaptation is part of the process, so it isn’t set.
GR- Is acrylic your main medium and why? Do you prefer the fast-drying quality it offers compared to oil?
AL - Currently I work with the fluid media of acrylic, ink and oil. The fast-drying properties of acrylic make it feasible to use. I have been working with water-miscible oil lately and although it dries in a similar way to traditional oil, all the other properties are like acrylic. As these are new to me, I will continue to explore them.
GR - Do you work on a piece over time or do you start and finish in one session?
AL - My works comprise numerous layers built over many sessions.
Digital NFT 0.25 Ether
GR - Which artist or artistic movement has most informed and directed your process or finished work?
AL - Along with contemporary art, Bauhaus and Abstract Expressionism have been very influential in my work.
GR- Do you feel this inspiration is visible through similar, aesthetic characteristics or is your work influenced and connected in a visceral and spiritual manner that would be more subtle and quiet?
AL - I feel my art is influenced both visibly and spiritually depending on the work. When I work more organically in the fractured landscape resolutions, the abstract expressionism connection is clearly visible, while the link to Bauhaus comes from my detachment of emotional sentiment which is achieved in my more geometric pieces of the Aggregation Series. Having studied art style and history in university, all styles come out when the need arises. The real trick is to let them work with the piece rather than trying to fight against them.
GR- Any thoughts on the relatively nascent and extremely controversial NFTs? Do you see it affecting your art practice in the future?
AL - NFTs are both exciting and terrifying at the same time. It has opened up a market not previously known to the art world, while at the same time getting a cold shoulder. Although it hasn’t been a place for the classic fine arts media, it must be discussed. I have explored NFTs and even created a few on OpenSea. I will research and explore them as I can but will continue to focus on physical art in the immediate future.
GR - Thank you for sharing and revealing the process, intention and inspiration that bring your art to life. It has been a pleasure getting acquainted and we look forward to following your career and to showcasing more of your work.
AL - Thank you for this opportunity. It has been great chatting with you.