Adam Reeder {E} Artist Feature

by Christina Diaz

Medium: Sculpture

Meet Adam Reeder artist, the thirty-something former Angeleno is a full time artist. Adam’s medium of choice: sculpture. I posted a call for submissions and Adam submitted a handful of his clever pieces. I quickly admired his pop cultural twist on the classically  sculpted human form. Adam’s work reminded me of Rodin interweaved with Cesar Santos. A refreshing and delightful adaptation of how we view ourselves in conjunction with our growing dependency on technology or in Adam’s words, “a socio-technic evolution.”

When Adam’s not sculpting, he’s teaching around 70+ students a week about art. He loves the freedom of being an artist and being his own boss. He admits, “I suppose I take for granted that I get to use a skill that few people have to make money. I get paid to do what I love. I forget that some times because so much of it is routine. I think the freedom is also what I hate about it. There is something very UN-romantic about having to be on task to finish a project. EW.” We (artists) can all relate to that right?!

Currently Adam is writing a book on how to draw. It focuses on drawing the human figure in comic form. He states that his book is different from existing books on the market by helping to fill in the steps that other comic drawing books skip over. He’s also in the process of inventing a new type of paint. Keep reading to learn a bit more about how Adam’s career in the socio-technic evolution began.

{E}: What, or who, got you interested in art?
AR: Being in LA gave me a good deal of exposure to art, but it was my Mom, Mary Reeder, who really was my first teacher. She took me to museums and such. She teaches art now and STILL inspires art ninjas of the future.

{E}: Were you artistic as a child?
AR: No, I did not start really drawing until I was 14.

{E}: Are you self-taught or did you attend a trade school?
AR: I am largely self-taught. I took my first art class at the age of 21. I did end up doing grad school at the SF academy of Art University, earning an MFA in Sculpture. Being self taught means I made A BILLION mistakes. I think that is what makes me a good teacher. I know all of the things I struggled to learn, and I find shortcuts to helping students learn those things.

{E}: Tell me about your art. How would you describe it?
AR: I do realistic art. Having said that, I try not to take myself too seriously.  I have done hundreds of portrait drawing and sculpting commissions. However, the thing I love doing most is full figure art work that has expressive movement.

Art is a language. I find using the human figure gives me a language to work with that can be understood by anyone who can see, no matter what language they speak. That being said, I think it is important to use that language to say something significant about my world, my time. I do not want to make art that seeks to re-live past art movements.

{E}: What would you say sets you apart from others in the industry?
AR: My body of work titled Socio-technic evolution is a body of work about how technology changes the way we interact with our world.  When I made that body of work in 2007 it was an observation. Now in 2013 almost 2014, it becomes more relevant with each passing year.  Now I see that body of work as social documentation.  I used Greek gods as symbols for western culture, and iconic tech objects as the “technology.”  The interesting thing is, that was the last time our tech objects had iconic looks to them. NOW, everything is a flat screen, largely devoid of any uniquely iconic visual characteristics.  The iPod from 2005, with the circular dial, is something everyone 15 years old and older can recognize.

{E}: What inspires you?
AR: I am a SEVERELY emotional creature. I am also visual and a hopeless romantic. Things like full moons, sunsets and seeing Venus are magical to me. I do not want to sound cliché, but I actually get a high off of stuff like that. I LOVE the rain, and I am enchanted by thunderstorms.  I think I like them because in LA, when it rained, it meant Christmas was coming soon.

{E}: While growing up, what cartoons, stories, movies did you watch that had an artistic impact on you?
AR: I loved Marvel comics. I especially loved Spiderman and X-men. Jim Lee, and Todd MacFarlane were my heroes. I think just growing up close to the Ocean, and being in a melting pot of cultures and ideas was the most powerful artistic influence.

{E}: Where do you get ideas for your artwork?
AR: Society. I swear, I would have been a sociologist if I had not been an artist.  I love psychology and sociology.  I love art that gets a bit deeper and helps show reality.  I love when my work honestly (but not always seriously) describes MY world.

{E}: Whom are some of your favorite artists and why?
AR: Auguste Rodin. I love Rodin as a sculptor because he was more interested in the passion of movement and expression than he was in details. I find my work getting looser and looser as I get older, not because I feel lazy, but because I am seeking that purely passionate movement.

I also still love Jim Lee as an artist. I feel that Jim Lee is one of the best artists alive, and he is a comic book artist.

{E}: If we walked into your home or studio, whose art would we find on your walls?
AR: Studio, you would see my artwork, and the artwork of my students (most of them kids). You would also see the work of Kirk Miller who teacher 2 classes out of my studio. Kirk is a GREAT painter! The work of the students inspires me! It really does!

{E}: What’s your favorite medium and why? Is there a medium you enjoy over the other?
AR: I enjoy charcoal a TON. However, my passion is sculpture. I get a positive visceral reaction when I make a sculpture that has fluid movement to it (Even if it is a sitting pose). If that sculpture has some passion or expression to it, I feel it in my bones, I feel it’s life.

{E}: What are some of your favorite art tools and why?
AR: I find that pallet knives are some of my favorite tools, that and sable brushes. I use both as sculpting tools.  I love them because it is unconventional for a sculptor to use those tools. I love using tools made for a painter, to create sculptures. I am not very good at following rules.

{E}: Discuss the process you go through to create a piece. Mediums you decide to use and why?
AR: Sometimes I see a piece before I go to sleep, it comes in a flash. I get other ideas at that time as well. I write those down.

Other ideas come from simply starting with the concept, and creating something that best describes that concept.

The sculpture I made titled “Arab spring” was about the Arabs using tech to over throw dictators, so I made an Egyptian hieroglyph inspired tablet for my flat, Egyptian inspired figures.

{E}:  How do you title a piece?
AR: This is a topic I am odd about. I am nauseated by the long “art school-ish” titles people give to artwork. I think often times people try to prop up poorly made artwork with word heavy titles.  I title artwork based on how it helps describe what the artwork means in my reality.

{E}: Do you have any words of advice for an up-and-coming artist?
AR: As soon as you can, start figuring out how you can make $$ with art. Too many art teachers ESPECIALLY in College, focus too much on “Artishness”, and not enough on marketability.  I think the best way to crush your dreams, is to fail to plan, and ignore what your audience wants to buy.

Check out more of Adam’s work here:

Adam Reeder {E} Artist Feature