My first exposure to Adam Kiger (pronounced like tiger with a K) and his art was through his posts on The Art and Artists of 614 Facebook page. Because I liked his outspoken nature and his art, I decided I wanted to get to know him better; hence the interview!
He and I also have some things in common…he was born in Wheeling WV (where my guy was born!), he was born on October 2nd (my birthday!) in 1974 (the year I graduated from college…YIKES!) and he attended The Art Institute of Pittsburgh (I grew up in the Steel City!!). Pretty cool, I think.
Although he was born in WV, he grew up in Reynoldsburg in a family of artists. Despite his genetic predisposition to art, he was reticent to become an artist. However, in high school he was not so impressed with other subjects but was drawn to art classes. These classes helped him find his artistic voice and led to his first gallery showing at the age of 18. Rather than continuing to pursue fine arts, he chose to enroll at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 1993 for Visual Communications to become a Medical Illustrator. However, after a year he left the institute because he felt acquiring worldly experiences was far more valuable than being stuck in a classroom. “Eventually I would be proven right, however I have expressed regrets for not completing the educational program that I was gifted.”
As Adam puts it:
I picked up my first paint brush when I was six years old. I came from a long line of oil and acrylic artists, all locally known and revered in their hometown of Belmont, Ohio. I actually fought my creative urges throughout most of my childhood and for the latter part of my teenage years. My blatant denial of my natural inheritance wouldn’t prove strong enough to last the ages. In fact, I had to come to grips with the gift that ran through my veins if I was to see past the age of twenty-five. My talents would later prove to be one of the deciding factors attributed to saving my life because…As a child, I had to learn to embrace the callused hands of abuse. As a teenager and through my adult life, I have watched good people and loved ones succumb to the siren songs of addiction …I was a fan of worthlessness and self-loathing all throughout my teens until my early twenties. With everything I had seen and everything I had experienced… I swore I would live everyday in the hopes that I would be dead by the time I was twenty-three.
Thankfully, Adam was wrong in this prediction. Although his feelings of self-worth were deeply embedded in and defined by others instead of himself, he did no recognize this until he met his wife, Ann, for the first time in 1996. Her unconditional faith in him and her reflection of that back to him, changed his life immeasurably. “And she has been the only person that, come hell or high-water, has refused to drop the mirror being held in front of me… constantly reflecting the truth.”
When he left the institute, he actually became more interested in the internet and chose to go in the direction of web design. His career began as an Internet Architect in the mid-90’s, ultimately creating and owning an internet development firm that has been in business since 2007. Starting as a web designer/developer, he worked on multiple projects that expanded his skill sets within a number of interactive/advertising firms in Atlanta, Georgia from 1994 through 1999. Then from 2000 to 2007, Adam‘s primary focus was mastering e-commerce and content management solutions. In 2001, Adam Kiger began the creation of his content management solution named, CMX. CMX‘s original focus was pointed towards maintaining a single intranet‘s content. After working for companies like Citi Bank, Disney, CDC, Bellsouth, Leica Geosystems, Kids II, Inc., AON and Infor, CMX metamorphosized into a three tiered solution capable of supporting e-commerce, corporate departmental unity and management of multiple branded environments. With over 15 years of in-depth interactive experience, Adam has incorporated a wide array of skills to produce award-winning projects and client solutions to over 80 companies in the United States. Currently, he is fulfilling a contractual need by the State of Ohio for a Senior Architect/Engineer.
But don’t be fooled that he gave up his innate artistic talents and left painting behind! He has continued to paint haunting and exquisitely dark and detailed acrylic paintings. Some so realistic, they could pass for photographs. As Adam states:
I’ve spent the last 20 years classifying my work as figurative and or representational, but as I’ve matured, gaining a deeper insight of myself, I’ve come to realize that my work is better represented under a mixture of Neo-Dada/pop-art approaches. My pieces are supposed to invoke a realization of an individual’s deep-rooted denial in whatever subject(s) I’ve presented… (being)no stranger to adversity. Since a young age, my entire life has been met with challenges. Instead of succumbing to a life of victimhood, I chose to take the pain, the darkest residuals of each trying experience and incorporate them into my works. Understanding that honesty wasn’t synonymous with the truth, I realized I had stumbled onto a viable platform in which to genuinely connect with an audience.
Athough Adam’s work may focus on what he calls “life’s abhorrent pains”, the deeper message to all of his is one of hope and positivity focuses on the heart and the evolution of the soul…“the persistence and the right of the individual in recapturing what once belonged to them.”
He continues with this explanation:
Provocation through imagery is not a popular engine from which to create, aesthetic undertones have and will most likely continue to be the accepted platform. But to shed light in the deepest corners of denial, to expose paths less traveled and to extend an empathetic embrace… beauty must be redefined and challenged, thus placing the focus of magnificence on and within the viewer, not on the piece being viewed.
During his career, Adam has also seen an overwhelming need for ALL artists to gain exposure for their works. With that in mind, he decided to donate his engineering talents to the creative community and, in that process, K² Gallery, an online presence built to offer artists a free resource to assist them in gaining this exposure was created. The gallery now holds weekly “BATTLEGROUND” (art battle), open to artists of all mediums.
Adam has had an Etsy shop for almost a year, but now almost all of his work is represented by Agora Gallery in NYC. He will have his first show in the trendy Chelsea district in NYC beginning in July 2014 and was awarded “Artist of the Month” for September of this year from RaiseArt (http://raiseart.com/blog/adam-kiger-raising-art-ohio/)