Conversation with Adam Janes
The title of the show is “ Hunter Gatherer” … Who are these characters?
There are two references within the title: firstly, the Hunter was the idea of becoming more primal, a sense of taking industry out of the equation and looking at the most basic way of survival. That was important in starting new and afresh with this particular project. Secondly, the Gatherer was the idea of picking up whatever was around me, and finding some sort of usefulness in the discarded. The combination of these two characters, or these two actions kept the process off-balance, and therefore gave me a reason to continue forward.
The black background is clearly important in your new series of drawings…
The reason why black was important in this project was that it really emphasised starting with nothing, like being in the dark. There is something kind of nervous about being in the dark, not knowing what direction to take and I think my drawings are a sort of trail of these thoughts and experiences, following the subconscious. Working with black also emphasised how to find and pull out the light from the dark; it really was a perfect platform for how I felt at the beginning of this project and I think I will continue to use black in the art making process.
Action is really the process of drawing; there is physicality to working on a large surface, which activates body movement as much as it illuminates particular characteristics in this process. Often there is also a brainstorming quality to my work where everything is possible; instead of a specific idea, the idea that you’re still trying to figure it out is really where I feel drawing works the best and the strongest; it is the most intimate way I think you can experience an artist as it is directly linked with their hand and brain.
Do you think drawings create a direct link with the artist more than the mediums of painting or sculpture?
Yes, you see the mistakes and you get a more in-depth idea of the work. There is always a hint or a memory of what has been drawn and then erased. Paper is so fragile that every movement and every mark is recorded, and rarely can it be hidden. I think that there is definitely an element of building and erasing, and that process is all very present on the page.
Each drawing has a door motif, does this act as an entrance into your drawings?
I think doorways and windows have been a kind of continuing symbol, as I see it, from the beginning of my work up until this point. I think it is something that relates to the opening of the subconscious and in this particular show existed in every drawing because, in a way, as I was starting in the dark, it allowed my first step into an architecture where I was to build and figure out the rest of the structure, that eventually became the matrix of the drawing.
What does an artist being in Los Angeles mean to you and your work?
In a way an artist is given a location to give reference to the work but what is funny is that my romantic idea of an artist is that they are wandering wizards, they have no place, they just happen to be on planet earth. What is interesting about having the label of being an artist in LA is that LA is not a city that is taken very seriously. Los Angeles is almost a cartoon, a caricature of a place. LA is kind of like the Star Wars bar, no one is really from there, most people come to LA. It is an un-restful town for most who live there; it’s a town that is constantly rediscovering itself. If the village raises the child, and the artist is the child, what a strange teacher Los Angeles is.
Ask a question to the artist during the time of the exhibition. Five questions will be selected and answers will be available online.