Adam Fowler

(Born in 1979 Fairfax, VA; Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY)

I grew up in a Washington DC suburb. On Field trips we often would go to the National Gallery. I remember walking through the modern wing of the Museum and finding the works of Pollock, Rothko and Ryman. I connected with the work in a way that is really indescribable but the discussions had no heart. No one knew how to talk about the work. I understood it on a level they couldn’t. That exposure opened me up, accepting the idea, no hard rules, no specific definition. The abstract was left to your interpretation. I couldn’t take in the world like others. I couldn’t read. The art became my language and these artists had their own language. 

I had always drawn in school and was thought of as an artist. In college I had a professor in an abstract drawing class who let us run wild. That was the moment when I put my nose to the grindstone and focused on pushing the drawings. They started out loose but then I got really, really into the process of making them, putting layer on top of layer. It was kind of a meditation where I was drawing on the same sheet of paper for hours and hours at a time. Eventually they stopped being interesting to me. Another professor was doing cut muslin pieces where she printed patterns on fabric, cut out the patterns and made amazing installations. I was hired to help her with her work. We were cutting with exacto knives. The material didn’t feel much different from paper. I looked at this as the next logical step in my own work.

Young artists constantly worry about how their work lives in the world and how other people perceive it. You have to have a meaningful voice and meaningful impact. You have to have complete faith in your work, keeping everything else out of your mind when you’re making the work.

–Conversation on May 18, 2020

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