We had the good fortune of connecting with Adam Brouillette and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Adam, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
To me, there are three major factors behind my success, the success of my projects, and the success of my brand.
The first is the ability to pay attention. Not just in conversation. But in observation and presence. My ability to create things that are meaningful has more to do with observing the space and people around me and figuring out how the abilities I have can elevate or illuminate those situations.
The second is being a jack-of-all-trades. I paint. I’m not a painter. I play drums. I’m not a drummer. I build things. I am not a builder. Knowing a bit about a lot of things gives me the ability to use my observations and figure out ways to apply those abilities. Knowing that I am not an expert at any one thing allows me to understand that, regardless of situation, there is someone who knows things better than I do, and that I should be willing to accept their expertise to better the situation.
Lastly, communication is a major factor to my success. I often think that it is the most important skill. Not just communicating, but communicating well, understanding the audience or the buyer, knowing how to speak clearly. Being an artist has helped me refine how I communicate and has taught me to simplify messages to the point of clarity.
These three factors have been huge in my development and success.
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.
For the last 20 years, I’ve been telling narrative stories using a set of characters I have developed. They most often are paintings. Sometimes on canvas. Sometimes murals. They are almost always single frame images intended to tell the whole story in one image. They are rooted in my history. I’m a normal suburban kid. I grew up playing Legos, watching Saturday morning cartoons, and eating cereal. I read Calvin and Hobbes. When I went to art school, I had some idea that to be an artist you had to do something edgy. I made things that strayed from my history and I was miserable. When I realigned the things I was creating to be more authentic to myself and my history, I became happier with the things I was making, and ultimately those things got better.
It took me some time to realize that creating my work was only one part of the equation. I found that helping others and creating opportunities for others was important to me as well. I started running art collectives, non-profits, art galleries and studios. I started hosting community events and festivals. I did everything I could to elevate the artists around me and to help them succeed. Art to me isn’t about defeating others, its about doing something authentic to yourself and helping others do the same. Success comes when those collective realizations take place. This is the core of my brand. Making things I love and helping others make things they love.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Columbus is sort of a hidden gem. Sometimes even from itself. It currently is fighting to maintain its unique culture. For someone visiting, they would need to experience local and authentic places. The North Market for lunch. Galleries like Blockfort, 934 Gallery, and the Vanderelli Room. They would need to see the various neighborhoods and eat dinner at a locally owned restaurant. And the revamped riverfront is quite beautiful. But make sure to ask locals what is happening. There is always something happening, even if it seems hidden.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My mom. I know that is probably a common answer. But my mom was a perfect blend of two things: criticism and encouragement. Rarely did I go without some critique of the Lego design I built or picture I drew. And rarely did I go without encouragement for the same things. It was challenge system with a built in reward that she instilled in me. Still to this day, when making a painting, or running a community event, I can hear her voice in my head asking me if I could have done something better. This is always followed by the voice that says what I have created is great and I should do it again. Perhaps this is all a bit psychological and heavy, but it’s true.