We had the good fortune of connecting with Lisa Adams and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lisa, what matters most to you?
Integrity matters most to me. I’ve always had a very personal approach to art making and though an artist is aware of their audience to some degree, being honest with oneself is imperative. I know when a painting hits the mark and is satisfying and when it misses.
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.
My studio practice spans forty years. I’ve seen the art world and the business of art change significantly over that time. How did I get to where I am today you ask? My immediate response is endurance, a natural, continuous curiosity and an insistence in maintaining a studio practice as the center of ones life no matter what. If you stay in any field long enough, you not only see changes in the profession but in yourself as well; sometimes your work is compatible with external changes and sometimes it’s not. If you are to stay active or relevant, you’ve got to constantly reassess how you feel about your own work and you’ve got to actively keep looking at your contemporaries’ work. You have to make the time to keep up; go out and see exhibitions, not just online, read contemporary criticism and reviews, not just art historical texts, be aware of what is going on in the bigger picture, not just in the art world. It’s a full time job. Unless an artist comes from unending financial wealth, some of the challenges are about funding your studio practice. Sometimes it’s about taking jobs outside your studio to help you keep going. All this is part of endurance. You learn to do whatever it takes to keep making art. About my brand? I think of it more as my vision than a brand. My vision is personal, a bit hermetic and has evolved over four decades. Currently, I would say my vision responds to the nearly apocalyptic time we find ourselves, in particular to climate change’s effects on the natural world and the changes I sense in our social and political structures. Being open to and curious about these aspects of the bigger world has influenced my work.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
OK let’s assume we are past the era of Covid-19 when many things are possible.
I lived in downtown LA for approximately 25 years and I know it well. Much of who I am and how my work looks was shaped by living there, but now I live in Santa Monica so I feel a bit schizophrenic. Since 2006 I have been an avid public transportation rider and use Metro widely. My best friend and I would definitely use Metro to get around downtown LA. We would visit the Arts District, eat at Guerrilla Tacos on 7th Street and Stumptown around the corner for coffee. We would also visit The Row for drinks and dinner at the Alameda Supper Club. Shopping at The Row is fantastic, so many curated boutiques with unique merchandise.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, both in Little Tokyo and on Grand Avenue is one of my favorite museums. Lemonade at Grand Avenue MOCA is fantastic for lunch. We would visit LACMA which also has one of my favorite restaurants in LA, Rays + Stark Bar and finally The Broad Museum and The Hammer in Westwood. The art museums in LA are inspiring and a great way to spend the day. We would also dedicate a day to visiting the many art galleries in LA. Some of my special favorites are in DTLA such as Hauser & Wirth, Nicodim, Susan Vielmetter and Wilding Cran. There are also other great galleries dotted around LA; Regan Projects, Deitch Projects, all the galleries along Highland Avenue and so many more.
Hiking in LA is awesome and many people who don’t live here really don’t know how important this is to us. We would go to Griffith Park of course and another day we’d go to the Angeles National Forest which is only a 30-40 minute drive from DTLA. Malibu Creek State Park is another beautiful place to visit for hiking. It was used as the location for hundreds of films starting in the 1930s.
In addition to being a public transportation user, I love riding my bike. We would rent a Metro bike for my guest and ride the bike path along the beach from Malibu to Venice. And of course there is always a day at the beach, a ride on the Ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier and last but not least a drink at Hotel Casa del Mar in Santa Monica.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
In a long career such as mine, there are many entities that help you along the way– curators, writers, gallerists, collectors, friends, etc. But I think at this moment in time my shoutout would go to my companion Jayme Odgers, who was a prominent graphic designer in the 1980s and is an artist today. He has been a tremendous help to me for over a decade now. He’s helped support me financially when I’ve really needed it and in the studio, he’s always given honest feedback about my work. It helps to have a trusted voice and I credit him in helping me advance my work over these years.
Linkedin: Lisa Adams, Los Angeles Painter
All paintings courtesy of Lisa Adams Photography: Jayme Odgers